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Unreleased Material: ‘All The World Is Blue’ EP (1993)

In 1993, the world was a different place. Bill Clinton was president, Michael Jordan was the world’s biggest athlete, and though the Internet existed, only college students (like me at the time), businesspeople and researchers were lucky enough to use it, in all its text-based, Unix glory.

I wrote and recorded a collection of songs during Spring/Summer of that year using just an Ensoniq EPS sampler workstation, a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer, a Roland MKS 7 analog module and a Roland U-220 sound module. All of this went into a Tascam 424 4-track cassette recorder. It was all sequenced on the EPS, and it wasn’t until 2 more years before I would have a computer to record music with (and another five years before I could record audio on it).

As mentioned, there was no Internet as we currently know it. I made only one copy of this cassette for myself and really didn’t know if there was an audience for it. It was all pop-ish stuff with some small soul and electronic influences. I would play it for my friends and hardly got a reaction (neither positive nor negative). Everyone was either into hip-hop or alternative rock at the time, so these songs really didn’t get heard by anyone but myself.

Now that these songs are about 18 years old (and old enough to vote), maybe it’s time for them to get heard by the world, now that there’s this Internet thing. I honestly don’t know what people will think of these songs; personally, I’m rather mixed about them. I’m very proud of my songwriting, arrangement and production (considering what I had at the time) but I’m not fond of my vocals. I was a decent-at-best singer back then, didn’t know how to sing with vibrato or dynamics, and obviously didn’t have the range I do now. Of course worse singers have done nicely for themselves, especially in recent years (albeit with some Auto-Tune help). But here it is, enjoy it or not…

All files are in MP3 format. Click on the song titles to play. Click on the album title to see a directory of the MP3 files. Right-click and “Save As…” if you really want to download these songs.

This isn't really the album cover. I just made this to put into my iTunes screen.

All The World Is Blue

1. Sunny Day (3:40)
E. Trinidad © 1993 Elsongs
The EP kicks off with a happy soul-influenced love song, which is kind of rare for me. I don’t remember whether this was written for someone or I challenged myself to write something the opposite of what I was feeling at the time. It might have been written from a previous relationship. There’s an instrumental section that was supposed to be either a sax or guitar solo that never materialized. I’m proud of the bass arrangement though, which was done on the Ensoniq EPS sampler, two years before I actually picked up the bass guitar. But what’s so interesting about it is that I played that bass sample the same way I play an actual bass today.

2. Hold On To The Dreamers (3:53)
E. Trinidad © 1993 Elsongs
This is probably my favorite original song on the EP, with the song shifting back and forth from major key to minor key. The music is inspired by ’80s artists like Level 42, Crowded House, Paul Young (complete with Pino Paladino-inspired fretless bassline – on sampler, again). The lyrics, written in a limerick style, are semi-cryptic observations of a defiant lonely-hearted person walking along in a world amidst the presence of people in love.

3. Romeo & Juliet (The Sequel) (4:10)
E. Trinidad © 1993 Elsongs
This song, was musically inspired by Billy Joel. It was one of those songs that came out from spontaneously playing chords on the piano. Those things happened a lot more often back then. It carries a purposely-ironic title: The song is a fictional account of my previous relationship, drawing similarities to the Shakespearian couple (the relationship ended mainly because her parents didn’t approve of me (or anyone in my place, as a matter of fact). The song also made a sad situation into a happy one through the feeling of either hope or futile wishful thinking.

4. If (4:02)
D. Gates
This song is the EP’s only cover tune, a remake of the 1971 single from the soft rock band Bread. Why did I choose to cover this? Simple: I’ve always hated this song.
The trademark wah-wah guitar intro, the acoustic guitar arpeggios, the anemic vocals and the lack of rhythm always made me hate this song.  As soon as that “wahwahwahwah” intro came on, I would change the radio station.

Until one day, I happened upon this song in a sheet music book and played it on a piano at a friend’s house. The chords were actually nice and the lyrics endearing. I questioned exactly why I hated the song and, since I learned to appreciate the chord progression and lyrics, challenged myself to record a cover version to “fix” all the things I didn’t like about the song.
So here it is: Loud, aggressive drums, prominent synth bass, lush analog synth pads and perhaps the best vocal performance I can do at the time, hitting the boundaries of my range back then.I even have a concept for a music video in mind. I’m sure I’d like to re-record this one day.

5. Hold On To The Dreamers (Remix) (3:53)
E. Trinidad © 1993 Elsongs
A remix of the second track was possible because of the way I recorded this EP: I recorded the vocals on my 4-track recorder and had a SMPTE sync tone on another track, which, though a JL Cooper convertor box, synchronized the 4-track with my Ensoniq EPS’ sequencer. That way, I was able to record all the MIDI tracks only during mixdown and not have to degrade sound quality by bouncing in the 4-track. This also allowed me to use a different MIDI sequence synchronized with my vocal track, so I made this remix.

It’s probably the only thing that sounds unabashedly dated ’90s on this EP, what with Roland TR-909 drums and the ubiquitous “Ashley’s Roachclip” drum loop (popularly used by Milli Vanilli, P.M. Dawn and Duran Duran). I guess if you try to sound too current, you eventually sound too dated.

One Responseso far.

  1. Fresh says:

    Nice stuff man. I had a Tascam 424 as well, and similar synth modules which I still own…wow…so far back in the day. Anyway, I started following u when u were under the name e:trinity. Discovered Elson and The Soul Barkada some years later, some how lost track and I’m now back again hearing some great stuff u guys are doing..can’t wait til Brand New Thing comes out.

    I’m hear in my studio checkin’ out your posts and leaving some comments. I just downloaded the mp3 files u posted as well. Keep doin’ it big. If I ever make it back out to LA, I’ll definitely hope to see the group perform…

    All the bestt,

    youtube.com: http://www.youtube.com/7thgroove#p/u/8/LmiSQQ4ba-k

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