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 - 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 - 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 - 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 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 - 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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V/A -  Isolation
P: 2020
While the global health crisis prevents bands from performing or even from recording together, some of the finest electronic music creators from around the world have collaborated as solo artists to create ‘Isolation’, this unique CD album of new music.
Each artist has added layers to tracks by Internet upload, until each piece was complete and ready for mixing in London.In this way without meeting one another in person, electronic music artists show that they can still collaborate and remain creative even during these difficult times.
The music covers a whole range of EM styles and features sublimely atmospheric and ethereal pieces, throbbing passages of “Berlin School” style sequencing, dreamy, melodic synth leads, soaring guitar improvisations and ethereal and abstract sound painting - all with some assistance from acoustic instrumentation, plus some vocal work and voice-overs … a bit of everything really, and it all gels together extremely well!

Here is the list of ‘Isolation’ collaborators…

Bernard Szajner (from ZED, France - synthesizers & samples)

Kurt Ader (from S-A-W - Schmoelling - Ader - Waters, Germany – synthesizers)

Dominique Perrier (from SPACE ART, Holland – synthesizers)

Gerald Gradwohl (from TANGERINE DREAM, Austria – guitar)

Santi Pico (from NEURONIUM, Spain – guitar)

Julia Messenger (from Klaus Schulze’s Wahnfried, Australia – voice)

Ernesto Romeo (from KLAUSS, Argentina – synthesizers)

Robert Berry (from the band “3” with Keith Emerson & Carl Palmer, USA – bass)

Bill Fox (from SOUNDSCAPES RADIO, USA – guitar / synthesizers)

Hannah Chappell (from CELLISTICA, UK – cello)

Dave Gate (from LAND OF YRX, UK) - modular synthesizers)

Don Slepian (from SYNARIOS, USA – synthesizers)

Remy Stroomer (from DESERTED ISLAND MUSIC, Holland - synthesizers

Phrozenlight (Holland – synthesizers)

Special guests:

Stewart Lee with Luke Lee and Daisy Lee (UK - as THE STOKE NEWINGTON ISOLATION UNIT – guitar / ocarina / dulcimer / water glasses / drums / effects)

Collated and Produced (all tracks) in the UK by: Mark Jenkins (synthesizers / samples / piano / flute / fx)

Kurt Ader uses KaPro samples and the Korg Kronos

Mark Jenkins thanks Arturia and Behringer


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