Why is this work called Mike Monitor?
Mike Monitor refers to a period in which Alex Ruis developed musical thoughts that form the basis for his current music. While composing Syntunes, he thought of Mike Monitor’s principles: 100% synmelodic, which this piece almost entirely complies with. He also discovered that four tunes from the Mike Monitor period can easily be incorporated into the harmony of Syntunes. This gave rise to the different perspectives or variations on Syntunes.
Technically, these variations are character variations in which the harmonic scheme, key, and measure remain the same each time. In terms of content, they are different perspectives on many aspects of Mike Monitor's existence. Though the meaning of the pieces cannot be translated in practical languages, one can say that there is a - not exact - match with the astrological system of 'houses' or 'sectors'. One can tell that by the titles of the pieces. As in the system, the meaning of the music is bordered by the symbolic meaning of the corresponding sectors.
Syntunes are pieces of music that largely consist of simultaneously performed tunes or melodies. These are attuned to each other in such a way that they chord together and thus form the whole harmony. You should avoid accompaniment and mutual imitation between the tunes. These thoughts and especially the why are the most important ones that Mike Monitor has produced.
Just as the perspectives 3, 7 en 9 this piece is based on motives from the period 1978-1983. Mike Monitor liked to play rolls on the guitar. The playing in measures 3 and 41 reminds one of that.
Many musicians encountered the difficulty of acquiring really satisfying musical instruments. Mike Monitor was among them.
Mike Monitor played together with different musicians hoping to find a band for his musical thoughts. Just as the perspectives 1, 7 en 9 this piece is based on motives from the period 1978-1983. It is a phantasy about two guitarists and a bass guitarist.
Mike Monitor’s home was not like this rather idealised piece suggests, but favourable enough for development in many fields.
According to Mike Monitor, life was not a party for many people.
All kinds of jobs keep musicians away from making music, particularly from composing. A rather cynical piece.
If all kinds of jobs keep you away from making music, particularly from composing, it feels great when you finally find a hole! Just as the perspectives 1, 3 en 9 this piece is based on motives from the period 1978-1983.
In 1985 Mike Monitor ceased to exist as his stage name, which he found less appropriate to the music he had in mind. Transformation is about this transition to another life. His musical principles of making contrapuntal music eventually took precedence over connecting with groups.
To keep his music alive Mike Monitor believed, that it may at best consist of highly independent synchronous tunes. Just as the perspectives 1, 3 en 7 this piece is based on motives from the period 1978-1983.
Mike Monitor believed that music consisting of highly independent synchronous tunes leads to a balanced sense of proportion in the listener. In the end, it leads to composure.
The conclusion might be that Mike Monitor’s principles live on in the music that he currently makes. But he wouldn’t live up to his name, if the player does not have the freedom to judge otherwise. Because the piece ends with the pointer: “End or reprise”.
Mike Monitor was his aspirated stage name from about 1977 to 1985.
How exactly the name came about is unknown. He regularly made recordings of a local rock band in that period. During rehearsals all kinds of people came to listen to it from time to time. It was often relaxed and cheerful. At one of those rehearsals someone probably asked who he was. He would have answered: “Mike Monitor, nice to meet you!”
Then he thought that if he would start his own band, he would call it Mike Monitor Band. The most successful bands, don't they often have peculiar names?
The piano performance is closest to how he plays these perspectives himself. The orchestral version comes closest to his current sound ideal, while the band version (Original Sounds) is a reconstruction of his sound ideal from his Mike Monitor period.