Echo Location: Mark Dwane’s Electronic Guitar

owMark Dwane travels to Other Worlds of guitar synthesis

You can hear an audio version of this blog with Mark’s music here.

Mark Dwane is a musician who has Progressive Rock in his DNA. Born in 1954, he was just the right age to be seduced by 70s bands like Genesis, Yes and Van Der Graaf Generator.  So when he started making music himself with a band called Orb, (not to be confused with The Orb) it naturally took off from there.

mark_orbMark Dwane: That was a band that started in 1975 with my brother and my cousin and we were doing all original music, this ultra progressive stuff. Remember all those bands who used to be on the Charisma label? We used to listen to a lot of that stuff and we were writing these half hour epic compositions and we were doing the prog rock thing.

MD2012sleeveMark Dwane’s Orb made vintage Progressive Rock, and you can hear that he was a pretty hot player, but the Moog synthesizer ruined any potential he had for being a conventional guitar hero.

Mark Dwane: I was always intrigued by things that Clapton, Hendrix and Page were doing, trying to stretch the limits of the guitar. But, then when the Moog came out it was a totally different sound and it was so seductive I wanted to explore that.

And he did, plugging his instrument into a VCS3 synthesizer. By the time the 80s rolled around, he was headed in a different direction with his MIDI guitar.  There are no keyboards used in Mark Dwane’s music, yet listening to most of his CDs over the course of a dozen albums, you might never suspect there’s a guitar involved at all.  But on his new recording, Other Worlds, he takes some honest to goodness electric guitar leads.

momIt’s been 21 years since Mark Dwane released his debut album, The Monuments of Mars and he continues traveling he spaceways.  Reverberations of echoes of Pink Floyd and Genesis can be found in his work, but with his MIDI-guitar and orchestral arrangements, he’s taken those influences into new terrain.

Mark Dwane’s latest album is Other Worlds on the Trondant label.  It’s available as a digital download and there’s a limited edition version of 1000 on CD.  I’ll have a more extensive interview with him this monday on Echoes.  This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

You can hear an audio version of this blog with Mark’s music here.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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