In 1985 my family bought a Casio SK1. This tiny keyboard formed a big part of my early experimental musical experiences, its ability to sample sounds in 8 bit and its array of beats and timbres gave the 9 year old me a chance to do some early composing and messing with sounds. By 1985 standards I’m pretty sure it was quite cutting edge. Though the amount of times my brothers and I burped into its microphone and then played the burp sound up and down the keyboard I cannot remember and was probably not what its creators had in mind.
When my family got an electric organ the SK1 took a back-seat keyboard-wise and as I began to learn and gather other instruments; saxophones, bass guitars, guitars, ‘real’ keyboards etc it was put in a cupboard and then a moving box. The SK1 has stayed with me for the last 28 years mostly in a box, though sometimes being turned on now and then to show friends its cheesiness and ability to sample burp sounds in all their 8 bit glory.
When I met my wife(well when i met her she wasn’t my wife, that would be weird), among the things she showed me (none of which I can really discuss here) was her Casio pt-80 from I think 1983. Soon the SK1 had a moving box friend in the pt-80 and for another long while they sat in boxes or cupboards together . I once looked at selling the SK1 it seemed to be quite sought after and fetch high prices on ebay but I could never do it, I thought maybe it would come in handy at some point.
Recently I lent the SK1 to my sometime musical co-conspirator and good friend Dr. Thomas Green for his electronic music project Praxis Axis, you can hear the SK1 on this track, though I’m sure he put it to better use in some of his other work. During this rummage through the storage boxes I also unearthed the PT-80, it then sat on my desk for a while begging me to put some batteries in it.
I had recently bought myself a ukelele for no particular purpose except that my young children had a cheap one and I had become addicted to sitting on the floor strumming it. They had even stolen the pt80 and begun doing little ukelele/casio duets(the kind that 3, 5 and 7 year olds do)….a songwriting idea began to form and before long I had written the three songs that make up Ukelele Dream. This was September 2012, and for the last few months, every time I would pick up the ukelele, little edits and more ideas began to surface, though I was never sure I would ever record it until this month.
The Ukelele Dream songs are essentially a vocal and ukelele track accompanied by a number of different Casio PT-80 sounds and rhythms that have been manipulated in Cubase. Even the the bass parts are done with the Casio through and octaver (which shifts the sound lower).
You can listen to it and download it for $3 (or $1 per track) on my bandcamp page using paypal or credit card, yep that’s right for less than a dodgy flat white at the Coffee Club or other such establishment that makes bad coffee.You can even ‘name your price above $3 if you feel inclined.
On that note my favourite coffee place for the moment is Mean Beanz at Kelvin Grove, great coffee and great people, check it out.
Thanks for reading and thanks for listening to and supporting my music it is much appreciated. Hope you enjoy Ukelele Dream. I’ll be releasing more stuff later in the year both solo and with my other project The Nightlight Sleepers
‘This ukelele dream is imagined with nylon strings and hopeful things and casio drum machines’