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Have you even searched your dwelling for a lost object, only to unearth something completely different — something you didn’t know you still had? Maybe it’s an old 10 Ruble Soviet coin you got in grade school. Or maybe it’s an unmarked cassette mix tape. Whatever it is, you have no idea why you kept it, nor do you even recall making a conscious decision to do so. It’s just there — a miraculous survivor of numerous spring cleanings and a surprising reminder of a past you thought you’d forgotten.
The mind sometimes works in a similar way. You reach into the old hippocampus to extract a recent idea you wish to explore, and instead you pull out some dusty old remnant of a synapse that hasn’t been switched on in decades.
This is precisely how this particular song came about. Four days ago, I was messing around with a software emulation of a Buchla 266 Source of Uncertainty module, and a particular cluster of uncertain notes managed to exhume a small section of my long-dormant early-1980’s musical brain. Back then, influenced by slasher movie soundtracks, New York avant-garde minimalism and German New Wave, I was bravely writing and recording a rather unsophisticated style of instrumental technopop, which I somehow thought would prove popular enough to get me into the film scoring business. Ahh, youth.
Anyway, two hours after realizing my new ideas sounded a lot like something I might have written in 1983, I had a complete recording — a four minute composition generated entirely by a heretofore forgotten remnant of my past self. Upon finishing it, I contemplated “modernizing” it — replacing the anemic drum track with something less pedantic; rewriting the bassline so as to remove its naïveté; Maybe giving it a modern sheen and an infusion of more esoteric sounds. But I stopped myself. This song came entirely from a piece of me I didn’t know still remained. Why taint that? Why deny that ancient little synapse its very own unadulterated moment?
And thus was born “Ghost of ’83.”
Hmm… I wonder where I stored that old prog rock neural network of mine?