GALACTIC NIGHTMARE

  The background to its

          creation.

As a amateur musician In the

mid 1970’s , I set up my own

home recording studio

with a four track Teac reel to

reel recorder and a  6x4 Teac

mixer. I then started

recording some instrumental

and vocal cover songs with my

friend Jack on vocals

and gtr. I provided drums,

base and keyboard sounds

with my Mini Moog and

Diamond 800 organ.


In 1977 I wrote and recorded

my first original track a

instrumental called Aye Jaye.

This was followed by some

original vocal songs including

STARSHIP JUPITER  tracks,

this time with myself and Jack

on vocals and gtr.




The 45 minute demo tape of


songs on a SF theme,


STARSHIP JUPITER I sent to


Record companies but they


were not interested as the


tracks were, ‘not commercial’.


Due to the limitations of

recording on a four track

machine I purchased a

Tascam 8 track reel to reel

recorder. A Great British

Spring reverb was also added.

The diamond 800 organ was

replaced with a Hammond C3

and Yamaha rotating speaker

/amp.


Jack played me ‘War of the

Worlds’ the Jeff Wayne musical,

based on the famous H G Wells

classic story. I was so

impressed by it that I was

inspired to try again and

record a more elaborate SF

piece with narration as in

‘W.O.T.W.’ This I hoped would

influence record companies to

re-record it professionally using

myself, pro musicians and

vocalists and then release it as

a double album vinyl record.

This would become GALACTIC

NIGHTMARE .


Had I known the difficulties

involved and how long it would

Take with my limited

resources,

I might well have taken the

advice of my friend Jack, and

not attempted such a

monumental task!



Jeff Wayne had a budget of

half of a million pounds, 64

track re-cording and mixing.

Digital echo’s, digital reverb's,

session players with

polyphonic keyboards, acoustic

drums, pro sounding guitars

and an orchestra. Richard

Burton for narration and

several well known artists to

sing on ‘W.O.T.W.’


My set up was small by

comparison. Having a small

budget, 8 track home recording

with two small mixers. A noisy

spring reverb, tape echo, a

monophonic synthesiser to

produce all sounds except

organ, guitar and symbols, with

Jack and myself on vocals.


Because of the these


restrictions and having to do


everything myself except


Jack’s vocals, GALACTIC


NIGHTMARE took several years


to finish on and off! ( Moving to  


Hull and setting up another


home studio did not help! )


When version one of the

GALACTIC NIGHTMARE music

was finally completed, I

produced a 1 7 page storyfile

which included the story, lyrics

and black and white

illustrations. These were then

photo copied and stapled

together with a front page,

into a A4 booklet. The front

page had my hand painted

Galactic Nightmare title

lettering which I designed,

against a star background I air

brushed. The storyfile and

Galactic Nightmare music

copied on cassette, were then

sent to UK record companies.

Again as with STARSHIP

JUPITER the replies were not

commercial.




Rather than waste my efforts, I


made improvements to


GALACTIC NIGHTMARE,


including re-recording a


different beginning and ending.


I decided to release version


two myself on vinyl LP’s. I


designed and illustrated a LP


cover using updated



illustrations from the story file


showing elements of the story,


hopefully to get people


interested in the music.


To release GALACTIC

NIGHTMARE on LP’s though

proved far too expensive so it

ended up as a cassette release,

with my LP cover artwork used

as a poster. I designed and  

produced artwork

for a four page storyfile,

cassette inlay and

advertisement. Saved some of

the printers expensive

photographic costs by having

the poster and cassette inlay

printed from my 35 mm slides

I had photographed. The printer

assured me that this

would be OK.


The poster letraset GALACTIC

NIGHTMARE lettering was

photographed in camera

over the poster by rewinding

the film. The cassettes were

duplicated by myself in

real time using my cassette

recorders. My friend Jack had

the four page A4 storyfiles

printed where he worked.


The poster unfortunately

though did lose detail and

colour subtlety, even being

printed from a high quality

slide, but it still gave the

listener a good visual idea of

the story. One track Drifting

Away which was recorded in

the 1979-80’s recordings

sessions had to be left out due

to cassette length restrictions.

The extra length C98

duplication tapes available

then, were not up to the best

standards with the resulting

sound quality loss.


I tried to interest UK record

again and TV and Film

companies with this version. I

got some nice replies, including

one from Sir Tim Rice who

found it very interesting. And

encouragement from Channel

4’s Stephen Garrett who urged

me to turn it into a stage play.



But the general response was


‘very imaginative but too


fantastical for us’. USA Film


companies Lucasfilm and


Amblin, politely return things


‘unread / not listened to’. So


George Lucas and Steven


Spielberg never got to hear it


as I wished.



I sent a GALACTIC NIGHTMARE

cassette to The Home

Recording magazine for review.

The female reviewer was

obviously in the wrong Job

as She was so busy criticising

the music, She forgot to

mention the recording

production. The whole point of

A Home Recording magazine

reviewer I thought!  


There was only one good SF

magazine out then, which I

think was called Voyager but

before my expensive advert

appeared, the magazine went

bust! ( SF had become

unpopular in the mid 1980’s). I

tried advertising in some comic

magazines which resulted in a

disappointing response and

without a distributor I could not

get Galactic Nightmare into the

shops. I even tried selling the

Galactic Nightmare cassettes

and poster in a comic

convention in Leeds - no one

was interested!


After all my efforts and expense

(£4000 today for the cassettes,

inlays, posters and ads) I only

received one order from a

American  after he read the

excellent review in the CU

Amiga computer magazine. As

his dollar cheque would cost

the same as the cassette cost

to convert to £’s sterling by the

bank, I sent him a cassette for

free. ( Could be a collectors

item now! )


In the years that followed the

disappointing commercial flop

of GALACTIC NIGHTMARE I did

not record any more high

quality song  demos. I sold the

8 and four track recorders, the

Mini Moog, mixer, the spring

reverb and Hammond C3.  I

did assemble Tantek kit effects

units, made a 120 input patch

bay, purchase a

digital reverb and a W30

Roland keyboard. But my

motivation to record my song

ideas still faded.    


From the year 2000 I started

working on a double CD version

3 and a website of GALACTIC

NIGHTMARE. A digital copy was

made of Galactic Nightmare on

my PC from the metal cassette

copy of the reel to reel master

tape. Over the years I would

keep improving the musical

with enhanced, extended and

partial remixed new tracks with

the intention of possibly

releasing it on two CD’s.


This idea was put on hold

though as in 2014 I received a

very complementary letter

from Jonny Trunk of Trunk

records. He had managed to

obtain a MP3 copy of the

GALACTIC NIGHTMARE cassette

I had sent to CU Amiga

magazine in the 1990’s for

a review . He agreed with the

reviewers comments

‘ Production Quality on this one

is excellent. It wasn’t actually

written with an Amiga though,

but it is so good we thought it

deserved a mention ‘.


Jonny Trunk loved the

recording and found it an

‘amazing, impressive work ’ and

wanted to release it on his

record label as a vinyl LP.

Later, Jonny decided to release

the musical as a limited edition

Double LP, ( Trunk Records

first ) with my poster featured

on the sleeve.


There were problems to come

though!  ( The LP’s creation to

follow… )


Alan Jefferson.



Galactic Nightmare Prime

Planet

86 Cassette Reviews