Other Worlds
(Trondant Studios)


A forerunner of combining instrumental rock with genres such as New Age and electronica since way back in the late ‘80s, guitarist Mark Dwane is a unique musician who deserves to be heard by fans of all the above genres. Dwane made headway with his widely acclaimed 2007 CD 2012, and now on the 2009 release of Other Worlds he breaks new ground with a CD that will thrill his long time fans and bring in a host of newcomers. Recorded at his hi-tech Trondant studios in Westlake, Ohio, Other Worlds is not only amazing from a musical / musician standpoint, but it’s amazingly well recorded without hardly a trace of distortion in the signal to noise chain. In other words, you don’t need a ten thousand dollar CD player to fully embrace Dwane’s modus operandi. One of those outstanding, vintage Sony CD players made when the company was perfecting the CD sound with their fabulous early ‘90s ES CD player series, is just the ticket to blow away the cobwebs out of your brain. As has already been pointed out, although he’s is a guitar player—and there’s plenty of amazing electric, midi and slide guitar work on Other Worlds—Dwane’s forte remains blurring the lines of musical reason by combining a series of challenging audio strategies that implement the guitar within a framework of a futuristic, near science fiction approach to musical concepts. A must for those who thrilled to the great music Jan Hammer was making during his brilliant instrumental rock Miami Vice era in the mid '80s, Dwane’s Other Worlds is a completely compelling and holistic musical experience just made for guitar fans who think more clearly ‘out of the box.’

MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents MARK DWANE Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world, their new recordings and gear!

Musical Background

I started formal lessons on the guitar at age 10, and I have been playing for 44 years. I studied with a wide variety of instructors in rock, jazz, classical, theory and composition. I can read and write music fluently. Knowledge and education are important components and can considerably impact a composers prowess. That being said, I appreciate the inspired purity of a self taught musician over the sterility of academia. As a matter of fact, many of the great musicians who inspired me were self taught. So I have tried to attain a balance of the best of both worlds. I also acquired a great deal of experience playing and performing with many bands. In 1975 I started my own band called “ORB”. We performed throughout the northeast Ohio area and recorded a few albums. I was the main composer and I was working with guitar synthesizers. I was using a VCS3 with a pitch to voltage converter and an ARP Avatar. My primary guitars during this period were a Gibson Les Paul Custom, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Explorer 2 with EMG pick-ups and an Ovation 12. I had a massive custom designed pedal board and Moog Taurus pedals. I was using Marshall, H/H and Hi-Watt amplifiers. I also began teaching guitar for my livelihood in 1978. ORB disbanded in 1981 and at that time, I decided to build my own personal recording studio and become a solo artist. The music I was doing was progressive rock and the focus was always on virtuoso playing and lengthy, complex compositions. However, I was always seduced by the element of audiophile production, great producers and great studios. So I bought the best equipment that I could afford and tried to learn from the best examples. In 1980, I visited ABBA’s Polar studio in Stockholm, which was the state of the art facility at that time. The artists who sold the most records could afford the best studios, gear and producers. So I listened to a lot of mega pop music. I wanted to incorporate those sterling production elements into my music. Ultimately, I had to do the best I could with what I had to work with. I studied recording and production and tried to develop my ear over the years, and it has been a evolution ever since. In the early 80’s I did a couple of albums of AOR with various female vocalists. These were actually demo quality and my aim was to sell the songs to publishers. I recently released four songs from this period on my Songs CD. Then in 1985, I recorded my first solo album entitled The Myth. It was a hybrid of Prog Rock and what was soon to be New Age. In 1987 I acquired a polyphonic MIDI Guitar system and went totally digital in my studio. I had ordered a new Sony digital recorder from a shop here in Cleveland. They were in high demand and only two came in. The Cleveland Orchestra got the first one and I got the other! I then set about to record my first totally digital New Age album entirely on MIDI Guitar. The Monuments Of Mars was the result and was my first official release. Angels, Aliens & Archetypes, The Atlantis Factor, Paradigm Shift and The Nefilim all followed over the years. In 1995 I entered into a licensing deal for my first three albums with DCC Records in Los Angeles. They provided mainstream distribution for those albums. Unfortunately, the music retail industry began a systemic meltdown as soon as my albums hit the stores. Many stores, distributors and labels, including DCC, all went bankrupt and closed down. So I continued marketing my music on my independent Trondant label. I also started doing production music for company’s in New York and Los Angeles. They have placed my music with various clients including, CBS, TBS, The E Channel (E!), ABC, The Playboy Channel, The Weather Channel, Lifetime, MTV, Univision, Fidelity Investments, Singapore Airlines, Jet Blue, Frontier, Air Tran, Sony, The NBA, The Canadian Winter Games, FOX Sunday, FOX Sports, Comcast Sports, The Tonight Show and many others. All of my albums up to this point had been strictly MIDI guitar. In 2001 I decided to begin incorporating electric and acoustic guitars in to my music. Planetary Mysteries, The Sirius Link, 2012 and my new release, Other Worlds all went in that direction.

New CD

My new CD is entitled, Other Worlds and it was recorded in 2008-2009, at my private studio here in Westlake. In regards to how the album was recorded, I will try to detail the process… Each composition begins with a unique set of individual elements. I usually determine the core elements first and build around them. Each instrument or sound element presents it’s own sonic signature and frequency range. I will start with that component and e.q. for correction and enhancement until I am impressed with the end result. Then it is a matter of adding other components, one at a time, to see how they interrelate. I am obsessive about which sounds produce the most desirable result, so entire sessions can be devoted to a fashion show of potential candidates. I always experiment, I love to be surprised and subtle variations can make the difference between the mediocre and the spectacular. It is extremely important for everything to have it’s own sonic space and for the arrangement to breathe. Ideally, I try to obtain a clarity where each instrument is totally discernible in a three dimensional sense. Every part of the composition, arrangement and recording process is extremely important. Once I have obtained a “safe” mix, I always do multiple variations and remixes. My Variants CD is a collection of some of these alternate versions and remixes. As far as my studio equipment goes, I am using Cubase on a PC for my recording medium. I use an Amek console with Lexicon, T.C. Electronic, SPL, Aphex and DBX processors. I am presently using Event studio monitors with Hafler power. I mix analog to Sony DAT and bounce digitally to master. I use Isotope Ozone for mastering. I always proof my mixes on other systems for perspective, both high and low fidelity. I would hope that each album reflects another phase of my musicianship. If you do a bad album it’s easy to say, o.k. I have to do something radically different for the next one. But if people like what you’re doing, you tend to be more tentative about taking chances. So you walk a fine line of introducing fresh perspectives while maintaining your signature sound and style. If you compare Monuments Of Mars to Other Worlds there is a big difference. But I think they are both reflective of my sound and style. Ultimately, I endeavor to produce music that is honest and that is a true reflection of myself. That is very important to me. Artists have the gift of immortality, we are able to leave behind an authentic piece of our souls for future generations to discover and appreciate. As for guitar style, I think it all comes down to the touch, phrasing and tonal characteristics of the individual player. Sonically, I strive to get as much emotion, tone and melodic sensuality as I can. Every guitarist would like to think they have a unique voice, but that is for the listeners to judge.

Favorite Guitars

Well, my MIDI guitar system has been with me since I started this journey in 1987. It’s an Ibanez X-ING guitar mated to a Roland GM-70. It has it’s imperfections but I am comfortably familiar with all it’s idiosyncrasies. I especially like the electronic pitch bar feature, in that it does not physically move the bridge. MIDI guitar has always been akin to black magic and requires a great deal of patience and perseverance. As for my electric guitars, I have a Parker Fly Deluxe, PRS Singlecut Artist, PRS Custom 24 Artist and a PRS Custom 22 Artist. They are all wonderful instruments with their own personalities. I string them with D’Adarrio 009’s. I also have a Martin acoustic, Taylor nylon and Spector bass. All of these instruments have been used on my recordings. For amplification I always go direct. I use a MESA Formula for overdriven sounds and a DBX 376 for high fidelity. I try to obtain as much tone as I can get out of each instrument. So I will use various compressors and e.q.’s but I never print effects on the guitars. This keeps the original sound pristine and gives me processing options down the road. I usually process the guitars with the Lexicons. I am always intrigued with pedals so I try everything I can get my hands on. 95% of them always go back because they degrade the sound quality. But I did find a keeper recently in a Soundblox Multiwave Distortion that I used on Other Worlds.

Musical Influences

When I was a child, I was exposed to music that I think affected me subliminally. My parents would always have the radio playing these Mantovani type orchestrations of songs like “Never Never Land” and “Tonight” from West Side Story. Beautiful melodies with these magnificent sweeping string orchestrations. Then The Beatles arrived and they changed my life. They were the catalyst that started me playing. George Harrison was my first major influence. I feel I owe so much to The Beatles because they impacted my life in such a profound and joyous way. Of course I appreciated all the other great music of the 60’s, The Stones, Kinks, Cream, Hendrix, but my next major influence was Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page was an overwhelming inspiration to me. His playing, sound and production on those first four albums was the gold standard of the era. In 1971 music was exploding and progressive rock was the nuclear option. Specifically my next major influence, Keith Emerson. He opened the great gates of bombastic classical virtuosity and the Moog synthesizer to me. Another major influence was David Gilmour. Dark Side Of The Moon was a masterpiece of sound and production. I was always intrigued by his soulful solo’s and guitar atmospherics. I appreciated Jeff Beck, Jan Akkerman, Steve Hackett and Andy Summers, all great guitarists. However my last major influence was Vangelis. I loved the electronic music of the late 70’s, Jarre, T. Dream, Berlin school etc… But it was Vangelis who really moved my soul, amazed and inspired me. Finally, I can’t possibly mention all the classical, avant garde, soundtrack composers that inspired me. But I will mention Bernard Hermann. As for most influential albums…

Forbidden Planet- Soundtrack
The Beatles- Help! & Sgt. Pepper
Led Zeppelin- 1 & 3
Emerson, Lake & Palmer- 1st album and Tarkus
Pink Floyd - Meddle and Dark Side Of The Moon
ABBA- The Album & Super Trooper
Vangelis- China and Themes
Roxy Music- Avalon
The Police- Synchronicity
Jeff Beck- There And Back
Bryan Ferry- Boys and Girls
Sade- Love Deluxe
Holst- The Planets

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