Starting out his production path as “Creations Of The Mind” in 1993 by writing free public domain music demos using an Amiga 1200 (running respected 12-bit internal sample-tracking software ProTracker), Listmaker quickly developed a passion for the complex interweaving soundscapes of early UK techno/trance harmonies and rhythms.
Upon receiving his first piece of serious hardware (a Yamaha RY30 drum machine) in 1996, he realised that his particular sound could be liberated without the need for vast amounts of musical equipment. He produced his first demo tape, “Drum Machine” using only the RY30 and Amiga running ProTracker.
“My only limitation was that I had no way of automatically synchronising the two machines, as the Amiga had no MIDI interface. However, I found that by manually increasing and decreasing the tempo of the drum machine using the buttons on the front, I could keep the two machines in sync. This meant that I could use all four channels of Amiga audio for melodies and sound effects, whilst keeping the drum tracks on the Yamaha.”
The Listmaker sound was becoming bigger! Whilst studying at the University of Glasgow he performed at his regular musical haunt, the Queen Margaret Union on the same stage graced by the pioneer Aphex Twin, and continued to play gigs at several other local university student unions…
After dropping out of university to earn money working as a landscape gardener and designer, he had soon saved up enough money to buy his first synthesizer and sampler. The next additions to the Listmaker sound were a Yamaha CS1x synth, and a Yamaha SU10 sampler. By this time, he had upgraded his Amiga sequencing software to Bars & Pipes Pro (a precursor to Cubase) and a sturdy MIDI interface. ProTracker was shelved and the Listmaker sound started to become much more layered.
“The times that I did leave the house were either to work or to spend time at fellow electronic music producer Galaxis Quench’s studio in Ayr. It was through Quench that I managed to track down an original Korg MS10 synthesizer. At the same time, he found himself a Moog Rogue!”
Up until this point, everything he had produced was stored on Amiga 1200 diskettes and self-mastered to an old TASCAM two-track.
“After several of my master recordings got chewed up and transformed into a garbled tape mess fit for nothing but the bin, I realised that I’d need to upgrade to storing digital masters in order to preserve my tracks.
“Unable to afford a DAT recorder or any other digital master format, I settled on a Sony MiniDisc recorder. Regrettably, the compression used to fit the audio onto the media wasn’t the best quality (MiniDisc uses lossy compression) but it was a thousand times more reliable than cassette tape!”
Inspired by his developing studio, seemingly limitless audio possibilities (after squeezing as much as possible out of very little equipment), he put together his first complete EP, entitled “Insynk” as a celebratory reference to the progression from a couple of manually synchronised machines, to a fully synchronised studio…