Tunes I recorded in the 90s found on a few cassette tapes in my folks’ loft.

Some of these tunes have suffered from a bit of cassette tape wobble. To be fair, the cassette tapes in question had been lurking in a box in the loft since the mid-90s.

Before uploading these to YouTube I tried to fix the audio, using:

  • Reaper: Compression, EQ, stereo-widening, editing.
  • Audacity: noise reduction, normalising.
Gear and background

I was made redundant for the first time in 1994. I hadn’t been in a band for a couple of years so spent some of the redundancy pay on home-studio gear:

  • Yamaha MT8X multitrack cassette recorder
  • Kawai Q80EX sequencer
  • Yamaha TG100 synthesizer
  • Kawai XS-1 synthesizer
  • Alesis Quadraverb+ multi-effects unit
  • Zoom 9050s multi-effects unit

After writing some fairly ropey guitar-based songs I started trying my hand at electronic music. Unfortunately, the gear I’d bought wasn’t really up to the job.

Neither the TG100 or XS-1 were particularly flexible – they’re fairly basic romplers – and neither had filters. Anything that sounds like a filter is the wah/autowah/cry from the Zoom 9050s.

Things which would take a few minutes with a computer now took a few hours to programme on the Q80EX – I spent a big amount of time looking at a small amount of LCD screen.

Four of my favourites

A lot of the tracks from thirty years ago (eek!) don’t hold up particularly well, and many of them weren’t much good in the first place.

These are four that I’m still pleased with.


Still sounds good after all these years.

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I’ve tried taming the XS-1’s snare – it was loud and harsh – and have lost some of the upper-mids in the process but I had a habit of making things too bright so I think it still sounds OK.

From the name I suspect I’d been cleaning a window.

Giz’ a Fiver

Adventures with FX units! If you count along with the tune you’ll see where I got the name from.

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I’m pretty sure that the pretend enveloped filter on one of the lead sounds was the ‘Cry’ effect on the Zoom 9050s.

If I remember correctly the percussive/gated padish sound towards the end was the hi-hat part going through the Quadraverb+ resonator, which was being sent note info from the string part. It was something along those lines.


Of all the stuff I did in the 90s this is my favourite.

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The tune’s in 6/8, which is a glorious time signature, and features one of the best noises I’ve ever made – the nicely nasty divey one. I think it involved a mod wheel and a ring modulator but it was a long time ago.

Why Chilham? We used to go camping in a bit of woodland up a hill near Chilham, picking psylocibin mushrooms, washing them down with Pippin Orchard cider.

Good times.


There are some good ideas in here. I still like it a lot.

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There are faked filters all over this one. The rising, panning swooshy thing is a snare, with the pitch and pan programmed for each individual hit.

It took an age to programme on the Q80EX.

Four from the rest

Venusian Blind

Did somebody mention Leftfield?

You can probably guess the specific track I was ‘influenced’ by.

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Without a resonant filter or a sampler this was never going to end well but you can hopefully hear what I was trying to do even if I didn’t manage to actually do it.

I’ve trimmed a minute or so out of it and tried to un-muddy the bottom end.

The title is a bog standard play on words. I was quite pleased with it at the time.


This must have been around 96/97 as I’d very clearly been listening to Orbital’s In Sides album.

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The wah from the Zoom 9050s did quite a good impression of a filter on the saw wave lead at the start and the tinkly bit that starts about half way through.

I quite like the drum programming but, beyond that, there’s not much that’s noteworthy.

Why Shed? Your guess is as good as mine.


Another one with a bit of tape wobble in the middle, just after the contrapuntal bit when the 7/4 counterpoint takes over from the 4/4.

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Although this doesn’t sound too great I’m quite pleased with some of the drum programming and sounds.

It took me ages to work out where the 7/4 should come in over the 4/4 so they came together at the right place.


More tape wobble on this, which I think was quite an early one.

The title is fairly self-explanatory.

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There’s some stuff in here that I really like.

Lots of Zoom 9050s wah on the squelchy lead bits, Quadraverb+ resonator on some sort of percussion (I think), a cheeky bit of reverb without the drums it’s reverberating and misuse of assorted sounds from both the TG100 and XS-1.