A Proud Day

posted on #1
mpointon Supporter
Posts: 504
Joined: Feb 27, 2015
For me, at least. This might be a bit of a long post and for that, I apologise.

Some of you may know from conversations we've had my father was a consummate pianist, composer, musician but also experimenter in the early days of electronic music. I am incredibly lucky to come from parents who lived and breathed music and they, of course, actively encouraged myself and my brother to also enjoy it which we both do. I just chose the noisiest instrument! I am a musician because of my parents. I am a musician because, when I was young, my father - realising my interest in the drums (I was a trumpeter at the time) - videoed Buddy Rich on the Parkinson show in 1980-something. I was hooked.

Anyway, my father has now been gone 9 years. Sadly he was gone long before he actually died due to his Alzheimer's, diagnosed in 1991 when I was only 18. By 2000, very little of my father remained, just a vague look of recognition in his eyes or a tiny smile. But it took until 2007 for it to finally kill him. But I digress as I'm not here to tell a sob story. Everyone has equally important and influential moments in their life.

But most of what I knew of my father's prolific output and the sheer scale of his musicianship has been second-hand - told to me by family friends or peers as anecdotes. Recently though, the British Library has accepted some of dad's compositions as music of historical or musical significance. From that the following has occurred and is now about to release:

Dad's early electronic music experiments has been remastered by a low-key label called 'Public Information'. They have taken his original 4-track reel-to-reel masters and made an LP of his early experiments in oscillators, etc., and made it available for all. In particular, they considered his experiments with a home-made synthesizer he co-designed with Doug Shaw for Practical Electronics of interest for this compilation. It was all recorded between 1973 and 1975 on 4-track reel-to-reel machines.

[url=https://soundcloud.com/public-information/malcolm-pointon-electromuse-lp-sampler]This link to Soundcloud [/url] gives a short demo of the upcoming compilation of his electronic experiments. It's all pure '70s analogue! A good synopsis of his work can be read by clicking the 'show more' link on the page. It opens with my father talking (it's sad I don't remember what he sounded like!) when he was a BBC Radio announcer.

I must stress this is not a sales pitch - I'm not asking anyone to buy the album. I'm just stating my pride that finally some of my father's work is getting recognition for its experimentation and innovation. It's really not for everyone but if you like your early synth stuff, these experiments in sound may interest you.

For me, I'm just so damn proud that his work is getting some attention for its innovation and creativity.

Incidentally, over the months lots of you have asked what all the stuff is on the shelves behind my drum kit in my photos. To the right of my kit on the shelves in the photo below is the very cassette and 4-track reel-to-reel masters on that album.


Sorry for the diatribe but I wanted to share.
posted on #2
Posts: 213
Joined: Mar 7, 2014
Martin this is just wonderful. I'm kvelling with you!
posted on #3
TeeGee Supporter
Posts: 1603
Joined: Sep 27, 2014
Very cool Martin, sounds very Pink Floydish to me :). Also Kraftwerk comes to mind too. I was already trying to imagine how one could sample the sounds with a nice human drum track, would be mega modern. Very cool, and you have all the right reasons to be proud of your dad.
posted on #4
Posts: 126
Joined: Jul 24, 2014
That makes me very happy for you Martin, you have every reason to be proud of your father ;o)
posted on #5
Dick Supporter
Posts: 2735
Joined: Dec 30, 2010
Thanks for sharing this story with us, and yes, I can totally share your feeling of happiness here.
One a side note - if you belive you played the loudest possible instrument, you havent stood next to a bagpipe player in a closed room... :D
posted on #6
OliVBee Supporter
Posts: 758
Joined: Jan 7, 2013
i think you have all the reasons in the world to be proud of your dad's wonderful achievements ! his creativity is still an example to follow nowadays :)
thanks for sharing !
posted on #7
Posts: 90
Joined: Jan 5, 2014
Hi Martin

Am listening to it as i type & yes, you have VERY good reason to feel the way you do. As TG said it does remind me slightly of P.Floyd in their early years.
For a while i was a fan of electronic music, not in it's purest forms but still… & what strikes me about your Dad's piece here is that it's easy to realise there was a musician composing/playing it by the way things flow into one another, very cool !
Some others were game only for the electronic music purist so to speak..
Indeed thanks for sharing ;)
posted on #8
Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 20, 2014
Thanks for sharing Martin. I think your dad would be equally proud of you as you are of him.
posted on #9
Posts: 374
Joined: Mar 25, 2012
Thanks for sharing, you've got a lot to proud of. I noticed on the pre order page that all profits from this release will be donated to the Alzheimer's Society. So i will order now
posted on #10
mpointon Supporter
Posts: 504
Joined: Feb 27, 2015
Thank you everyone for your kind comments and support. It's a hard subject for me to deal with because my father was such an amazing musician but I found it all out long after he could tell me himself. Even though he was alive. Being told that such pianists as John Ogden worked with him because they admired his playing so much is hard to realise - he was just someone who I could hear practising his piano at the other end of the house as I went to sleep at night. Or playing jazz at Christmas with him on the piano, me on drums and my brother on bass when I could barely reach the drums - the kit was borrowed from the music department he worked in at a Cambridge college. To discover his amazing reputation after 'the event' is as disappointing as it is hurtful. To discover the very early stages of his illness was only noticed because my mother spotted his once-note-perfect sight-reading started making alarming mistakes...

To then discover he was instrumental (no pun intended) in the early development of electronic music is extraordinary. But it makes sense. I remember wandering into his music room (the room with all the books where my drums still reside in the photos) seeing loops of tape wound around all manner of objects as he constructed his tape loops. I also remember the clouds of cigar smoke hanging in the room too - he wasn't allowed to smoke in the rest of the house, rightly! His home-made synthesisers. His teaching me how to use a razor blade and a splicing block (!) to edit 4-track tape. He loved electronics. He loved electronic music as much as he loved his classical composers. To see this recognised by others as something of historical value and worthy of wider recognition just makes me bewildered with both pride and sadness that I didn't recognise it first-hand. But proud I nevertheless am. So very proud.

@Nilton: I didn't mention the charity aspect deliberately because I didn't want to ask people to buy the album, just express my emotion on the subject. This is Wikiloops, not Facebook - I'm not here to plug, just to express something with like-minded people who I believe understand. The fact you have pre-ordered I can only say thank you. So very much, thank you from all my family.

As I'm sure many of you know in various ways with your own personal lives, to discover what your parent(s) is after you should've perhaps known is painful. To see this recognition all these decades later feels like the world gets to learn about him with me. Because I never knew it at the time.

Thank you for letting me talk and express myself about this.
posted on #11
mpointon Supporter
Posts: 504
Joined: Feb 27, 2015
If you have a stern mind you can watch the documentary, filmed by Paul Watson, about my father's illness filmed over many years which was made in the 1990s-2000s. It's a very, very difficult watch. Not least because I have bad hair...Joking.

I've not watched it since its original broadcast in the UK because it's too difficult. But the entire soundtrack is either my father's compositions or his improvisations during his illness which were recorded secretly.

It is a brutal watch. Not easy at all. But it's on YouTube should you want to watch it. It's over an hour long and it's hard viewing. Very hard. For me at least.

posted on #12
Posts: 90
Joined: Jan 5, 2014
VERY difficult watch indeed, i went back to 12.54mn up to 14.44 or so, it's just wonderful you two drumming away at the table...
posted on #13
adu Supporter
Posts: 256
Joined: Feb 1, 2014
Hey Martin, I´m so sad about it. I don´t understand everything at all, but you can be proud of your parents! Thanks for sharing and we all have to see our own life with other eyes! I hope you will understand me!
posted on #14
Wade Supporter
Posts: 491
Joined: Nov 25, 2013
It's wonderful that your father is receiving the recognition he deserves as a pioneer and fine musician. The sample recording was most interesting as it seems to be almost a catalogue of what was possible with those basic technologies, yet each segment musically morphed into the next. Several of those were (to my ears) outstanding sounds and rhythmic feels. Maybe you could loop some and use them? If some of those were carried longer it would certainly have been way ahead of it's time as electronic minimalism.

I found the documentary hard going as many of us know Alzheimer's sufferers and (my being old) it's a worry that I may also wind up in that condition. It was amusing to see the young you and how frank and seemingly accepting you were of his condition. The rhythmic interactions were a lovely way for you to communicate. But, as said, the symptom of demanding attention and irrational confusion would be very hard to be around. Your family was very brave to face that with so much compassion.

As you know we share musical parentage and it's lovely to see some recognition for what our parents did, even if we didn't fully recognise it ourselves at the time.
posted on #15
Posts: 63
Joined: Feb 26, 2014
I'm not going to be able to express all I have to say : too many things, too confused, too less words to say what I mean... I was very touched by the love around your father, couldn't watch everything, reminds me too much of my mother who's gone twice just the same. Until the end she felt sensitive to music and relaxed when we put a CD of classical music, pulling her face if it was not a style she appreciated, this was our last way to communicate with her.
It's nice to see you, already perspicacious and pragmatic.
You can be proud of your father, such a pioneer in such an intersting period for musical creation.
Hope they'll find a solution to help in this fuc*ing disease before we walk on mars...
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