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UT RELEASES / KEVIN O'NEILL

Kevin O'Neill
instrumental synthesizer music pioneer from South Wales


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Alto Stratus Endgame
Endgame Triax

1. Icon
2. Intimations Of Immortality
3. Metamorphosis
4. Islands
5. Omega
6. Live! +

7. Katharsis
8. Yggdrasil
9. A Hostage To Fortune
archive releases...
10. Departures
11. The Secret Tapes

About...

Pioneering Welsh synthesist primarily active during the 1980s. Kevin was one of the rare examples of a unique talent with a distinctive personal style. True, he did occasionally display his roots and influences in his music, but he never set out to copy or emulate anyone. So Kevin was not another Schulze or TD wannabe, and this was what made his music so invigorating and exciting - we'd never encountered the likes of it before! For this reason alone Kevin's music has remained fresh and vital.
Initially we presented our favourite two, his first and third cassettes, cleaned-up for an authentic sound sans hiss or defects and remastered by Alan Freeman at Tachyon studio. Since negotiating those, Kevin gave his permission to reissue all his other cassettes and also two archive collections, adding up to the complete collection.

Kevin O'Neill

Germany was without doubt the birthplace and hotbed of what has become popularly known as Synthesizer or Eurock Music, and although many of the original innovators, Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, et. al. still thrive, it's sad to say that little music of worth now emanates from that quarter.
A large proportion of present day progressive, inventive and interesting electronic music is now being produced by British artistes who, whilst acknowledging a great debt to their Teutonic mentors have managed in most cases to adapt and mould the music to produce their own individual styles. Interest in and respect for these UK composer/musicians has been steadily increasing over the past few years and names that immediately spring to mind in this context are Ron Berry, Ian Boddy, Mark Jenkins, Carl Matthews, Paul Nagle, Colin Potter and Mark Shreeve.
To this small, but important band of synthesists should now be added the name of newcomer Kevin O'Neill.
Kevin was born in Cardiff in 1945 and like most people of his generation (myself included) was weaned on the music of The Beatles, thence Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, etc. It was not until the very late seventies however, that he became immersed in the synthesizer music of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. Around this time a number of events affected Kevin's personal circumstances and general outlook on life and music. After a rather chequered career in numerous jobs he was made redundant and left to survive via his own devices. From various music magazines he read of and became interested in more avant-garde electronic music (thus learning that there was life beyond Tangerine Dream and Schulze!) and a desire to produce music himself led to him borrowing his younger brother's Wasp synthesizer. Once ignited the spark flared and the desire to learn more about synthesizer and electronic music grew.
Towards the end of 1982 he enrolled for synthesizer lessons from Steve Howell and thus learned the basic principles of analogue synthesis. A firm friendship twixt student and tutor developed. Being unemployed, funds were hard to come by, but thanks to an understanding family Kevin managed to purchase a Roland SH-101 and a second-hand Sony TC-377 domestic tape-recorder. Thus, set up, recordings were made at home during the first part of 1983 and later in the year at Steve's Hollow Sun Studio utilising the far more sophisticated equipment available there. From these humble beginnings Kevin's first commercially available tape album ICON was produced and released in August, 1984.

Opening paragraph of Peter Harrison's Kevin O'Neill article in Audion #2 (September 1986)

extract from Kevin's Network 23 set in 1989

 

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