I started teaching myself guitar in my mid-teens (before realising later on that the bass was my true weapon of choice) and am currently rocking out with my band in West Sussex / Surrey. Through playing in bands, I got drawn into the world of sound engineering and then production. I’m completely self-taught and although I sometimes bump into my own limitations and knowledge, I love the challenge. I’ve managed to create music that I want to listen to - and apparently, others appreciate it too!
New Album Release!
I’m proud to announce my first full album release! Comprising 8 tracks from my earliest tentative experimentations with music production, to my latest projects. They’re arranged in reverse chronological order, going all the way back to my first effort Passage in 2015. I’d be the first to admit that I still have a long way to go, and lots to learn on my musical journey. But I’ve grown to love all the little mistakes and production missteps rendered here – each track is nothing if not an honest statement and reflects exactly where I was in life when I produced them. From my first experiments where I had no idea what I was doing (Reverb on all the things! Bazillion plugins on all the channels!) to finding my voice with later tracks, each one has taught me something both about the process itself, and myself.
I listen to them now and am instantly transported back to the moment - all the emotions and thoughts come rushing back, clear as the day I laid the parts down. It’s something inside me I feel I simply have to get out sometimes – whether it’s catharsis, or an expression of joy, music has been the soundtrack to my life and expresses things that I lack the words or eloquence to do so in any other form.
That’s the beauty of music to me – it’s something that brings us together, crosses boundaries and communicates emotions in the purest possible way. It’s an escape, a comforter, source of hope and so much more. I hope that you’ll enjoy listening to my work, and that perhaps it might even become part of your soundtrack too.
- Mark Dastmalchi-Round June 2022
You can purchase the album or listen online at one of the following stores:
Below, you’ll find the original version of my tracks and commentary. The album versions have been cleaned up and re-mastered (as best I could - the source files for some no longer work), but I’ve kept my originals here for posterity. You can click the cover art to open the SoundCloud page, or use the embedded player under each track to play the tracks in your browser.
Flight Of Dreams
This track started off as another cover of an old Amiga tune, but I kind of took it and ran with it… it turned into something completely different and ended up being another statement of what’s been going on in life recently. As my wife puts it, it goes “full Kermit hands” at the end!
There’s also a YouTube visualizer video I made for this track to promote the album.
This was a lot of fun to put together (although it still took 439 days which means my average of 1 track a year is slacking!) There’s still tons of mistakes, things I’d like to do better or just lack the technical ability to pull off at this point. But y’know… I’m really cool with that. I had a blast producing this track and it’s nothing if not a totally honest and very personal reflection on where I’m at in life. And I really like it; I felt I managed to say everything I needed to. Plus it’s my funkiest breakdown yet! There’s a YouTube visualizer video for this one.
Jaleh & Emma
No fancy description or title; this is just my song for my wife and our baby daughter. Kind of my reaction to fatherhood. It’s a bit of a banger at the end :)
Above The Sky
I’m currently working on re-mastering this one, but here’s the original version. It was inspired by a 40th birthday trip watching the sunset above the clouds at La Palma observatory. This was a another reflective song to put together; I never thought things would turn out the way they have, but life has a funny way of showing you where you need to be. This song is again dedicated to my wife Jaleh, for making everything possible.
A rock / metal cover of an old song for the Amiga computer from my childhood! I also made a proper music video for this. The original was called “Jobba” and was written by Pex “Mahoney” Tufvesson. He is a legend in the Amiga scene, and his “Noisetracker” program kick-started my interest in computer-based music. I used to love this track and even made a mixtape back in the day with this on it, so it seemed only fitting to give it the MDR treatment!
I also wrote to Pex letting him know I’d made a tribute to one of his old tracks and we exchanged a few really nice emails. He was also kind enough to include my video in an fascinating talk he gave at a scene conference.
Another instrumental rock/metal/electronic track. Inspired by a dream I had some time ago, and took me somewhere in the region of 5 years to gradually put all the pieces together. It’s an interesting track for me to reflect on, as it was the last track I produced with Cakewalk Sonar (I switched to Cubase right aftwerwards), and was recorded at a real period of transition in my life. When I listen to it now, I definitely recognise the influence all that had on my arrangement and riff choices. I really do love that low 5-string bass riff at the start, too!
Electronic / trance with live bass and guitar. Featuring an epic flute solo from my awesome sister, Spinney Lainey :) Although there are definitely things I’d change about this now, it still remains one of my favourite tracks purely for the memory of making music with my sister. She’s an awesome psy-trance producer and has always been a huge influence and support for me. I love the way her amazing flute solo towards the end kind of pushed me to go for a full-on guitar freakout. I still can’t work out exactly what I was playing then - my hands just did stuff while I observed :)
My first ever tune! Really bad quality, but I always love listening to this to see how far I’ve come. Many years ago now, I wrote a song on my acoustic guitar while I was at University. For some reason, the riff and progression stuck in my head, and throughout the years I revisited the song.
Each time, I noticed it changed to reflect things that were going on in my life at the time - it started off as a sort of grungy tune; it’s been an upbeat crowded-house style jangle strum-a-long, and when things weren’t going so well for me, I picked up my guitar and it came out as a sort of downbeat dirge. A few years ago, it got stuck in my head again so I finally sat down, worked out how to use Cakewalk Sonar and recorded what I hoped would be the definitive version.
Now, looking back on it: It’s not the greatest recording, I couldn’t really play guitar too well and I had a lot to learn about music production: I had never heard of high-passing, for instance. Nor had I ever used FX busses so there’s like 15 reverb plugins all going, but despite it’s earnestness and muddy audio, I still find this track endearing and I can still remember coming up with all those little riffs over the years. Lots of memories.