“The Heavens” was the first cd-r of synthesist Grant Middleton as Under the Dome. It was originally recorded in 1990 on a Fostex X-26 four-track cassette. “The Aeon’s Day” was made with Pro-One, Ensoniq ESQ-1 and Yamaha TX-7 (a DX-7 in a rack). By the time it came to recording “The Starry Night”, the composer had also acquired a Roland System 100m modular.
Grant still had the four-track master tapes when he worked for DMA Design during the creation of the original Grand Theft Auto game. All the guys in the audio department were allowed to use the Pro-Tools 3 system for their own projects. He transferred the master tapes onto hard disk, and then used a plug-in called DINR to reduce the noise level on each track. In addition, Grant was also able to use Lexicon reverb and mixdown automation.
Mr. Middleton sent off a copy to Dave Law at Synth Music Direct / Neu Harmony records, who offered to release an Under the Dome-cd. Unfortunately, he couldn’t accept the section on “The Aeon’s Day” which was a cover version of part of “Autobahn” (and another theme from The Cimex Invasion – see YouTube), so Grant was asked to re-record those sections, and the version which appears on “The Demon Haunted World” is all original music. As David Law also didn’t like the track name “The Starry Night”, both agreed to rename it as“Hell”, although the music is identical.
UTD’s “The Heavens” contains two lengthy suites along ten bonus tracks, where Berlin School-oriented sequencing and an assortment of vintage sounds and solo voices altogether make up a moody display for pleasant listening enjoyment. One sure recognizes the echoes of vintage Tangerine Dream paired with soaring solo lines and ambient passages, all happening in a spacious aural framework.
The opening track “The Aeon’s Day” ended up on the factory-pressed album “The Demon Haunted World”, while the suite “The Starry Night” initially hints on TD’s early ’70’s hallucinatory dreamscapes plus a great ascent to higher ambient spheres followed by driving sequencer patterns and melodic soloing. Halfway, a portion of progrock guitar kicks in TD’s “Encore”-like sound followed by a spacious cosmic outing where sequencers still surface.
The bonus tracks (demos and archival stuff to my ears) offer a range of electronic freestyle ideas/sketches of merging vintage and contemporary sounds, where a strong space-effort like “Drift” lines up next to a meagre cover of TD’s “Choronzon” and cinematic outings like “Towtheme” or “Viking”.
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