Back in 2016 I was playing around in the studio, noodling on synths with rhythmic support from my Boss DR-110 “Dr. Rhythm”, a very simple drum machine from 1980. After about 5 minutes of riffing on a simple little syncopated 4/4 pattern I had programmed, I had to hit “STOP” when I realized my beat was almost exactly the same as Fade to Grey by Visage. This inevitable moment, when you realize the riff you’ve been working on is actually something from someone else’s song, is something that happens periodically in every songwriter/producer’s life. When it happens to me, I usually just try to remain cool and start over from a clean slate, or delete the stuff that sounds like the other song and keep exploring.
But in this case I started thinking about that lovely, ghostly melancholy of Fade to Grey, and instead of erasing my work, I decided to trudge onward and see if I could make an instrumental version of the song that would sound great as part of my modern techno set. Within a few hours I had largely recreated the original tune, without vocals, but it took just a few more days of sporadic work before it took on the Steve Coen fairy dust. Continue reading →
This one is a true treat because it is rare that Nebula ( Steve Cowan ) stops tinkering with his tracks long enough to release them for general consumption. “Shake Stomp” probably sees the light of day because it is a fantastic funk-and-bounce production and it is hard to see how it can get better from here. (Another reason may be pressure from his beautiful wife Sarah, who guest-stars with the catchy vocals). The transition into older track “Back Down” is a glimpse at Nebula’s infectious live talents, something rarely experienced beyond the Ontario party scene. This is a true treat from one of Ontario’s great unsung electronic music talents.