A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT THE MUSIC

I've been writing and recording music since the late 1980's. Painting was initially the more dominant pursuit, however both fields have become closely related in recent years and they continue to influence and feed off each other.

One of my earliest childhood memories was hearing the drone of a distant lawnmower echoing through the trees in my parent's backyard. This was my first ambient soundscape, so to speak. My fascination with electronic sound developed in the late 1970's when America was being bombarded by Star Wars and the first video games were on the horizon. I was too young to be aware of Brian Eno, Cluster and other adventurous music makers who would later become my heroes, so Science Fiction films and their soundtracks were the things that captured my childhood imagination. My tape recorder was also a constant companion. It had a built in radio with a short wave band which I searched constantly, discovering strange and otherworldly sounds at each turn of the dial. I'd spend hours recording these sounds and then use them as sound effects for my own made-up radio shows. This was far more fun and interesting than playing the piano, which I had been studying (rather reluctantly) since age 6.

My first synthesizer was the the Sequential Circuits Pro-1, an instrument which eventually propelled me into the realm of electronic and experimental music. Electronic music, to use an extremely broad term, was not warmly embraced by mainstream America during the late 70's and early 80's, so it was a thrill discovering musicians who were doing innovative things with sound during my high school years. One of my earliest influences was Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark. Their first four albums and early B-sides combined innovative sound experimentation with a strong sense of melody and composition. Although my interests eventually progressed to more extreme experimentalists, the unique, proto-ambient atmospheres of OMD's early recordings still inspire me to this day.

I started recording my own material around 1988 when my brother let me borrow his Tascam 4-track. I quickly learned how to push the machine to its limits, enjoying the warmth and simplicity it offered. I still prefer primitive recording methods over computer based programs. As a result, my basic setup hasn't changed much in all these years.

As with painting, I usually start with a simple idea and slowly build on it. Although I rely heavily on electronics and samplers, I approach music in an organic way. My sounds are created at home and are usually generated by objects within hand's reach. I loathe pre-programmed synth patches and use them rarely. I've also gained a new respect for the piano over the years and it plays an important role in my work.

My music has evolved from early synth-pop songs to a more subdued and hermetic ambient sound which I find difficult to label or categorize. I've often used the term 'ghost ambient' when I've been asked to describe my music in interviews. Although I hate labeling what I do, this term makes the most sense for a variety of reasons. Many of my recordings are constructed by sampling and looping the after-effects of pure reverb. As a result, unintended sounds, words and phrases manifest themselves into the music, giving it a haunted quality. Labels aside, my music is intuitive and personal. Like my painting, it ultimately exists in a private world of it's own.

Tor Lundvall, November 2007 (amended February 2010)

previous page