Ten years ago, I was wrapping production on “The Men in Martian Ice”—SIDzCarbonatedMilk’s second release. This was almost a decade after the first †official Carbonated Milk release: “Please Don’t Harmonica”. “PDHM” narrowly missed pick-up by Motown™’s then brand new Jazz label Mo-Jaz™. Ultimately they chose to build their label on Smooth Jazz offerings. “PDHM” was Jazz/Funk-Jazz-Rock fusion—formerly known as Fusion—that was heavy influenced by my late-late childhood idols: ††Return to Forever, featuring: Chick Corea. For “Men in Martian Ice”, my strategy was to choose a more popular idiom that would as well hold my interest. …especially my love-interest: synthesizers.
I remember my first time ever touching a synthesizer. I was tagging along with my mother while she did some shopping at Gibson’s Discount at the shopping center. It was a few years before it was legal for me to drive. In Mississippi then, that would have been 16; I was still about two years underage. When she’d completed the shopping, and as we drove away, I spied with my little eye a small Moog® logo on a sign outside a mobile home fringed by shady foliage and transformed into an electronics store. It was owned and managed by reformed Hippy-types. At my fervent request, we entered. There on the shelf I saw it: a ††††Moog® Sonic™. It was like a little puppy there yelping and whining to be taken home by me. It would be seven years later before I’d actually own †††my first synth; but from that seminal moment, I was forever sold on Electronic music—a dial disciple fettered by techno-lust.
About twelve years and a half—this month, I landed a job in the Hi-Fi department on the now dearly departed Circuit City®. A friend and co-worker, Mike Walker—a man of eclectic music tastes, one of which was Electronic Music—would often play Crystal Method when demo-ing speakers and high-current receivers. Those days, I was reading Keyboard—so as to stay connected to the music scene while doing my time on a day-job store-chain-gang. Around that time, Björk’s “Homogenic” was winning high praise from reviewers. And creatively inspirationally, it gave me a reason to live again musically—for the first time since Rap and Garage Band music took over in the late 80’s.
“The Men in Martian Ice” album combined the Jazz/Funk-Jazz-Rock fusion of “PDHM” with the added minimalist artsy flair of Detroit Electronica, blending in U. K. Electro-Pop—Carbo-Milk Pop, if you will.
Upon MIMI’s release, early returns (read: bootlegged MIMI being played in local clubs, and quite favorable review in a U.K. music periodical, etc.) seemed to show us on our way with what might be a successful indie launch. All that was left, was for us to kick in full-fledged with our promising promotion plans. This department was headed by my partner and longtime collaborator, Jack Marchbanks. We were going to run this thing like a political campaign, for which Jack was most adept—as he was moderately, highly-positioned with campaigning responsibilities in the 2000 U. S. presidential election.
After I relayed said favorable responses to him—as he was so otherwise occupied, fateful words were spoken to me:
“Okay, SID. Well, the election is this Tuesday. And after that, I’ll be free to go all in with our plans.”
For those who have remembered to forget recent world history, the 2000 Tuesday election turned into that infamous hanging-chad incident, which extended November 2000’s Election Tuesday’s results into December. By then, we were into the Christmas season. As such, we resolved to regroup and start again fresh in 2001’s first quarter.
The first week in January 2001, I was summoned to jury duty. No big deal; so we’d start a week or two into the quarter. Then while serving jury duty, I receive notice from my landlord informing me that he had sold what was then currently our homestead, and henceforth we would need to move.
In the (too) few months we had to pack up our family of four and find a new home. We managed only to accomplish the tasks of packing and moving into a single long-stay hotel room. For a month that seemed month-after-months, our once seemingly spacious Red Roof Inn® room grew evermore compact. While there in comparatively comfortable homeless conditions, I satiated my electro-opiate cravings will the purchase of a Korg® Oasys PCI™ card. It yielded some very interesting sounds utilizing physical modeling technology. One morning, on May 18th, 2001, while playing around with some of the most interesting of these, I composed “SIDon ‘S’on the Map”. Originally, it was titled “From SIDon” (for my name’s origin: Sidney literally meaning from Sidon); but, I’d saved the file only by its date and forgotten that. “On the Map” came to mind somehow. When later I realized my mistake, I changed the name half-back to “SIDon ’S'on the Map”.
In the “Mµne-Pi” story arc, Sidon is a symbolic point of origin of mankind on earth—the garden of Eden theorized to be located somewhere in the Middle east or Africa.
In subsequent “Mµne-Pi” chapters, we shall watch in awe and wonder as mankind grows from its innocent child-state to evolving into beings drunken with the power of our autonomy. …then to some of a few blessed creatures who will reconcile with their most loving Creator.
†technically, the very first was a collection of Jazz-Funked-Christmas carols set to video for Suncoast Motion Picture Company® (Who footnotes on a blog? Is that Kosher?)
…well, in that case:
††The name Carbonated Milk (est. 1981) was a parody of surreal Scientological concept of returning to forever, which to me seemed in its way as absurd a concept as carbonated milk. …a little trivia gem there.
†††…a Korg® 700s™, or Mini-Korg™—that my friend “Fungus” would attempt to nickname “Synthy”…didn’t stick, no way. Then his prescience was later validated when a synthesizer named Synthia hit the market…and bounced like a bad check.
††††see: synthesizer http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2009/04/06/moog-sonic-six-analog-synthesizer/. This one is like looking at the very same one I’d played back in seventy-two.