Charles Ditto: Basso Continuo. Cyberdelic ambient and nootropic soundscapes (1987-1994)

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Image of Charles Ditto: Basso Continuo. Cyberdelic ambient and nootropic soundscapes (1987-1994)

Charles Ditto: Basso Continuo. Cyberdelic ambient and nootropic soundscapes (1987-1994)

"Second release on Passat Continu comes from the depths of Texas. “Basso Continuo” span works from the privately pressed albums “In Human Terms” (1987) and “Texas Electric” (1989) and music released only on limited cassette pressings during the early nineties. Influenced by Cluster, Moondog, The Residents and Brian Eno, Charles Ditto created an intimate world of minimal pop tunes, abstract soundscapes and playful melodies which remained in the vaults for several years. Full album available also on digital through Bandcamp."

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1954 into a musical family: my mother played piano, organ, and clarinet, and my father played guitar and sang. I took piano and guitar lessons starting around 7 years old, and later added clarinet to the regimen. As a family, we would sing 4-part harmonies early on, singing hymns around the piano and alternating parts with each other. Got a scholarship to the University of Houston in 1972 where I got a BM in composition. Enjoyed composing very much, but couldn't find my voice. Got the itch there to play music professionally in bands. Moved to Austin in 1981 and began that life: full-time road musician with gigs around the US, Mexico and Texas also for almost 20 years.

In 1992, had a notion to go back to music school. Got a MM and DMA, both in composition, from the University of Texas, while supporting myself playing in bands, as house pianist and working at Strait Music in Austin selling keyboards and pianos. A year after graduating from UT, 1998, I received an offer to teach music theory at Texas State University, down the road in San Marcos. Discovered that I loved the classroom/performance setting and that I was weary of the full-time live music lifestyle. Went full-time in 2003 at TXST and that is where I am today. I only occasionally play live music anymore just with friends and mostly for the fun of it. The space music of my two LPs came about in the mid and late-80s when MIDI technology hit. I acquired some MIDI-capable instruments, learned the sequencing/software and played live in Austin with my Mac, and managed to record and press the two LPs. I could only afford 500 copies of “In human terms” and 1000 copies of “Texas Electric.” I sent about 150 each to public and college radio stations. About 200 copies were lost in a fire, and the rest I've been giving away to anyone who wanted.

The music of these records is not as much space/ambient like Eno or Stearns, but more deconstructed, minimalist pop structures. I was listening to lots of Eno, Residents, Cluster, Moondog, Steve Tibbetts, etc. Also, I have always listened to traditional folk music from all over. Indian raga, middle-Eastern, Celtic, Scandinavian, Mongolian and Chinese music, this is probably my favorite music to listen to. I also fell hard under the spell of the minimalists: Steve Reich, Philipp Glass, and J. Adams. Still love their music. My scored music is influenced by these guys. I continued to create music on the MIDI ensemble, even when the space music gigs in Austin dried up.

Charles Ditto, winter 2017

Second releaase on Passat Continu comes from the depths of Texas. “Basso Continuo” span works from the privately pressed albums “In Human Terms” (1987) and “Texas Electric” (1989) and music released only on limited cassette pressings during the early nineties. Influenced by Cluster, Moondog, The Residents and Brian Eno, Charles Ditto created an intimate world of minimal pop tunes, abstract soundscapes and playful melodies wich remained in the vaults for several years. Full album available also on digital through Bandcamp. “Snarkdanz” is only available on digital.

Tracklist LP

Side A
1) Pop 03:14 *
2) Tunis, Two Legs (Adam's March) 03:50 ?
3) Horsefeathers 04:13 †
4) The Walkabout 04:20 £
5) Eastern 02:13 *
6) Rock 05:07 *

Side B
1) 28-23 Cleveland 03:32 †
2) Slave Waltz 04:02 *
3) Urban 03:46 *
4) Basso Continuo 09:19 *
5) Ayaats'iin 02:37 †

12) Snarkdanz

* from the LP ‘in human terms’ (Ditto Records, 1987).
† from the LP ‘Texas Electric’ (Ditto Records, 1989)
? from “The Way of All Peach” (Ditto Records, 1992).
£ an update of ‘bush’ from ‘in human terms’

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