FUTURISTIC and ahead of its time, the music that now sounds faintly reminiscent of Kraftwerk and the Human League is in fact based on songs Gerard Ryan wrote as a teenager in Ardscoil Ris in the early 80s.
Instead of being released by the Monaleen teen, the songs lay dormant on a shelf - until he went to New York in his professional capacity of visiting professor at Cornell in 2013.
The marketing professor - based at the University of Rovira & Virgili in Spain - has just released a vinyl LP drawing on the songs on a prominent re-issue label in the US, using the moniker Le Cliché. The album is called Consumer Behaviour.
“I saw an ad for a new compilation of bedroom demos that were recorded in the 80s. So I found the tape, dusted it off, transferred one of the songs onto MP3 and sent it off, thinking I would never hear anything back,” explained Ger, who hails originally from Caherdavin and left Ardscoil for UCC in 1988, giving up his love for music for academia.
“I was delighted when my song was chosen for Bedroom Cassette Masters and this encouraged me to start thinking about making music again,” he added.
Gerard’s re-engagement with music coincided with a revival in interest in analogue and modular synthesizers and he quickly got involved in the scene.
“I started writing music again and recording it at home and I put a few songs on Soundcloud,” he said. “One of the executives from Medical Records in Seattle heard my music and contacted me asking if I had any more songs. I couldn’t use the tape from 1984 because the sound quality is really poor. So I re-recorded one of the songs from the tape and put it on the new record.
“It is funny to think that a song I recorded in my bedroom in Monaleen with a couple of Casio keyboards and a double-tape recorder ended up on a vinyl record released 30 years later.”
The resulting record is, he says, a concept album about marketing and consumer behaviour.
“When I started writing music again I had no idea what I should write about. Somehow I wanted it to fit in with the whole new wave synth genre. The first thing that came to my mind was to write a song about my PhD research.
“I examined how people behave when they’re forced to wait while shopping online - filling out endless forms to register with websites, waiting for confirmation emails, waiting for slow websites to download. So I wrote a song, more than anything as a joke, about waiting on the internet.”
The album also has songs about computer interaction, customer satisfaction and more, but Gerard has yet to tell many of his colleagues about the record. He has, however had offers to make another album and work on music by other artists, but isn’t sure about playing live.
“Academia in Spain is still quite an old-school setup, so I’m not sure how they would take to a marketing lecturer making a pop album,” he laughed. “I’ve got no definitive plans to play live just yet. I’m still working out how I might do that and not embarrass myself too much!”