Craig Anderton got an early start in the world of music: by his 22nd birthday he had recorded three albums, toured most of the USA east of the Mississippi, and played Carnegie Hall.
He began his recording career as a teen-ager in 1967 with the Philadelphia-based group “Mandrake Memorial”–the same year his professional writing career got started by being published in Popular Electronics magazine. Working with producer/engineers such as Tony Bongiovi (who engineered for Jimi Hendrix and now co-owns The Power Station studio), Brooks Arthur (Neil Diamond), and Shel Talmy (Kinks, Who), Craig learned much about recording while composing songs for, and playing guitar and/or synthesizer on, all three Mandrake albums.
He invested the money he made with Mandrake into setting up an electronics lab, which paid many dividends. He was one of the first musicians to use synthesizers on stage, having built his first synth in 1968 and a second, more advanced version in 1969. During that same year he also developed several types of electronic drum sets, capped by the invention of a semi-programmable, all-electronic drum machine in 1970.
During the early 70s he played sessions on both guitar and synthesizer for Epic, Metromedia, Columbia, RCA, United Artists, and other labels, working with R&B/jazz session players such as Airto Moreira, Gordon Edwards, and Cornell Dupree. He has also produced three albums by classical guitarist Linda Cohen, was mixdown/production consultant on Valley in the Clouds by David Arkenstone (which, a year after its release, was still on Billboard’s Top 20 new age chart), and mixed several cuts on Emerald (by Brewer, Tingstad, and Rumbel).
Craig has also done a variety of other musically-related projects, from scoring a rock version of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” to cutting radio spots, to performing as staff synthesist for the avant-garde dance company Group Motion Berlin. He even played a bit part in an Italian detective movie.
After moving to California in the mid-70s, Craig concentrated on building Microsound (a private studio/laboratory) and perfecting a variety of innovative recording techniques and electronic devices. One of these techniques, “synchro-sonic recording,” was presented in a paper to the prestigious Audio Engineering Society and forecast the rise of rhythmically-synchronized dance music, as well as anticipated the technology used to make it possible. Several of his designs have shown up in products from Tascam, Peavey, PAiA, and other manufacturers; they’ve been used by bands such as Boston and the Motels, and individual artists like synth wizard (and ex-Peter Gabriel keyboard player) Larry Fast.
During the mid-70s Craig started writing extensively about music and electronics for a variety of publications including Guitar Player, Byte, Keyboard, Rolling Stone, Musician, Popular Electronics, A/V Video, and Mix. He has also been published in major British, German, French, Belgian, Japanese, Dutch, and Italian publications. Currently he is a regular contributor to Guitar Player, Keyboard, EQ, Pro Sound News, Transoniq Hacker, Professional Songwriter, Sound on Sound (UK), Pro Audio (Netherlands), and Les Cahiers de l’ACME (Belgium).
Craig has written several books, and Music Sales Corporation has published nine of these: Electronic Projects for Musicians, Home Recording for Musicians, Guitar Gadgets, The Digital Delay Handbook, MIDI for Musicians, The Electronic Musician’s Dictionary, The Complete Guide to the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8, Power Sequencing with Master Tracks Pro/Pro 4, and Multieffects for Musicians. Music Sales also published Digital Projects for Musicians, co-authored with Bob Moses and Greg Bartett. Warner Communications published 7 Simple Steps to Buying a Word Processor, and Miller Freeman books published Do It Yourself Projects for Guitarists.. Because of his ability to explain complex concepts in easy-to-understand terms, he has also been commissioned by several manufacturers to write owner’s manuals for some of the industry’s most popular and enduring musical instruments.
From 1974 to 1982, Craig was senior copy writer and musical arranger for a West coast ad agency specializing in computer advertising. In 1980 he became editor of Polyphony magazine, a small publication for electronic music enthusiasts. In 1983 he sold his share of the agency to concentrate exclusively on making, and writing about, music; two years later, he decided that the burgeoning electronic music market was not being adequately served by any existing publications, and was the main force behind transforming Polyphony into Electronic Musician, a more consumer-oriented publication with a wider appeal.
Mix Publications bought Electronic Musician in late 1985, retaining Craig as editor. During his tenure, Electronic Musician’s subscriber base grew from 2,000 to 44,000+ readers, with additional copies sold over the newsstand.
Throughout his career, Craig has also been extremely active as a lecturer, giving seminars on musical electronics at colleges, music stores, and conventions in the USA, Canada, Europe, and South America. Many of his seminars are available on audio or video cassette through NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants.
In the spring of 1989, Craig re-entered the music business as a solo performer with Forward Motion, a “desktop CD” written, recorded, and mixed in his home studio with the help of noted new age keyboardist Spencer Brewer. Released in late August 1989 on the Sona Gaia label (an affiliate of Narada records distributed by MCA), the project has garnered a tremendous amount of interest and positive reviews–even more for the music than for the innovative techniques used in recording that music. As Guitar Player magazine said in the lead review for their August 1989 issue, “an impressively organic sound…once you start listening to what’s going on in this lush, multi-leveled music, you begin to hear that Anderton is truly onto something: You’re drawn in by tasty guitar fills with strange, tantalizing textures and rhythm backing that doesn’t chop or hack. Soothing yet fascinating.” Rolling Stone called it “one of those rare instrumental electronic albums that is not mere New Age tapioca.” Forward Motion has enjoyed airplay on stations across the country; it was also selected for United Airlines’ in-flight entertainment program during May and June 1990, and during 1991 as well.
An interesting side result of Forward Motion is that Ensoniq is now marketing the samples Craig developed for use on that project as part of their “Signature Series” of sound disks for the Ensoniq Performance Sampler. He has also designed sounds for Alesis, DigiTech, E-mu, Northstar, Optical Media, Peavey, Prosonus, and Yamaha, as well as a second Signature Series set for Ensoniq.
Craig stayed on with Electronic Musician for a little over a year after Mix Publications was bought by Act III Communications (TV producer Norman Lear’s media group). He resigned in mid-1990, choosing to instead write articles and books, produce and play on albums, consult to leading manufacturers, lecture on musical electronics, and pursue his musical interests. He is currently Consulting Editor for Guitar Player magazine, Technology Editor for EQ magazine, and a columnist for Keyboard magazine, Pro Audio magazine (Netherlands), and Performing Songwriter.
- Electronic Projects for Musicians, Guitar Player Books/Music Sales, published 1975. Revised and expanded version published in 1981.
- Home Recording for Musicians, Guitar Player Books/Music Sales, published 1978.
- 4/8 Track Studio Logbook, Polyphony Publishing, published 1981.
- Craig Anderton’s Contemporary Keyboard Articles (reprint), Polyphony Publishing, published 1981.
- Guitar Gadgets, Music Sales, published 1983.
- 7 Simple Steps to Buying a Word Processor, Warner Communications, published 1984.
- The Digital Delay Line Handbook, Music Sales, published 1985. Revised version published 1989.
- MIDI For Musicians, Music Sales, published 1986.
- The Electronic Musician’s Dictionary, Music Sales, published 1988.
- The Complete Guide to the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8, Music Sales, published 1989.
- Power Sequencing with Master Tracks Pro/Pro 4, Music Sales, published 1990.
- Digital Project for Musicians, with Bob Moses and Greg Bartlett, published 1994.
- Multieffects for Musicians, Music Sales, published 1995.
- Do It Yourself Projects for Guitarists, Miller Freeman, published 1995.
- NAMM-On-Video, Winter 1984 (Notch Productions)
- NAMM-On-Video, Summer 1984 (Notch Productions)
- MIDI ’87: An Update (NAMM)
- MIDI Basics (Alesis Publishing)
- Understanding the SR-16 Drum Machine (Alesis Publishing)
- Mandrake Memorial, Mandrake Memorial, MGM records
- Medium, Mandrake Memorial, RCA records
- Puzzle, Mandrake Memorial, RCA records
- Leda, Linda Cohen, United Artists records
- Lake of Light, Linda Cohen, United Artists records
- Angel Alley, Linda Cohen, Tomato records (re-released on CD)
- “Love Me Like a Dinosaur,” King Tip Toe, Metromedia Records
- “In Whose Eyes,” Phil Flowers’ United Family, Epic Records
- “All Cried Out,” Walter Jackson, CBS Records
- Proteus I Demo Tape, for PAiA Electronics
- Roctave Divider Demo Tape, for PAiA Electronics
- Echo/Digital Recorder Demo Tape, for Imaginearing Audio
- ADM 4096 Delay Line Demo Tape, for DeltaLab Research
- IPS-33 Demo Tape, for DOD Electronics
- Soundsheet in the W issue of Op magazine
- Soundsheet in the March 1985 issue of Guitar Player magazine
- Soundsheet in the May 1985 issue of Keyboard magazine
- Emerald, Brewer/Rumbel/Tingstad, Narada/MCA Records
- Valley in the Clouds, David Arkenstone, Narada/Mystique Records
- Portraits, Spencer Brewer, Narada/MCA Records (as arranger)
- Forward Motion, Sona Gaia/MCA Records