Many Worlds Interpretation is a collection of cosmic Americana for electronics, guitar, and percussion culled from Jon Iverson’s extensive home-studio archive.
1984, Los Osos, California. In a small cinderblock cottage, hand-painted with bright psychedelic flora, Jon Iverson created vibrant new worlds. He spent long days and nights immersed in sound, ♣perfecting home recording on his 8-track reel-to-reel, combining his love for kosmische and Berlin School electronics with an infatuation with ethnographic sounds and expansive guitar music. In a duo with fellow sonic traveler Thomas Walters, Iverson released missives from the studio on a self-titled LP released on country legend Guthrie Thomas’ Eagle Records. That release featured three electro-acoustic compositions (“Naningo”, “River Fen”, and “Fox Tales”) as well as a gathering of guitar duo tapestries. Many Worlds Interpretation re-imagines those interplanetary works alongside several unreleased compositions that also feature synthesizer, guitar, and percussion, creating a re-visioned album which leans into Iverson’s electronic studio wizardry.
All songs have been carefully transferred from analog tape to high resolution digital, retaining their vintage studio warmth, but mixed and mastered for modern ears and audio systems. The album is pressed at 45rpm, further enhancing the audiophile experience.
I worked in a Harley Davidson parts warehouse in the summer of 1976 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The goal was to save enough money to buy transportation for college and a Teac 4 track 1/4″ reel to reel tape machine. By September there was a rusting monkey-vomit green car in the driveway and shiny new Teac with a Sony condenser microphone in the bedroom. At this point I had been playing guitar for a dozen years and like most children of the sixties, dreamed of joining a band. Went to college instead to study business.
But all was not lost. 1978-1979 was spent as Weird Al Yankovic’s roommate and we recorded and created enough songs to play shows around San Luis Obispo, California, where we were attending college. Many of those recordings have yet to be heard by the public, including the first performances of My Bologna and many other parodies of pop songs of the day. We sent tapes to Dr. Demento, we auditioned for The Gong Show and were barred from playing at the local college after one memorable performance. Wild times.
I, however, was more intent on working on “serious” music, with albums from Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre providing inspiration. DJing at the local college radio station and then public radio outlet provided exposure to an endless stream of obscure albums (Sky Records from Germany was a particular favourite). Most of them would never make it to the air, but my buddies and I would pass them around like exotic treasure.
Fast forward a couple more years and I had picked up a Mini-Moog and eventually a Prophet V synthesizer as well as starting a collection of instruments from around the world. The Teac and synths formed the basis for a growing DIY studio that had taken over a modest-size garage (pictured on the cover) that had been converted into a two room cottage in Los Osos, California.
The Teac was eventually joined by a rented Otari 1/2″ 8-track and then finally a vintage MCI JH-100 2″ 16-track. The compositions on this album were recorded on these three machines between 1982 and 1989. At some point an Apple II computer with Alpha Syntauri sound card and
keyboard were added and then later the first personal computer sampling hardware/software kit, the Decillionix DX-1. The DX-1 forms the rhythm track for “Fox Tales” and the Alpha Syntauri was programmed to create the pulsing synth for “Naningo”. “River Fen” was tracked with both the Alpha Syntauri and the Prophet V.
I knew this music wasn’t commercial, but didn’t care. It was inspiring working with the first computer-based synths and semi-pro gear. Home studios were still rare in the early 80s until the Tascam Portastudio blew the DIY door wide-open. But I was more interested in sound quality so stuck with reels of tape instead of lower fidelity cassettes.
During the time these songs were recorded, I was also collaborating with my good friend and mandolinist, Tom Walters. “River Fen”, “Naningo” and “Fox Tales”, were solo recordings that also ended up on the first Iverson & Walters album, First Collection. The other four pieces on this new LP were never fully finished or released until now.
— Jon Iverson, September 2022