An Oberon-based musician, composer and theater maker has had some of his treasured compositions remastered from tape thanks to a longtime Bathurst sound engineer.
Martin Raphael spent a lot of time creating music and theater in the entertainment industry from the 1970s to the 1990s, which brought him into contact with Marc Hunter, the late singer of the co-founder of Dragon and King Crimson, Michael Giles.
Raphael came to Bathurst sound engineer Tim Roebuck in late 2020, looking to convert cassette tape audio of his recorded works to digital files and CDs.
The resulting work Better late than never, is a retrospective of Raphaël’s compositions throughout his career, ranging from electronic soundscapes to new wave pop, with hints of vaudevillian madness.
One of the songs, “Chances,” was co-written with Hunter, and Raphael said the pair met while the singer was on a break from Dragon.
“I met him through a friend of a friend, and we wrote a lot of music together in the late 70s and early 80s,” he said.
“‘Chances’ was originally conceived by Richard Lush, who worked with the Beatles in their later years, and Marc wanted me to write him a great ballad similar to Dusty Springfield’s work; there was more than rock and roll.”
Raphael said the key aspect that emerges from Better late than never is the pure variety of music.
“For some people it might be a bewildering array of mixed genres, but for me the songs tangle together in a unique and elaborate weave of everything I’ve tried musically,” he said.
‘What’s His Name?’, another track on the disc, recounts Raphael’s time working as a light operator at the Pink Panther nightclub in Kings Cross, and how he met a gay man who performed there regularly.
“The timing adds up. This man didn’t show up for work one day and he was never seen again,” he said.
Mr. Roebuck said the remastering process was unlike anything he had attempted before from a production standpoint.
“When you digitally convert an audio tape, you’re pretty limited by the medium. Time hasn’t been kind to tapes,” he said.
“We made many changes to the tracks and added new parts to others, and I think the final product is a pretty meaningful document of Martin’s journey as a songwriter.”