Travis Pieces of Mind cover

 

Travis Charbeneau started playing guitar in 1962 at the age of 17 and has worked in music ever since. Early experience included garage bands of every description and several road bands working out of Miami, up the Florida Coast, into Atlanta, New York, Detroit and points in between. Travis wrote, sang, and played lead guitar in these groups, and he did a good deal of solo and duo work when the bands were off.

He began freelancing in 1973 as an engineer and commercial producer at a number of Miami recording studios, among them Linale Sound, Visual Productions, Tel-Air Interests and Criteria.

In 1980 Charbeneau contracted severe arthritis which put an end to his guitar playing. He now has surgical fusions in all fingers. Happily, by 1986, computers, synths and MIDI had appeared in his life. His home MIDI studio eventually included a PC running good old Sequencer Plus and, by 1998, Digital Orchestrator Pro software - both by Voyetra Technologies (he was a beta tester for these programs), as well as sound generating and digital processing gear from Roland, Yamaha, E-mu, Casio, ART, the usual suspects, all sequenced "live" by the computer and recorded direct to tape or hard disk.

This work is characterized by short "songs" in eclectic genres: ballad, space rock, jazz, blues, classical, Latin. He eventually developed a specialty in hard rock instrumentals, showcased in the two "MetalSynth" collections. In 2000 he finished a compilation CD, "Pieces of Mind," featuring 22 tracks from seven albums produced between 1986-93. Combined, these run the gamut , with the rockers featuring his own synth programming and guitar simulation and sequencing techniques.

In addition to receiving repeated airplay on Richmond's WCVE-FM (NPR), his Jeff Beck-ish "Fanfare for the Common Putz" climaxed "Future Radio," a nationally- syndicated radio hour of indie music. Additionally, Voyetra Technologies featured two "MetalSynth" cuts, plus Charbeneau's writing, production and narration on an audio cassette demo of their music software.

In 1993, Charbeneau acquired a lap steel guitar his grandfather had originally made in 1957 from a piece of Hawaiian "Monkey Pod" wood, and he taught himself this "look, ma, no hands!" instrument (see (Information About zee Artiste) at the "Man of Steel" page). Accordingly, his most recent work integrates digitally-recorded lap steel over sequenced MIDI  backing. In 2003 Charbeneau began working up some of the lap steel compositions he'd pulled together over the previous several years. "Man of Steel" is the result, with a variety of cuts, like "Pieces of Mind," posted on this site as MP3s.

Comments:

"... fine work ... the new material sounds as good as ever ... I like it. Keep up the interesting stuff." — Larry Fast, synth pioneer ("Synergy"), synth sideman for Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, many others; chief of Synergy Electronic Music, Gillette, NJ.

"Drama, driving solos ..." — Titus Levi, Discoveries, Keyboard Magazine, August, 1993

"Powerfully driven and tightly arranged into a fusion of guitar soloing with driving keyboard accompaniment." — Titus Levi, Discoveries, Keyboard Magazine, March, 1995

"Great sampled fuzz guitar that could easily induce acid flashbacks." — Karen Gunderson, Missing Link Music

"... heavy rock/space music songs that are priceless ... show what depth of feeling can be achieved through computers." — Jerrold Rabushka, Inside News of St. Louis

"... fascinating amount of `human feel'... you'll really like this." — Yung Dragen, Music Technology

"... plays and composes with the taste [of] Beck and Satriani, though he is derivative of neither ... a clean and personal aesthetic. Recommended." — Marc Tucker, Camera Obscura, Manhattan Beach, CA.

Charbeneau's music journalism outings include articles for Keyboard Magazine, Music Technology (US and UK), World Monitor, Option, Copley News Service, and The Futurist, The Journal of the World Future Society. In July of 1989 he gave a presentation to the Sixth General Assembly of the Society in Washington, DC: "Towards a New Folk Music; the Computer Revolution in Music."

 

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