Berry, Ron

Born in Manchester, UK 1947. Became interested in electronics as a child in the mid fifties.
First instrument was a home made electric guitar made in 1960. Played in first band at school 1962.
Played guitar in Manchester area during the Beatles led Mersey beat era.
Got involved with electronic music around 1972.
Built first synthesiser in 1974 and others followed (see synthesiser adventures section).
Switched to playing synthesiser end of the seventies...
Pioneered a new type of band (duo) in the UK featuring synthesisers and electronic percussion controlled by a unique novel computer based sequencer which generated the basic rhythmic backing patterns, 1980.
Produced first electronic music album, “Where Dark Forces Meet”, using this system around 1981-2. Started performing solo concerts on an expanded 15 channel polyphonic version of the computer driven sequencer system 1983. First gig with this system was supporting “Hawkwind” at the “ UK Electronica” event in Milton Keynes.
Composed and produced more albums, including one long playing record “Osiris” and did more concerts up to 1988.
Started designing audio equipment for DACS Ltd. at end of the eighties.
Got involved doing video and TV/film soundtrack work for David Bellamy Associates Ltd. Did quite a bit of this 1988-98, but continued to compose and record electronic music.

Berry, Ron
Ron Berry - A Voice in the Wilderness

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 1984 / 2002
Synthesisers are great for producing many unusual and strange electronic effects and sound textures. They make possible new sound worlds to explore and this is what excites me. “A Voice in the Wilderness” is really about using synthesisers to ‘paint’ pure electronic music onto tape. In this album, different scenes come and go; some are short sound-scapes, some are rhythmic sequencer episodes. Overall I’ve tried to create a sense of space or rather various interesting different spaces that just flow into one another. Constantly changing, there are non of the usual track breaks so there are no real tracks that I could list. Each of the parts plays through several scenes, but it’s really just one piece of music. The two parts actually listed are retained from the days when the music was released as a cassette on the “Mirage” label. This was the first album to feature the micro-processor controlled polyphonic sequencer. All the electronic music on the album was produced using modular analogue synthesis except for a Godwin string synthesiser (also analogue). The recording was entirely analogue, mainly a 1/2” 4 track pro. recorder aided by a couple of extra stereo machines. The CD production master is a direct copy from the master tape, using a stand alone CD recorder and a very high quality analog to digital convertor system.

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Ron Berry - Entropy

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2009
The tracks on this album are entirely electronic-synthesiser produced, accessible and nothing wildly experimental or difficult to listen to. Much use of mechanical sequencer rhythms is made for general background rhythmic material supporting the melodies, solos and improvisations. Although the style is traditional it’s an album in which I’ve tried to exploit the wide variety of sounds that a range of equipment from vintage, hardware to ultra-modern software synthesisers can produce for the foreground instruments as well as all the background sounds. I enjoyed mixing up instruments from different time periods and I hope it’s effective and enjoyable to listen to.
As the album came together, in a scientific book I was reading the subject of Entropy was discussed and I just thought the word somehow fitted in a odd kind of way to what I was experiencing with the music. The music I felt being entirely electronic also did have a slight feel of science about it.

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Ron Berry - Heavens and Highlands

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2002
This is the first of three new (previously unreleased) electronic music CDs. The highlands in the title are the Scottish highlands in the UK. This extensive mountainous area has a rugged timeless majestic quality that I love. The night sky looks beautiful ringed by the mountains high up in the clear night air.
The music starts with an ascent up to some high point where the vista unfolds. Images of past lifestyles, life and death and the Scotts going to war pervade the musical feel. Then above all that there is the night sky. A vast expanse of space filled with stars, massive supernova and black holes. These are places where even time itself is twisted. Astronomy, technology and age old landscapes are the very varied impressions I’ve tried to express in the music.
There is quite an unusual mixture of synthesis used on this album. Analogue physical modelling features in several tracks along with my trusty microprocessor sequencer. Some tracks use more modern sound sample based synthesisers and computer sequencing. In the “Highlander”, human voice fragments are used only to excite and sound through physical models of real instruments, drum bass guitar other ‘plucked’ strings etc., with strange results. “Pegasus” is based around a percussive acoustically modelled imaginary instrument, a kind of half way stage between a purely electronic synth. sound and a ‘real’ instrument.

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Ron Berry - Nightscape

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2002
With this album we come more up to date with his work, being recorded in 2001. It is a little like a sandwich. The first three and last three tracks being the most upbeat with a slower, drifty, mellow filling. A bouncy rather jolly rhythm mixes with tuneful piano and flute then a sort of virtual sax on 'After Five'. It is certainly very different to anything I have heard Ron do before. It's almost easy listening, ideal for accompanying a TV holiday program. 'Rock On' is just as easy to get on with. It chugs along nicely. A pleasant, even playful, lead using a sound which sometimes comes over like a flute then at others a clarinet, takes centre stage with piano support. 'City Lights' is a gently percussive number. Panpipe and trumpet sounds combine together to keep the mood as 'light' as on the rest of the album. The tracks that I thought worked best however were those in the middle such as the acoustic guitar sounding 'Close Encounters' and the flute lead 'Touchy Feely'. Both are delicate and quite beautiful. They are still rather easy listening but with an excellent moodiness. The latter was even a little like Jonn Serrie or even Peter Seiler. 'Satin Sheets' is a harp dominated piece with synth colouring so as such it was inevitable that Lisa Franco came to mind. The pace picks up again for the final three tracks.'Motorway Madness' and 'Cool Night Breeze' are somewhat funky in both rhythm and sax lead. '9 to 5' however has a rather infectious, though more conventional (for EM anyway) melody. It's a CD which would have been very much at home on the IC label. Pleasant, maybe too much so for some and in no way challenging.

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Ron Berry - Osiris

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2002
This album was originally released on LP record in the mid eighties. At the time I was, and still am, very interested in ancient Egypt, particularly the connection with astronomy. In those days the Egyptian night sky was clear and free from light pollution. The stars were bright and dominated the heavens. They naturally played a large part in ancient life. Ancient peoples constructed their monuments to face certain constellations on important times of their calendar, or they laid them out in the same shapes. The Egyptians did likewise, which tantalisingly suggests a very early world wide source of common knowledge and belief. Recent works by researchers like Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and Simon Cox, all present compelling evidence of this and many other fascinating aspects of ancient Egypt. The powerful story of Osiris is also closely linked with the heavens so this seemed like an ideal base on which to realise some electronic music. The four tracks represent different aspects of the Osiris story. They start in the real world with “Heliotropolis” (a track describing my feelings of ancient Heliopolis) and then exploring various aspects of the developing Osiris story; dream states, catastrophe, rebirth etc. and spiritual journeys to finally joining the company of the gods for all eternity.

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Ron Berry - Sun Dance

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2007
The previous album Temples turned out to be a very atmospheric album. So in contrast I wanted to do a nice more up-front sounding sequencer based electronic synth album with tracks that are mostly in dance tempos. I also wanted to mix synthesiser sounds from vintage to modern times to see what came out. For the rhythmical base on each track, I therefore used mostly mechanical rhythmical synthesiser sequences in almost traditional electronic music style plus some drums and percussion. The overall impression is, I hope, is light and feel-good even though blues or minor scales are often used for that bit of rock bias. There are still plenty of contrasting sections though and some more weird sounding material like the track “Swamp Fever” with it’s strange voices. I’ve also used some, hopefully, musically interesting acoustic manipulated sound samples well to add an extra dimension to the mostly central electronic sound .

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Ron Berry - Temples

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2005
This album is the final release in the set of 9 reissued cdr's spanning his music career to date and was recorded on an assortment of analogue and digital technology in 2005. As the title suggests this music has a distinct eastern feel to it, with occasional ethnic instrumentation (samples) throughout the greater part of its 11 tracks. It is a well-produced and equally melodic album full of meditational values that should find favour with those who have a particular preference to this side of EM. 'Forgotten Temples' begins the set with a low, subdued and delayed gamelan bell sample. A cosmic drone arrives together with occasional mysterious analogue chords. Then a sequencer pattern enters under percussive effects and a lead line adds to the serenity and pleasantness. 'Gateway to the East' fires up with a bass sequencer pattern, almost metronome like. Light percussion and mysterious chords add effectiveness and stability. Occasional bass piano sounds take hold and eventually a shakuhachi theme maintains its eastern flavour. Track three again features the sound of a gamelan bell but this time in a slightly darker and menacing atmosphere. An 'airy' chord theme then takes off and at around 5 minutes a more defined work shines through, with extra bass patterns and haunting theme. Occasional use of vocoder is apparent on this piece. 'Pilgrim's Track' begins with percussive synth stabs. A detuned bass breaks through the mix, followed closely by a mysterious solo lead line. Additional bell type effects and pads draw the track to its conclusion. Track 5 enters the dark, cosmic mode with, again more gamelan bell. Bass and light chord textures appear and a definitive theme is introduced, over further washes of percussion. A more distinct lead line take the piece to its end. A mixture of obscure loops grace track 6, 'River Passage' before finally finding solace in a suitable mixture of chords and a flute styled lead over percussion loops. 'White Water' starts with a bell drone. Percussion arrives offer an effective bass sequencer pattern and is followed by a staccato theme over flowing chords of serenity. The opening bars of Track 8 comprise of a rather mysterious soundscape. Further effects and obscure chords over what sounds like occasional whispers until eventually finding familiar ground with percussion patterns and further drone work. 'Deep into the Mountain' starts with a mid tempo bass loop and a gamelan bell (yet again) theme. Percussion and choral textures enter as a baseline for a mandolin styled lead. The piece ends in a moment of darkness. 'Before the Altar of Light' is a percussion/ soundscape affair. Further effects and a percussion loop take hold, closely followed by occasional bass and synth pads. A slightly resonant pad dominates the final section of the piece. Finally we have 'Gate to Eternity' and for one last time it starts off in delayed gamelan bell territory. A high synth drone carries things forward, heading slightly into Steve Roach territory – providing a sense of mystery and calmness in equal doses. Occasional percussion appears throughout this track but it manages to retain a relaxed feel to its conclusion. Overall a decent a well-balanced album aimed more at those into meditation melodic EM. The music of Llewellyn, for example could be likened to this work. Highly recommended.

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Ron Berry - The Mist of Time

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2002
This CD was composed a couple of years ago. It’s very loose theme is the history of the Earth; well, obviously not all of it, a little has been left out. It’s a collection of very different tracks but the music is generally spacious and moody with moving evolving synthesiser texture backdrops to several of them. Most of the tracks have rhythmical sections over which solos and melodies flow. Tracks 1&2 are slow and atmospheric, conjuring up moods of earths early period leading up to the creation of life on the planet. By tracks 3&4, an electronic ’bones riff’ announces that man has arrived and then he attempts to get off the planet. Tracks 5&6 are light; a kind of floating in air or space music. Track 7 looks to the future, out to what other habitable worlds may be out there. Obviously this a rocky track. Finally for contrast, track 8 is an purely electronic experimental sound-scape about the vastness, the coldness and darkness of space in which the earth is a mere speck of space dust.!
Both digital and analogue synthesisers have been used for this CD. I’ve tried to mix old and new technologies together in an interesting way, producing some new unusual sounds. The recording is again entirely by analogue tape equipment, with the CD production master a simple direct copy off the master tape.

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Ron Berry - The Reaper

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 1986 / 2002
Ron Berry is a true electronic musician who uses a variety of sound devices (some self-built), from analogue and digital sources. This album, as the sleeve notes suggest is part of a series of reissues to cdr, spanning his 9-album output from 1980 to the present day. With a distinct late 80's Neuronium sound this 4-track album is quite an inspiring piece of work. This album was actually recorded during 1986 and is number 5 is the reissue set of 9. It is quite a varied work and apart form the aforementioned influence it is hard to compare this work with any other EM related artists out there.
The first track 'A Fist Full of Nand Gates' sounds like something out of a western movie and it's overall theme, though not completely obvious, does have this occasional leaning. In fact a prominent 'Neuronium' styled theme kicks things off. Then its all system go as percussive effects and synth chords take hold into a new found level of effectiveness. The 'wild west' theme evaporates at around the 6-minute mark but soon returns under a further bed of obscure chord structures. This piece manages to maintain a positive feel throughout. The next, title track begins with a cosmic drone, before mysterious choral textures carry the piece through washes of bell effects. Light percussion loops are enhanced by effective synth chords and an almost low flute theme is introduced. A sequencer pattern enters and through the barrage of sound emerges a string synth theme. The flute theme is reintroduced until the piece eventually subdues at around 10 minutes. However it's not too long before all hell breaks lose again (no pun intended).
'Spectre of the Ruin' starts much in the same way as per the last track with its similar structured cosmic drone, although somewhat delayed and with a decent array of effects. Light percussion samples move the piece forward but the overall feel is towards that of menacing and mysterious. After a brief moment of subsidence the piece picks up where it left off and continues along its dark path. Finally we have the piece 'Genesis' which incidentally is the longest track on offer here and it begins with the sounds of vocoder. A high synth drone takes hold, adding serenity and additional effects hit the decks after the first 3 minutes. Occasional delayed bass sounds enter but lead nowhere, instead the piece taking on a more dark and cosmic feel. Vocoder effects return at around the 8-minute mark and then it's back into the dark, cosmic zone for one last time. There is perhaps a lot of expectancy in this piece but it doesn't really deliver the goods. I must admit I was expecting more from a grand finale.
In conclusion a decent album that definitely has a unique direction and sound of its own – the only minor comparison being to that of Neuronium in places and it should be of interest to fans that also prefer well constructed and decently produced EM

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Ron Berry - Void

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2007
Void is an unusual album of largely dramatic abstract soundscapes. It has slowly taken shape over several years. The idea for it really goes back to the early seventies when synthesisers were very new and manufacturers claimed that this new revolutionary instrument could produce any sound imaginable! At the time record companies also soon caught on that anything with the word synthesiser on it sold well, very well. Because of this the record catalogues were actually healthily diverse in electronic musical styles. This was good; much better than today in fact. In my early record collection I had some quite abstract albums by people like Water Carlos and Morton Subotnik that seemed to really push the boundaries of this new instrument. Well that was thirty years ago. A few years ago I found myself wanting to explore this whole area and see what I could do but with some of the latest synthesiser technology. Even though I know well that today largely abstract soundscape albums are not everyone’s cup of tea, I just had to do this one.
Void is a collection of extremely dynamic and dramatic synthscape tracks. Always flowing through turbulent and quieter sections, passages of contrast and harmony I’ve used everything I know to produce a hopefully interesting and exciting synth experience. It has taken a long time to produce and I’m very pleased with the sound and the flow of it. I think it was certainly well worth the effort. This is an album that really needs to be played loud sitting in front of a reasonably good stereo-sound system!

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Ron Berry - Wastelands

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 2002
A scene of desolation left by some huge upheaval of the earth is the idea behind Wastelands. It’s an eerie journey through the experiences of such a place. Although only 4 tracks are listed it is really a number of separate sections which flow into one another, some are travelling sections some slow down to take in the view. Each section is different but there is a strong single overall feel and style. I’ve always been impressed by dramatic landscapes; like those produced by volcanic activity, meteorite impact, or simply time-worn eroded expanses of desert or ice, inhospitable places where humans left long ago. Only an occasional ruin remains.
Originally released in 1987, this was the first album I produced using the unique modular analog physical-modelling synthesiser I had devised. It produced most of the eerie, windswept textural sounds, the wierd ‘percussive ‘windblows’, bells, temple gongs that characterise a large part of the music. It was also used for the rhythmic sections. Thin metallic plucked strings, drums etc. were produced and used alongside the more conventional analog synthesiser sounds. The recording techniques employed are very similar to those on the Osiris CD.

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Ron Berry - Where Dark Forces Meet

Artist: Ron Berry
P: 1981 / 2002
This was my first electronic music album. it was released on the “Flowmotion” label in 1982. It’s a collection of tracks inspired by memories of experiences of living in cheap rented one roomed accommodation often in run down areas of town or crashing out on peoples floors. I remembered simple things like drifting off while watching an astronomy programme on TV, gazing into the fireplace and seeing strange things, staring out of the window on a rainy day. I remembered visiting friends and playing music together, looking round second hand record shops. This is what coloured the music so strongly. By 1980 I had settled into my first bought house and started to build my first synthesiser studio in a back bedroom. After a period with the duo “Out of Control” this was my first solo effort. It definitely has that classic analogue synthesiser sound of the time.
This was my first electronic music album. it was released on the “Flowmotion” label in 1982. It’s a collection of tracks inspired by memories of experiences of living in cheap rented one roomed accommodation often in run down areas of town or crashing out on peoples floors. I remembered simple things like drifting off while watching an astronomy programme on TV, gazing into the fireplace and seeing strange things, staring out of the window on a rainy day. I remembered visiting friends and playing music together, looking round second hand record shops. This is what coloured the music so strongly. By 1980 I had settled into my first bought house and started to build my first synthesiser studio in a back bedroom. After a period with the duo “Out of Control” this was my first solo effort. It definitely has that classic analogue synthesiser sound of the time. In making this album I used the two analog modular synthesisers with the first micro-processor sequencer I designed and built. These are described in the “synthesiser adventures” section of this site. Extra sounds came from a string synthesier built from a magazine article, my electric guitar and my voice. For recording I used a four track 1/4” tape machine and a couple of extra stereo 1/4” machines to fly effects into the mix. The studio mixer was only six channel but there were mixers on the synthesisers too.
The production CD master is a direct copy from the analog master tape to a stand alone CD recorder via a very high quality analog to digital convertor system. This is as near as I can get to the original analog sound on the CD medium. I’ve tried to preserve the character of the sound of the period. No Dolby noise reduction was used on the early master tapes.

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