Back when I recorded „Incarnation Generator“ in 1999, for me it was a turning point in a somewhat difficult time in my little musical career (which back then - and for many more years to come - still „happened“ mostly in the privacy of my home studio).
I went through a couple of „phases“ (very roughly speaking) after I started to dabble in music around 1992:
The first two or three years were mostly dedicated to learn the basics about the two fields of sound synthesis / electronic music (in technical terms) on one hand and music theory / arrangement / composition (in artistic terms) on the other.
For one or two more years I attempted mainly to create melodic instrumental music inspired by Mike Oldfield, Andreas Vollenweider and the like; however the rather simple sample based keyboards which were my only equipment back then were not up to produce such a sound convincingly.
At the same time I had increasingly been introduced to ambient music (for example by Brian Eno or Future Sound Of London) and partly following my own leaning towards calm contemplative music, partly because the sounds at my disposal seemed to lend themselves better to that, I soon began shifting more and more into the direction of ambient and also experimental electronica.
For the remaining years of the early period, when I was still using 4-track Cassette as my recording medium, I liked to think that I had advanced considerably in the field of ambient, culminating in 1997’s „double album“ (actually originally a 90 min cassette) „A New Age“ (which actually was more or less dark drone ambient).
However, when I switched over to hard disc recording in mid 1997 - and at that time also got some „more realistic“ sounding sample based sounds - my earlier leanings towards melodic (aka „real“) music surfaced again, and while the new medium gave me a lot more freedom and much better recording quality, to some degree that made me leave my previously established path again, and for a period of several years (until „Movies Moving In My Head“ in late 2000) I felt somewhat disorientated (again), pursued all kinds of different projects heading in multiple directions (melodic new age tunes next to dance tracks next to hard rock pastiches next to experimental and surreal stuff etc.) While some of the music of that period seems still OK to me, back when it happened I wasn’t exactly happy with the turnout, or at least had not the impression that I had found my own voice yet.
(…it has to be said that it also was a challenging time in other ways: my wife and me married in 1997, and in 1998 our daughter was born, both of us were still studying, more money for food and shelter than before had to be earned, and in addition to the usual hassles that young families have to go through, my wife suffered from depression for a few years - so all of that probably didn’t exactly support the creation of music. Now, I did it anyway… ;-)
Which brings me back to „Incarnation Generator“ - the topic of this album - „incarnation“ (or reproduction) - wasn’t a mere coincident, I think, and actually the vocoded words in „Black Seed“ were a short poem that I wrote after an intense dream about my (then) baby daughter.
And while this album still did not actually *end* that somewhat difficult phase, it at least gave me a glimpse of the direction I would finally more or less steadily pursue - not from this album on, but finally from the „Movies Moving In My Head“ trilogy on.
I felt it was a much stronger effort than most of the other albums from this period, because it managed to be quite weird and (as I hoped) rather unique, while in all it’s weirdness still able to convey atmosphere and tell a story.
In addition to this, it was the very first album that I ever sent anywhere: in this case to some electronic music competition that was held some place in Northern Germany (I forgot all the details about that and never heard back from the guys, but at least they must have received what was my first sign of musical life outside my bedroom producer studio).
Since the original album was rather short (for my „standards“ anyway…) there was plenty of room for bonus tracks, and especially in this case, these contain a couple of „gems“ which I had been very fond of, but that still did not find their „own“ albums until I assembled all of my music for the CD set „No Single Single“ in 2006 / 2007 (…the original album of 1999 contained 15 tracks, ending with „Black Seed“).
Oh yes, on some tracks I used the demo version of what later became one of my favorite sound design tools, a software called „Metasynth“ (which I purchased and vastly exploited a few years later when I recorded „Movies Moving In My Head“).
Some of the ambient tracks were directly inspired by some of the music on Peter Gabriel’s computer game EVE, which I came to know around that time; I had to develop my own „game“ during 1999 in a student project at university (where EVE had been one of the good examples our professor had presented us) Unfortunately though - because it was designed for a by now long since outdated operating system - the resulting CD-Rom (called „Preview: Blue“) doesn’t work anymore on today’s computers. Still, a short medley of different sounds that could be triggered in that game survived in the shape of a bonus track…
The „psychedelic baby“ I used for the cover art was a doll that I had kept since my childhood; her name was Mary…
Finally, here’s my poem „Black Seed“ - rather „flow-of-consciouness“ - like and I guess in rather poor English, but anyway:
* * *
there yawns black seed
at the core of our universal hunger
black drops of bygone deeds
like memories of ancient tears
where is this light?
brightness - purple, amber, blue
coincidence and whispers
black planet - willow trees
the magical fish jumps
(out) of the water
like the laughter
of my daughter
childlike eyes in ancient soul
here is a light
brightness - purple, amber, blue
black seed spreads and
grows to golden dawn
and then grows on and on and on
so be weary
and be dreadful
light conveys a pattern
shadows speckle business calls
we built this world
up to our measure
there might be
at the core