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Step One

A few moderately successful music tryouts of mine. Packaged in half a kilo, 39 minute long parcel. Full of deep electronic sounds, darkly. Labeled "Step One". Listen, rate and download freely and legally at Jamendo.



Not So Brief History of My Music Endeavours

In case we haven't met - I am Nicolay and I love music,

In particular - electronic music, but I am not a purist. I attend electronic gigs regularly, however I've been spotted at death metal, rock, jazz and many other gigs too. The following was supposed to be a brief history of my music endeavours throughout my known life. Unfortunately it didn't turn out as brief as I hoped. ^_^

1994 - 2005, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

I became involved with music in third grade when I became a part of a sizable choir known as Plovdiv Boys' Choir. We performed many songs in Latin as well as various classic-modern mash-ups. It was a fun ride while it lasted.

Roughly at that point my love for electronic music began to grow, fuelled by classics such as Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis. My aunt is at fault for the former and at the time I liked him a lot. Now I believe Vangelis' music is superior in mostly every respect.

After that The Prodigy came into my life with a blast. I spun two cassettes - Music for The Jilted Generation and Fat of The Land - for months, maybe years. The auto-reverse function of my SONY Walkman and a pair of VARTA Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries helped a lot here.
Then came high-school. New people, new friends, exposure to new music. A friend of mine gave me a cassette of WestBam in early first year. Electro was a relatively new genre for me, but soon I knew I was hooked. Another year of rechargeable auto-reversing ensued.
It was a rainy day during my second high-school year. I visited an unknown computer game club where I was going to play Counter-Strike with friends. The last person who used my PC left Winamp 2.666 open with a single song loaded in the playlist - Good Morning Israel by Eyal Barkan. Curious, I pressed Play and what a suite of unfamiliar sounds went through my ears. Afterwards I had an urgent question in my head - what was that and how could I get more like it. Shortly I found that what I listened to was uplifting trance and I obtained a few CDs among which - Another World by Astral Projection. The latter is an album I deeply cherish until present day even though psychedelic trance is not so often in my current playlists.
What followed in the years after was a marvelous journey in trance. Hard trance, psychedelic trance, dark psychedelic, uplifting. That's when I began going to gigs for the first time. I attended many. I saw Yahel live. I saw Astrix live. I saw Astral Projection live. I saw many others. At the beginning of that period I also began experimenting with DJ and music production software.

First I toyed with BPM Studio. I used it to make my first mixtape back in 2000. My controller was a mouse and my interface was an integrated AC'97 audio codec. It was horrid, all of it. Then I found Traktor DJ Studio 1.x. That software was very versatile for its time. Using its keyboard shortcut capabilities I designed a 2-deck and mixer mapping for a regular 102-key PC keyboard. I used that along with a Pentium III desktop and a CRT monitor to play at several gigs. Beat-matching on a keyboard galore!

Roughly at the time when I discovered Traktor, I began playing with audio production software. I tried SONY ACID. It didn't last long because I didn't have any physical equipment. Then a friend found FruityLoops 3.4. Having all music equipment built in software, it allowed me to compose with a PC keyboard, a mouse and a SoundBlaster Live! with hacked drivers that provided ASIO support. It was a dream come true. Using our newly acquired fire-power, the same friend and I produced several trance songs. They were amateurish but showing significant upward trend resulting in a decent hard-trance track called "Anthem of Hope" which won a third (or fourth?) place in a national computer arts competition. A spruced up version of that song be found here.

Following "Anthem of Hope" my tastes grew darker and I began experimenting on my own in the land of psychedelic trance. The first fruit of those experiments was Space Vasse (Original). I made it as a gift for the birthday of a very close friend in 2004. His nickname was... you guessed it - Vasse. The overall sound of the track was closer to his liking than mine. I guess we do things like that for people we care about.

Shortly after I made a better mastered and balanced version of the song with less bloated bass and a few modified synthesizers. I kept the original as is, since it was a dedication and because it was my first very own track which made it somewhat special.

2005 - 2009, Toronto Canada

In 2005, my family and I moved to Canada. I lost love, friends and social life without the slightest idea where I was going. It was a depressing period. During my first months in Canada I produced Underwater Melancholidream. It suited both my mood and my newly discovered love for chillout, ambient and trip-hop.

As I began rebuilding my social life, my tortured long-distance relationship ended and the tears slowly subsided, I laid the foundations of Mandirimuniak -2. Having conquered software virtual analog (VA) synthesis, gotten better at mastering and acquired a pair of not-so-crappy-but-still-not-great headphones, I was ready for some serious production. I designed many VA synthesizer patches, composed a few themes and effect out of them. Then I arranged all of that in what I believe is the best song I've produced thus far. It's a dark, harsh story with a bright end. I made a mistake for placing this song at the 3rd position in Step One. As a result just about half of the people listening to Space Vasse get to hear the best song of the album.

Lastly, I made an analog patch I fell in love with, while playing with one VA software synthesizer. I decided to feature it in a song, and that's how my last music effort was born - Beautiful Sirius. I simplistic scheme with a blend of nice synthesizers - no more, no less. That's the last track I have produced so far.

In 2007 I had the luck to acquire a Novation X-Station 61. My very own real virtual analog synthesizer, oh the joy! Unfortunately and fortunately I began attending university the same year. I had to leave the beautiful machine to gather dust. My music efforts suffered the same fate. Soon I decided that I should let my music free in case someone might enjoy it. That lead to the release of Step One - an album that was my first and very own step into electronic music production. At first I distributed it via BitTorrent. Later I found Jamendo and I put it there too.

Present Day, Toronto Canada

I am now a working software engineer with little of my university education left. I am an amateur DJ aspiring in many genres of modern electronic music such as house, progressive, techno, minimal and many others. I am using Mixxx open source DJ studio coupled with a Hercules DJ Console Mk2 or a pair of turntables with timecode vinyls. The more I grow and the more I interact with different music styles and people, the less of a purist I become and I think that's a good thing. That interaction gives birth to many interesting ideas, therefore new experiments are bound to follow!
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