Here’s a very rare & exceedingly charming cassette recorded by couple Will & Cath (Kalima) Sawyer in 1980. Comprised of both lovely songs, instrumental synth passages, and a palpable DIY aesthetic, a copy of this album was discovered by sound recordist/record collector Brett Becker in New Mexico last year, which led us to tracking down the Sawyer’s in Hawaii. They’ve very graciously allowed us to post the entirety of their album here, and this is what they had to say about its creation in a recent email….
“We recorded it ourselves in London, fall 1980, on a TEAC reel-to-reel tape deck, in our living room. We had arrived in London with all of our equipment, intent on making this recording before the arrival of our first child in Mar, ’81. Through grace or luck, we found a small cottage near Hampstead Heath (right in the heart of London) that was quiet enough in the evenings to do the work.
Because we were (are) into harmonic tuning, rather than equal temperament, we had searched out an instrument that we could tune ourselves; there was an engineer, Serge Tcherepnin, in San Francisco who had developed a kit for an analog synthesizer which fit our specs. We spent a few months prior to leaving for London laboriously building it, soldering it together and learning how to play it. It required patch cords that manually routed the signals in various configurations, connecting oscillators, filters, etc. Now of course, this is all done digitally . . .
We used a TEAC reel-to-reel tape deck, Shure mics and maybe some other stuff, like reverb, all of which we brought over with us. The funny part is that as we left S.F., our flight was delayed for several hours while they de-planed everyone in a remote area on the tarmac and looked through everyone’s luggage. They said there had been a bomb scare, and we figured out quite a bit later that it was our synthesizer that had likely triggered the alert. That was SO out of everyone’s context at that time, as this before “terrorists” had been invented!
Once our daughter arrived, we more or less dropped it all; it is actually a minor miracle that you happened across one of the very rare cassettes that we got around to distributing!”
Now based in Ha’iku, Hawaii on the island of Maui, they continue to create music to this day on a solar powered studio they built themselves. You can find more of their creations recorded over the last 40 years on their soundcloud page located here…https://soundcloud.com/synthesis555/sets/s-y-n-t-h-e-s-i-s
tape & text Michael Klausman/Brett Becker
download the tape here