If I keep this up, January 2013 will see more posts here than any two months in 2012 put together…

At any rate. The last song to come up in Poweramp on my tablet last night (why pay for a separate MP3 player when I have LG Tone headphones and a nice big tablet?) was… this:


And that got me thinking about how my musical tastes went from mostly-classic-rock to include so much electronica like Pet Shop Boys and BT. I have my great-granddad to thank, in this case.

Great-Grandpa George was a tinkerer, a packrat, a storyteller, and a very strange sort of audiophile. Like many such folk in the early 1980s he believed that the LP was far superior to any new-fangled digital compact disc nonsense. Unlike anyone else I’ve ever met, however, he believed that cassette tapes were also superior to CDs. (He was also an Edgar Cayce fan. Ah, well.) Either way, he had multiple turntables and racks of tape decks and several open-reel rigs in the house, most of them in the upstairs living space of the house.

Luckily, when I had to sleep over at their place, I got to sleep upstairs with all the cool toys. (This explains so much, doesn’t it…?)

This being the early 80s, and me being around 10 years old, my musical knowledge was limited to Top 40 radio, whatever my parents listened to, and… Grandpa’s tape and record collection. Not much of his available material stuck with me for very long, but man, I loved the Vangelis tapes like “Opera Sauvage,” “Mask,” and especially “Spiral,” from which the above track is pulled. Much like the Genesis stuff I’d get into a few years later, this was rich and complex imagination fuel for my little brain, and I ate it up.

My father remains unamused by Vangelis, by the way: The notion of one man looping instruments and samples in a studio is what he describes as “musical masturbation.” I see his point, but I also sort of don’t care. (Love you, Dad!)

There’s a direct, if unusual, path from that Dervish D song to the Jan Hammer and Tony Banks and Pet Shop Boys and KOTOKO and BT and Venus Hum pieces which form one of the pillars of my musical collection today. So, thank you, Grandpa George, for all those tapes we made all those years ago.