The Jupiter 8
The Jupiter 8

The Jupiter 8 story so far....

The first synthesizer I ever touched was a Roland Jupiter 8. I can't quite remember when it was, probably sometime between 81 and 83. My friend, whose house I was in at the time was in a fortunate position to have a Dad who worked for Roland, and so Roland things would appear in his house and then without warning disappear again. But I did not go to see his Jupiter 8; I went to play with his Atari 800 computer which at the time had some of the best video games around (particularly Defender), although we did fiddle with the Jupiter 8 for about five minutes or so, with some kind of spacey wind noises. And then the Jupiter 8 and I parted company. I have not touched one since...

Sadly Atari are no longer with us (except maybe on trendy retro t-shirts), and the same could be said for that Jupiter 8 which may be gathering dust somewhere or be in unusable pieces. But in that room all those years ago were my two main interests: computers and music. And for a long time, these two interests never met. I got a job in computers and played guitar and bass in various rock and pop bands. Only in 1999 did I start combining these two interests when I bought sequencing and hard disk recording software and got a computer powerful enough to take the load. Since then I have been experimenting with electronic music and the process of making electronic music; the goal being to make the creation of it as enjoyable and interesting as the end result. I found just programming with a software sequencer a bit like, er, programming a computer and as I spend most of the day doing this it made it less enjoyable. At the other end of the spectrum, recording improvised guitar or bass was enjoyable to do but did not amount to anything that would be enjoyable to listen to. So I set about creating a 'live' set up using modular synths, samplers and guitars which gave me the best of both worlds. And then the toughest part came, I had to find a band name. But as luck would have it, I saw the planet Jupiter shining brightly in the sky after attending a gig in may 2002 and then for some reason thought about that Jupiter 8 all those years ago and how I had come full circle from that moment. The name has stuck since then, but I still have not got a Jupiter 8.

My first track was produced shortly after this brief moment of inspiration and I named it 'Fifth Blob from the Sun' as a kind of dedication to the great celestial salad dodger itself. This kind of morphed into my next track which I called 'sea of tranquillity' as it conjured up images in my mind of Apollo 11 drifting over the surface of the moon as it approached its landing spot. And somehow, as my constantly in flux live set up developed, the epic (and my longest track so far) Red Spot appeared which was originally was supposed to be a more angry track based on the most volatile part of Jupiter but somehow became a deep sprawling psychedelic journey. These three tracks were release on 'Songs from the Engine Room (Part I) in 2003.

And then a fair few years passed, with a few recordings passing out into the public domain and a million others ending up on the cutting room floor. But, in 2010 the Jupiter 8 effectively returned to earth and  'Songs from Engine Room (Part II)' was finally released.

Here's hoping it won't take me as long to make Part III 





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