it comes to the art of sonic guitar as written and performed within
the realm of the New Age / Rock Fusion genre, few do it better than
Ohio-based Mark Dwane. The mwe3.com web site featured Marks
2009 album Other
Worlds last time around and now in 2011, Mark has unveiled
what some are already considering his ultimate recorded statement
yet. Released at the close of 2011, The Singularity features
ten original tracks, all composed, performed and produced by Dwane.
Although the CD is self-produced, it is packaged within a truly amazing
CD cover art that bespeaks of the music within. Dwanes highly
evocative, wide-screen instrumental vision is somewhat reminiscent
of Jan Hammers late 1980s, cinematic soundtrack music
on Miramar, although clearly more omnipresent is Dwane's guitar sound,
which although digitized, synthesized and computerized is still organic
in its approach to guitar performance. Dwane has listed George Harrison
and Jimmy Page among his big guitar influences and clearly, fans of
Harrisons more adventurous instrumental guitar works (anyone
remember George's Wonderwall soundtrack?) should give Dwanes
latest masterpiece a spin. Check out The Singularity because
of that cool cover art that conjures other worldly dimensions, but
listen to it because of the music. www.MarkDwane.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: I was reading that your new CD The Singularity is inspired
by some futuristic technology that will one day appear on earth. Can
you illuminate the readers about the story and inspiration behind
the making of The Singularity CD and in what ways do you feel
science fiction and fact inspires you, both in the writing and producing
The premise is that our technology will eventually become more intelligent
and powerful than we are. The positives are that humans will be able
to extend their lives through advanced technology. Robotic development
and artificial intelligence will enable humans to do more than ever
thought possible. The danger is that, once this technology becomes
faster and more intelligent than the human brain, it will accelerate
exponentially. Designing and building more advanced systems / robots
and becoming self aware as a new cyber life form.
I have always been inspired by thought provoking concepts, which in
turn provide a creative impetus, both in writing and producing modes.
I envision a soundtrack in my mind, set rough stylistic parameters
and go from there.
mwe3: How do you feel your music has grown and changed over the years
and also can you compare, for example the writing and recording process
of The Singularity with your 2009 album Other Worlds?
When I composed and produced The Monuments Of Mars back in
1988, everything was fresh and new. The sounds were new, the style
was new, new age was... new! (laughs.) The end result felt like great
With each succeeding album it became more of a challenge to achieve
that gestalt effect. With each new project I have to push the boundaries,
both compositionally and sonically to maintain that. I personally
have to feel totally fulfilled with the end result. Over time you
become jaded, something that satisfied me ten years ago would be insufficient
I think my music has become more sophisticated over the years, because
I am continually raising the bar. That being said, I do not feel that
it takes anything away from the "spirit" of my earlier works.
They remain as time capsules of their eras, compositionally, emotionally
As far as comparing the writing and recording process of The Singularity
and Other Worlds... both albums are relatively similar because
they are not really that far apart. I feel the same holds true for
The Sirius Link and 2012 or Paradigm Shift and
On The Singularity I wanted to explore more sonic abstraction
and the subject matter supported that.
Things change in the studio from time to time. New gear and software
inspire new sounds and styles. So The Singularity has some
different textures, styles and atmospheres, compared to Other Worlds.
What guitars did you primarily feature on The Singularity and
are you still using the MIDI guitar system? How about other new special
EFX you used in the studio this time around and overall, are there
other interesting new guitars or guitar news to report?
MD: I am absolutely still using my MIDI guitar system. That is the
core of what I do. As far as other guitars on The Singularity...
I used my Parker Fly and my PRS addiction collection, which consists
of the following...
Custom 24 Killer Quilt LE / Korina body, one piece top Fire Red
Custom 24 Artist Royal Blue Flametop
Custom 22 Artist Trans Purple Quilt
20th Anniversary Singlecut Artist Scarlet Red Quilt
They all have different pick ups and sonic personalities.
I also used my Martin acoustic, Taylor nylon and Spector bass on this
I processed the guitars in many different ways through various gear...Lexicons,
PCM 81, PCM 91, MPX1, Roger Linn Adrenalinn, Glitch software, MXR
analog flangers, PSP Nitro, Soundblox Multiwave distortion, Boss,
Aphex and T.C. Electronic compressors. I record all of my guitars
direct through MESA and DBX pre amps.
As far as new guitars, I recently purchased a Gibson 50th anniversary
LE Flying V and a Fender Strat.
I know I mentioned this to you before and, even though he's not a
guitar player per se, I can hear Jan Hammer as an influence in your
music, probably because of the way you blend electronic and highly
processed music, in the studio, with a skillful, melodic arrangement.
Did any special influences permeate your approach on The Singularity
and are there other newer artists and or recordings that have
caught your ear recently?
MD: There have been albums that I have enjoyed over the last couple
of years by a plethora of artists and numerous soundtracks... although
I really can't say that anything directly influenced me. On the contrary,
I think you have to unplug yourself from what others are doing and
focus on what makes you unique. I tend to be far more influenced by
visual, intellectual, emotional or literary stimulus.
mwe3: How has the music business changed over the years and where
do you see the music world / music business ten years from now? I
hope we still have CDs!
Well, obviously the internet and downloading changed everything. The
positives are that any independent artist can market their music worldwide.
This is tremendous in that it gives the artist the power to control
their own destiny. The negatives are that MP3 downloading has virtually
destroyed CD sales. It appears that the majority of people feel MP3
quality is good enough. This is sad because the MP3 format is dramatically
inferior to CD audio. Artists, like myself, spend a great deal of
money on expensive gear to produce state of the art recordings. It's
depressing to have the end result of all your effort degraded to an
inferior format. That being said, I will always continue to release
LE (limited edition) master quality, audiophile CD-R's of my work.
As for the future...
Unfortunately, I think it's going to go from bad to worse with streaming.
The majority of people probably will not even buy music anymore. They
will pay for a subscription to stream all their music from "The
Cloud" or whatever. Artists will get thousands and thousands
of plays but only make pennies from it. If the system does not change
to compensate artists more equitably, they will have to think of creative
ways to generate income, in order to continue to produce music.
mwe3: How about any special interests outside of music and also what
musical plans do you have coming for 2012 and beyond?
Some of my other interests are aviation, astronomy, archeology, advanced
technology, science fiction, film, literature, and of course all the
cutting edge subject matter that I base my albums on. I also enjoy
an active/ organic lifestyle, hiking, cycling, swimming...
As for future musical plans...
As I mentioned, when I compose an album, I usually discipline myself
to work within stylistic boundaries pertaining to the subject matter.
from time to time, the creative muse pulls me in a completely different
musical direction. Occasionally I give in and produce a piece of music
that's totally unrelated. Over time these unrelated works accumulate
to the point of having an album's worth of material. My "Archives"
album is an example of this. At present, I almost have enough music
to release another "Archives" type album. A collection of
unrelated short stories, stylistically all over the map. So I probably
will release an "Archives 2" album sometime around mid 2012.
After that I'm sure I will be hard at work on my next project...
Thanks to Mark Dwane @ www.MarkDwane.com