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    Posted: October 30 2012 at 13:41
Nov 04, 2012 Calgary AB: Tona W. Ohama (known as "Ohama") has recreated Jethro Tull's epic 1972 album "Thick As a Brick" using mono-synths and a drum machine (and a few other toys such as a Crumar String machine and a Mellotron). This monumental work took 33 weeks (Jan. 4, 2012- Aug. 22, 2012) to record, mix and master.

These are the complete album liner notes from the newly released album "Thick As a Brick: the Synth Edition". Limited edition 444 copies CD hand numbered, dated and signed by the artist. Also available for download (CD Baby and iTunes only).


This is my tribute to all the progressive rock of my youth, to the 8-bit audio of the NES generation, to the soft synths of the new millennium and to the now-retro synths I’ve used throughout my career. 

“Thick as A Brick” has a very special place in my heart and in my life. It was the first album I discovered on my own. Never heard it on the radio or television, it didn't belong to my older sister, it wasn't recommended to me by someone at school...

I vividly remember holding it in the store and honestly, I bought it because I simply liked the cover. We used to do that - buy records because we found the cover interesting. I also recall being so surprised when it folded out into a newspaper. I was 12 years old, and when I put it on the small turntable in my bedroom, it blew my mind. I had never heard anything like it before. 

You know, it’s been a very long time since I tried learning someone else’s music. This project brought back memories of playing in bar bands learning cover songs. Visions of spinning vinyl slowly by hand to try to figure out the notes...the joy of finally figuring out “oh! that’s what they played there...”

The toughest part for me was definitely the vocals. I tried many (many!) variations, but in the end the only way to sing TAAB is to try to sing it as closely to the original as possible. I have gained an even greater respect for Ian Anderson and what he does/did with his voice. I don’t mind saying that this was freaking hard for me to sing. 

And if you ever want to know a piece of music intimately, all you have to do is try to play it. I’ve heard “Thick As A Brick” countless times, but trying to play it is a whole other world. I’ve also gained an even greater respect for what Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, Martin Barre, John Evan, and Barriemore Barlow did back in the day. 

Now that it’s finally finished, I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed creating it. 

Although throughout this project I admit I had one recurring thought: “What the #$*& was I thinking? This is crazy”! Well, it’s a crazy album.

A very sincere “thank you” to Adam Bodkin for generously granting me permission to use his MIDI file from the 90s as the basis for this recording. 

Extra special thanks to Mia Blackwell, Heinz Dyck, Brenda Fox, Johannes Halbertsma, Fernando Longhi, Alex Netelenbos, Carl Spencer, Thomas Szirmay and Michelle Trudgeon.

Respect. To Tull. To You. To All.
Tona Ohama Sept 15, 2012

Recorded between Jan. 4, 2012 and Aug. 22, 2012  at S/S Studios with Native Instruments Battery 3.0.4, one non-percussion sample, one Crumar string machine, a Mellotron, and a plethora of sweaters, er, synthesizers recorded on Mark of the Unicorn Digital Performer 7.24, using a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro 8 GB rendered out to 48 tracks at 24-bit 96 kHz to Cubase LE on a 1.8 GHz PowerPC Mac G5 and lightly mixed using stock Cubase EQ, compression, and reverb effects then run through a Grant Audio Tube DAC-11 before being mastered by Jamey Harrow at HB Media and manufactured by Canada Disc & Tape Inc. individually signed and packaged by hand.

“Thick As A Brick” was originally written by Ian Anderson and published by Chrysalis Music in 1972

Fun fact! The vocals were recorded low-tech in a very noisy environment. If you listen closely at the end you can hear the traffic outside the window
"The more I analyze the human race, the more I love my dog" Mme de Stael
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