2. Intimations Of Immortality
6. Live! +
9. A Hostage To Fortune
11. The Secret Tapes
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
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
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)
from Kevin's Network 23 set in 1989