ALAN J. BOUND
Cosmology
(House Master Records)

 

Who is Alan J. Bound and what kind of music does he make? Well for one thing, in early 2014 the Germany based guitarist has released Cosmology—a stunning CD featuring twelve gigantic sounding, guitar-centric instrumental tracks that, when taken as a complete musical experience, conjures a dark, spellbinding, early 1970’s Pink Floyd sort of prog rock sound, at least from back in the day when Floyd used to record instrumentals. Adopting an English sounding stage name, Bound coaxes some fine cosmic sounds from his electric guitars, while keeping the beat strong and clear is the rock solid drumming of German music legend Jaki Liebezeit. Also, on the CD closing "Aldara" is the violin sound of Klaus der Geiger. Fans of classic 1970’s era Teutonic rock will remember Jaki Liebezeit as the co-founding drummer of the group Can and then drummer for Michael Rother. At 75 years young Jaki still gets a mighty powerful drum sound and those sounds, together with Bound’s spacy Floydian influenced guitar sound, makes Cosmology a most impressive sounding album. Adding to the cosmic experience, Bound adds in some of his own cameo vocals for an even more spine-chilling effect on several tracks. The instrumental, guitar-centric sound of Alan J. Bound's Cosmology makes for a most enjoyable sonic joy ride into the heart of deep space. www.AlanJBound.com

mwe3.com presents an interview with
ALAN J. BOUND



mwe3
: How did the Alan J. Bound album Cosmology album come together, where and when was the album written and recorded and how did you come to work with legendary drummer Jaki Liebezeit, a legend of the group Can?

AJB: A girl friend of mine knows Jaki since the early 1970's. She heard my music and suggested I record with Jaki as she was a Jaki fan ever since. She knew where he played free concerts late at night. It was in a basement of an art house which was occupied by artists during the 1970s. I got in touch with him after the gig, showed him some stuff and we agreed to make a record. By then nothing was written and Jaki wanted a demo first. I made a stereo demo in my rehearsal room with all the synth sounds like on the record. He was fine with it and we had to find a studio. I tried Dieter Dierks, (Scorpions) whose studio is in village where I live. He was not so much into it so I made up my mind to find an alternative. I wanted a state of the art studio. By surprise I found a nice one just a short walk from Jaki’s session room where Bon Jovi once recorded. Jaki heard about it and liked it very much because it was so handy.

Jaki often plays these drum patterns like melodies which reverberate. It's very nice to listen to.

mwe3: How much of a German space-rock music influence is there on the Cosmology album? I was going to mention the Pink Floyd influence too but being all instrumental, would you say it’s also more Tangerine Dream compared to Pink Floyd?

AJB: You cannot deny Pink Floyd having an impact on your music if you go psychedelic. My second ever album was Wish You Were Here, recommended by a girl school mate. I wanted an album to buy with all good songs and she said that’s it – well she was right, wasn‘t she? When it came to mixing the album I was asked how I wanted it to sound and I said like Floyd which was appreciated. Well, I do like German Space music; like 1970’s Tangerine Dream, Guru Guru or Agitation Free and I do love Hawkwind of all kinds and Quintessence. There is also fantastic SF / West Coast-psychedelic music using extended, thrilling psychedelic guitar parts.

mwe3: How did you become interested in playing guitars, when did you start playing and what guitarists and bands influenced you early on in your career? Also do you play other instruments?

AJB: I started on acoustic guitar at age 16. I did play the songs of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Cat Stevens in these early days of mine. One day during a school break a friend let me try his walkman and said dig this. It was Jimi Hendrix with “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp”. Then I knew it – it must be an electric guitar. You could say one gets electrified by this song. Later on I dabbled in guitar-synth, too. As guitar strings naturally end ringing it is not handy to do long atmospheric tones using guitar-synth. So, I started on key-synth which is fine with me.

mwe3: Can you tell us about your guitars and which guitars are you playing on the Cosmology CD? How about what amps you use and what other effects and what other sonic devices you use to get that cosmic guitar sound on the new album?

AJB: I do have my one and only guitar named Vanilla which I heard some owners call this guitar because of the smell of paint in new condition. It is an American Fender Stratocaster plus just out of the shelf. I recently heard it was the unofficial Jeff Beck signature model at that time and today they only sell it as the Jeff Beck Stratocaster. But then I did not know it. All the Alan J. Bound CDs are played using this guitar.

Regarding amps I do have an ENGL Rack Head, all valve stuff. I do have two 1912 Marshall cabinets. I use spring reverb and analogue chorus. A bit special is a second spring reverb which I got to by surprise. It is an Aria Loco Box AD-15 analogue delay. I bought it with some other 1970s stuff. This spring reverb sounds kind of like golden reverb in spite of silver spring reverb of ENGL. I use both reverbs so, the sound is kind of gold and silver.

In fact this device was designed and manufactured in a small Japanese garage workshop that you can find out on the internet. It was run by two guys. They offered it to Aria and they bought the product and labeled it Aria. One of the guys is still alive. Sadly, you will never be able to get any spare parts as company closed. There is also a video on youtube about a guy showcasing an AMEK mixing console using a Roland synth and an Aria Loco box. Some like it and I would recommend a Fender valve spring reverb which is 20 times more expensive.

mwe3: What other instruments are you using on the Cosmology CD, including synths and how about electronic music samples and the various computer programs you use to color your sound?

AJB: Cosmology was made with an intricate Yamaha EX5 synth work station without further electronic music samples and no computer at all. For bass there is a Novation bass synth which is actually kind of a Moog clone. Tone engineer was rather enthusiastic about this one as it is analogue and the sound always changes a little bit. Furthermore there is my Roland GR1 guitar synth this time triggered by the EX5 instead of guitar.

Every synth is loaded with sounds designed by me though they sound good right out of the box. I just wanted a more specific kind of atmospheric and space strains.

mwe3: What is the music scene like these days in Germany? Is Alan J. Bound gaining more popularity in Germany and are you planning to make a more worldwide impression with your music? I would think, being mainly instrumental, the Cosmology album should do very well all over the planet.

AJB: I would appreciate that. There are some German jam rock bands and some stoner rock bands which are alike. Most festival people fancy hip-hop, punk / indie rock and a lot are into heavy metal. We are featured in some music magazines in Germany and the UK which helps us become known by a wider audience. We did a hall concert in February which also featured guitar bands like Wishbone Ash and Johnny Winter and it went down very well. There is another hall gig planned and not confirmed so far. I would love it if we could be stronger worldwide.

mwe3: How did you come up with the title Cosmology and can you tell us something about the artwork? Is that Stonehenge on the cover? Are you into astrology and other supernatural phenomena and do you believe in life on other planets and possibly other worlds that man might find out about in the future?

AJB: It is a saga starting off with a starcraft launch traveling through space and worlds and doing space adventures. A spacecraft on its search for a miraculous, marvelous planet called Aldara which it reaches at the end of the CD. Unfortunately, on their way they tried a rather hostile planet with no hope for escape. And at the very end of “Deep Space” you can hear the probe crew eluding, just in the nick of time, with an emergency capsule of the mothership. I am convinced there is life on other planets far. Even more as there is the latest thesis of parallel universes which makes it even more and more likely.

Well, there is Stonehenge and it is a symbol to a myth of communication to superior or extraterrestrial origin. So it is fine for Cosmology and it showcases the movement of earth around sun by indicating solstice through aligning sun rays. In the event of being just some stones somewhere kind of arranged, you must admit it is quite a big magnet attracting people from all over the world. They all feel the special place and being at Stonehenge might be more than just visiting some ancient stones which at least makes an impression to most itself. So, find out what it could or does mean to you and how you feel about it. Get experienced about Stonehenge and its stones.

mwe3: How would you compare the Cosmology album with your earlier works with your other albums and are your earlier albums still in print on CD or download? How has your music writing and guitar playing changed or evolved over the years?

AJB: My earlier album Moonglider started with a feature of a DVD-Sampler promised with high volume. This new album, together with Jaki has the best sound quality available to make it strong for radio and distribution. Moonglider was made step by step over the years. Cosmology has also this miraculous jazzy way of being recorded in two days, partly played by ear. One day for rhythm and solo guitars and one day for drum parts. That is the Miles Davis approach to do it in one day on a 3 track recording machine only. Actually, I think it was and is, the lack of money which forced me to concentrate on the moment and focus energy. Kind Of Blue is very different music but our recording approach was just the same.

We just recorded more than 3 tracks due to the current technical possibilities of today. Many songs were just first cuts. One of the songs failed 3 times for some reason. The engineer liked cutting from 3 versions and I moved to another, got it on the first try, getting back to the former song which then went down at first try. Jaki always played the complete song, too. After we did a sound check with drums and had everything in place, Jaki did “Starcraft” as the first song. After the song ended there was complete silence. After a while Jaki asked was it OK? The engineer said we listened in awe. I was very happy to have managed to record Jaki’s special beat coalescing with my music.

mwe3: What other plans do you have for 2014 and 2015 as far as writing new music, recording and upcoming live performances? How are you planning to further spread the word about Alan J. Bound and your music?

AJB: There are a lot of plans and projects. A live record cut from Hawkfest is popping up. I will try new stuff for a successor to Cosmology and a more rock related CD with English friends so I do hope. It is planned to do a hall concert in October which seems to be delayed and again a hall gig in February. We will work with magazines and mwe3.com in order to get better known.

Thanks to Alan J. Bound at www.AlanJBound.com

 

 
   
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