The TX16W was a significant purchase at the time (about $1800), but well worth the price in terms of bang for the buck. Suddenly being able to trigger and play up to 16 samples simultaneously really opened up options in terms of song composition. It was incredibly useful.
In this case, for some odd reason, I didn’t buy another Yamaha product. It makes even less sense, as the Yamaha SPX-90, 900, 1000 multi-effects units were industry standards. Once again it came down to bangs to bucks, at least in terms of the specs on paper. I recall the sales guy at the store telling me that the Yamaha SPX-1000 “gets records made”. For some reason, that bit of rhetoric pissed me off, and I think I may have partially bought the Quadraverb out of spite.
This sequencer looked great on paper, and was a fine example of specs and packaging versus practical application. Not only did it have double the memory of the QX-21, but it also could save the information onto these odd floppy disks called “quick” disks. Also, it just looked like it would be a better device than it turned out to be. Unfortunately, it had fewer editing capabilities, so it seemed to make more sense to synch both machines up and bounce QX-21 data onto the SQD-1. In theory this should have worked, as I’d been able to synch up the QX-21 and multiple drum machines in the past. Not so, however. There was a horrific lag between the devices, and it’s sole purpose turned out to be the completion of “Dare”. After that, I attempted to use it to back up a few ideas onto quick disks, with a 30% chance that they would load up the next time.
I’m not sure, but I might have traded it for a bag of powdered milk.
Martin bought this keyboard pretty much at the same time as I got the TX16W, so I was far too in love with my new sampler to be blown away by it, though at the time, I kind of should have been. Once you figured out how to access all the features, it was essentially an 8 instrument synth module, controller keyboard, drum machine, and sequencer all in one unit. The drum and synth sounds could be reasonably good, particularly if you compared them to my previous Yamaha gear.
One of the first samples I grabbed was from a construction site across the street, which became the intro to ► Progress (1). During this period, I did a few versions of the idea, which had always been known as ► Progress, well before it became a finished song.
In addition to getting the hang of the new equipment and working out a lot of material during the last half of 1989 that never really panned out, the song “Dare” was completed, including one of my first attempts at recording my own vocals. The only major difference between the CD version and the original is that I lacked confidence and experience in terms of singing. The result was that I ended up sounding like I was 14 years old, and not 22. Most of the early vocals I did sounded like I was a prepubescent, grudgingly singing while being poked with a fork.
“Dare” came together very quickly, considering that it was done on the QX21 sequencer (2 MIDI tracks, dinky screen). You really had to be sure about what you were committing to, because there was no ”undo”, and taking out notes could be extremely time consuming. The other issue was that halfway through the song, “Dare” had eaten up too much memory to finish the song. As a solution, I had just bought this horrendous second sequencer called the Korg SQD-1, intending to synch both of them up together and extend my note memory. There was a problem, however, and I ended up having to port the first half of the song to the new sequencer, and then essentially write a second half without really listening to the first half. This sort of explains why halfway through the song, the verse/break/verse formula ends, and it sort of becomes an extended break for the second half. Essentially, the structure was dictated by limitations of the equipment, which was a typical Fourth Man trapping.