Interest for instrumental music
I realy like "The Tornados"
Hi, my name is Danny but I have chosen "Guy-Lian" (like the famous Belgian chocolates) as my nickname. Born in Belgium (may 1967) my life has always been dominated by music. My father, being a hifi enthousiast, owned more than a thousand LP’s and an extensive collection of magnetic tapes. Besides rock & roll, disco and country, instrumental music was part of his library. My attention was particularly drawn by the latter. Songs of the guitar based "The Spotnicks" and "The Shadows" and last but not least with their destinctive organ sounds "The Tornados" I liked most.
In the second half of the seventies, new artists entered the pop charts with musical styles never heard before. "Jean-Michel Jarre" with “Oxygene” and some years later “Equinox”, "Vangelis" with his “Pulstar” and “To The Unknow Man”. These tracks impressed me even more than for instance "The Tornados". It had all to do with those exotic timbres.
From "just listening" to "listening ànd playing"
About the beginning of a home studio
In the early eighties I got to know a client from my fathers work, a guy who had lots of LP’s of all sorts of synth musicians. He introduced me to the music of artists that were totally new to me like for instance Kitaro, Klaus Shulze, Tangerine Dream, Tomita and last but not least Michael Garisson. And apparantly Jarre and Vangelis had much more in their sleeves than Oxygene 4, Equinox 5, Pulstar and so on. What was even more important: he owned a rather comprehensive synth studio of his own. Those "organs" impressed me beyond compare. The looks of an ACE TONE SY5 Multistrings, Yamaha CS30 or Roland System 100 model 101 and 102 really made me drule.
A year after our first meeting he sold his Roland System 100 Model 101 and this became my first acquisition, the very first step of what would become a home studio of my own. After exploring various parameters (what happens if I turn that "resonance" up to 10??? .... auch, my ears, my ears!!!), notes (is it an A, is it a B, is it a C? ... nope you stupid ... it's an E!!!), rhythms, melodies and the like, my parents approved on making further investments. Over a period of four years I was given the opportunity to expand the 101 with an ARP AXXE, mono synth, a Roland CSQ600 sequencer , TR808 drum computer, Evans Echopet EP-100 and Crumar Trilogy poly synth. all second hand. Thanks mum and dad for making this possible!!! For two years the "System 100"-man even borrowed me his ACE TONE SY5 Multistrings so I was able to put some nice songs together, mostly inspired by Michael Garisson.
In 1984 a milestone was set with the acquisition of a brand new DX7. For more than a year I plunged into studying and experimenting with FM synthesis, creating a sound library of about 100 personal sounds. At that time I recorded my songs by bouncing between two Revox A77 tape recorders.
By the end of the eighties the first multitimbral workstations saw the market. Having to make a choice between the Korg M1 and a Roland D20 I chose the latter. Now my songs began to evolve rapidly. In my developing style there was less room for the older synths so I sold some of them (the TR808, ARP AXXE and Evans Echopet).
In my hunger for more polyphony and sequencing power (demanded by the new style), a Roland W30 and Yamaha SY99 joined the growing studio.
My playing technique, composing and mixing skills grew steadily with the years. I temporarily joined a guitar band "The Guitar Syndicate" who covered "The Shadows". I had to play all the non guitar parts, forcing me to search for (what were to me) unusual chords and notes. I also started making music for a couple of student performances of the skool of arts (NARAFI in Brussels and Sint Lucas in Antwerp) and of course I explored my own boundaries with compositions just for fun, trying to push my limits.
Between 1999 and 2004 I didn't do much with my gear. Those years I spend a lot of time with my family, they deserved all the attention they needed. So the synths were retired temporarily. But by the end of 2004 I felt the need to start using my gear again. Besides, by 2005 my equipment list had gained reasonable size with several synths, samplers, hardware sequencers, FX units and an analog Soundtracs Topaz 48 mixing console. The fact of giving my family lots of attention didn't interfere with my modest lust for gear. The expanded setup found its place in an attic above the garage of our new home, perfect for inspiration.
At that time I made my first CD album: “Musical Impressions”. The album was published indepentantly and contained 12 tracks covering different kinds of music: from italo over disco to more melodic songs, often with an obvious link to Vangelis. In 2008 my concept “Jewel” was finished. It musically described types of landscapes like the savannah, the forest or even the city. Because of my growing experience the songs got more and more mature. In 2006 one of the first composed tracks of the Jewel concept, "Jewel of the Arctic" won the synth contest on the Dutch synthforum, which was quite a personal achievement. For some years the tracks were sold on CDR.
In the future both albums might be re-released if I find a publisher again.
Between 2010 and 2015, due to personal problems, I stopped making music. Until april 2019 I rarely fired up the rig but after investing in additional hardware, I was caught by the music virus again and started a new concept/project: with the name of "Solar System". This will be my musical journey through our solar system, starting with the sun and ending with the controversial planet Pluto. Every planet will be given its own song with its own ambiance and even an own mp4 animation. The first track "Saturn - VI" was finished end of may 2019 (no, I didn't start with the sun).
The "typical features" of my songs
Often people say that they can recognize my songs immediatly.
Over the years I seemed to have developed my own distinctive style. Though it's obvious that a reasonable amount of my ideas are inspired by Vangelis it is never my intention to just copy his work. Besides, I'm completely aware that my skills, knowledge and imagination is futile compared to one of the greatest artists of electronic music.
I like to compensate my basic playing skills with eye for detail, comprehensive mixing and thorough use of the sequencing possibilities. In spite of having very little theoretical knowledge about notes, scales and harmony I always manage to convert what is in my head to an actual song.
These resulting tracks are often well appreciated and sometimes easily recognized.
Maybe my characteristic style is achieved the way I work: without the use of a personal computer.
Because of the evolution of my studio with multitimbral synthesizers and samplers, which all had convenient sequencers on board, I never felt the need for a Mac or Windows based computer.
This means that even at this very moment all songs are recorderd and mixed within the instruments them selves. This way I'm not visually distracted by a PC monitor.
Recording is nearly always linear. I rarely make use of loop recording. Drum patterns are programmed in its most basic form. On top of that I always use two or more tracks to play ride cymbals, toms or snare fills by hand bringing a more natural feel to it. Small playing errors are meticulously edited within the event editors of the sequencers, even gate times are every now and then altered to get the perfect feeling.
Because of my constraints I often rely on basic chords and progressions. To compensate I always try to create as much atmosphere and emotion as possible. This is mainly accomplished by recording modulation wheel movements assigned to pan position and volume level. I'm also very fond of layering sounds. Choir or string parts often consist of between 3 and 5 layers, carefully panned and mixed to get a "large" effect. Another trademark is the application of huge amounts of details. Little bell-like tones, some low pitched percussion sounds, resonance effects ... everything is welcome to embellish a song. To complete the picture the use of long reverbs (mainly of a TC M-One) and echo (by means of a Lexicon MX400 and an Alesis QuadraVerb) "romanticizes" everything.
All these techniques result in lots of resources: typical songs can consist of 60+ MIDI channels at the climax.