I wasn’t aware of Ken Moore’s music back in the 80s or 90s. And that’s too bad because he was creating some very interesting and personal music. And, he’s been doing it a very long time…since the 1970’s. Read his experiences below and take a look at his handmade and unique creations.
My music experiences began in the early seventies, when I had formed a rock band and learned to write [instrumental] songs for my organ. Since most of them couldn’t be performed with the musicians I worked with, I was forced to learn how to play the drums myself and adapt the minimoog for the bass lines. After seven years of practice (two of them trying to record myself), I finally put together an album of material interspersed with more “abstract” or experimental pieces. When my wife discovered Eurock magazine, I sent a copy off to Archie Patterson who then rejected my tape, saying it was not experimental enough (or something to that effect). This led to directing my attention to the more abstract stuff, of which I was beginning to accumulate much, and “Tempus Fugit “ was born. To my delight, Archie accepted my second tape, and ordered ten copies of which probably took ten years to sell.
I wasn’t finished with my keyboard compositions, however, and discovering these underground zines was very new to me. I decided that I was going to have to take matters into my own hands and that’s when Anvil Creations was born. The name came from a small paperweight that I had found amongst my dad’s junk, and having made it [the Plaster Anvil] into an art project for school, the smaller bronze original was outlined for a stencil and traced into patterns for the first few tapes I drew. I began to send out promo tapes to various people that were reviewing works by others, many of whom I knew nothing about. Tom Bingham for Op, Thom Holmes for Recordings, Robert Carlberg for Polyphony, and John Diliberto for Express were people willing to give my work a listen and make their comments in the form of reviews.
Around 1975, just after I had cut my hair the first time, my music buddy, Mark Chance (bassist) and I got together with a few drummers. My favorite was Larry Jeter, because Larry approached my playing from a jazz point of view; it was different. After making these recordings available in 1981 on cassette (and I had given it a lot of consideration), I had one returned to me by Rich Haynes. Apparently, it wasn’t his cup of tea (LOL), but to me it was valid music. It was the tape that sold the least copies (about 9, not including the returned), but I traded with several people for tapes of their own: Don Slepian, Peter Gulch, Ricky Starbuster (was that his real name?), Chris Gross, and sent a few promos out to Archie Patterson (USA), Marko Perenic (Yugoslavia), and Dioni Piatkowski (Poland). Don was the nicest person I ever met, and I thought it was gracious that he had tapes made professionally, yet he was willing to swap with my home-made cassettes.
Other people I traded with or received tapes from (because of my being put in charge of the IEMA Group Tape Project) were Tara Cross, Bernard Xolotl, Nightcrawlers (Peter Gulch), Emerald Web, Richard Bone, Dave Prescott, Chuck Larrieu, Dave Butler (Cedar Creek Sounds), Arnold Mathes, Dave Lunt, Lawrence Crane, Ron Slabe, Markus Aigner (Austria), Peter Kaminski (Germany), Mychael Danna (Canada), Jack Schrage (for their LP), Doug Walker, Gil Trythall, R.S. Pearson, Peter Moser (promo), Mellen Loorin, Johnny Concrete, K. Leimer (via Eurock), Robert Carlberg, Olaf Schirm, Mark Petersen (for his LP), Leon Lowman, Lauri Paisley, Maurizio Bianchi (Italy), Seppo Seppanen, Chuck Vrtacek (for his LP), No-Y-Z (Dave Vosh), Auto Stratus, Likeminded Muzak, Alex Douglas (CLEM/Stitching Small Tears), John Wiggins, and Barney Jones & Mars Everywhere (D.C.‘s Random Radar).
In 1980, I had decided to do a concert in a public place, putting tape compositions between live music [done on organ, synth and a borrowed electric piano]. A good friend of mine, the late David Dillman, drew a large poster for me to post around the city; this is the cover for the tape that I made available to anyone who wanted one (for a limited time), Friday the 13th. Then it was time to make another Art Rock tape, this time featuring Mood Inventions in a Whole Tone Scale between keyboards, Moog and drum tracks. With no other outlet for this tape, I began to compile a mailing list of people who were interested in my music. Many who purchased Frame of Reference also bought Sense of Recreation. There was no catalog at this time, just friends who shared with some friends, and some contacts I made through the zines that were kept up by snail mail letters.
Through the I.E.M.A., I was able to meet people like John Wiggins, Dave Vosh (with whom I do live sets now), Peter Gulch (of the Nightcrawlers), Don Slepian, Lauri Paisley, William Ashley Cooper (who put out a Mix of the Month tape), Richard Haynes (not a musician), Leon Lowman (who pressed an LP), Jack Schrage (also an LP), John Loffink (Surface Noise editor), Maurizio Bianchi [MB], Chris Gross (big tape artist), Ricke Morin (Canada), Alex Douglas (of CLEM), Dave Butler, Michael Roden (artist), Chuck Vrtacek (also an LP), Kat Epple (of Emerald Web), Ron Slabe, Mike Honeycutt, Barney Jones (of Mars Everywhere, LP), Dave Prescott, Chuck Larrieu (who had a newsletter and recorded also, but now does neither) and oddly enough, people from my own area like Dave Vosh: Doug Walker (Alien Planetscapes) and Stuart Rosenzweig (with whom I have done EM collaborations).
It is amazing all the people out there that I did not have contact with during the eighties. The more I look into all this cassette culture thing, the more I realize that I had not even scratched the surface. Made some good friends though. I never was set on what kind of music I wanted to pursue. There was Jim Finch and the IEMA, and all the synthesizer enthusiasts, and there were my personal friends who wanted to play [progressive rock] music locally.
You asked me about memories of home recording. I have always been interested in sound for sound’s sake. Writing music [for a band] was fun to play, but I was never convinced that too many people were really interested in that stuff. With the ability to record sounds on magnetic tape, one had the opportunity to create something that did not otherwise exist. Most of my “organic abstract compositions” were unique to the method of recording at the time; they could not really be reproduced exactly the same ever again. Aside from all the little things that could go wrong during recording, I am always amazed that I have what I do have stored on tape (and now on disc or computer). The little “accidents” that occur when your intent is to do one thing, and it ends up being something else altogether. With a limited amount of time to get the recordings done, and minimal equipment to record onto, sometimes you have to take what you can get. Occasionally, I would re-do a track or two, but did I ever get exactly what I was going after? Probably not, but the end result was always satisfying in the long run.
One thing I always did to keep things different was to approach the recording process a little bit differently each time. For instance, the title track for “Tempus Fugit” started with a microphone in a medium sized box with a loudly ticking travelling alarm clock. Then four tracks of Minimoog oscillators were added spontaneously. With something like “Oche de Leah” from the same album, an elaborate set-up of live keyboards were arranged in the middle of the living room with a pre-recorded tape of Moog sounds running backwards through the stereo speakers while I played [improvisation] on top of that onto a four channel Teac. On “To Come Into Being”, there began the use of some “found sounds” mixed together after the event, but tape manipulation played a big part in my compositions. “Glass Shapes That Shatter in the Wind” used coat hangers at a bowling alley [I worked in] swinging on a metal rack, and that tape was slowed down, sped up, reversed and otherwise played in real time to get the desired effect. I still do it today, but something like “Svit for 15 Oscillators”, where the actual tape was cut up and spliced together, probably never again. Even the 8-track Tascam I have is getting old now, and digital recording is so much easier.
Hear Sense Of Recreation http://mooremyers.bandcamp.com/album/sense-of-recreation
Hear Tempus Fugit