After a long trip to Canada and the US and then a brief holiday in Egypt, I realized that I haven't written a proper post about my 2nd album. When a collection of music is organized into a package it always seems like there is the need to explain oneself. What is the purpose of this music?
It is a collection of pieces written over the past 7 or so years, much of it in Canada and then re-worked so to speak, here in Berlin.
In the early nineties I had a very prolific creative streak in 1993 and 1994, one that I'm still trying to live up to today. At that time I was writing music in a completely different way. It was entirely electronic and completely original material.
In 1995 I left the small town I grew up in and went to university in Kitchener Waterloo until I graduated in 1999. From there I moved to Toronto for a year or so and then without specific intent, to the Rocky Mountains.
I had taken a long break from writing music and didn't begin again until a trip to Haiti in '02 where I met a DJ there who gave me a burnt copy of Acid.
At this time I was rediscovering my Hip Hop roots and digging a lot for older records. To my extreme good fortune, Canada's largest used record shop was only an hour's drive from my new home.
We lived in the woods and I immersed myself in Hip Hop culture. I had a subscription to Wax Poetics from the beginning which was hugely inspirational and became addicted to all the classic Hip Hop and Reggae films and later documentaries that began to appear.
In a bus ride that I'll never forget we moved my entire record collection and turntables across Canada. Greyhound. I still can't believe it. About 2000 records, snow tires for the car, clothes, books and photo albums for 5 days under that shit.
I had already been an avid record collector since about 1987 and worked often as a DJ but never for a living until I moved out west. Around '02 I think was when I began to DJ full time. Of course 'full time' in this profession is used loosely. Not only does one only work on the weekends but the jobs come and go faster than I ever anticipated.
Despite my background in Detroit Techno and rave culture in Toronto, I was making a living as a Funk DJ. One of my first residencies was at a real 'start-up' like they call them here in Berlin, at a place called 'La Palette'. I'll never forget the bar tender pouring booze off the balcony into the mouths of people in the queue below.
Being so inspired by Hip Hop it was natural for me to start producing again by experimenting with sampling. I still remember the first sampler I ever used back in maybe 92.. it was an Ensoniq EPS. The first thing I ever wanted to hear looped was the 'Funky Drummer' beat. Could have listened to it all day!
But I digress... shit... what's my point!?
I think I'm getting there... read on if you're so inclined.
I met a very inspirational cat in Canmore who actually lived in my uncle's old cabin which was a strange coincidence to say the least! My uncle used to keep a dog team there and would skin elk in his backyard. But that's a different story. My friend Chris, aka Crabskull, had moved out west from Winnipeg to work on an album. With different styles, record collections and production techniques yet similar mindsets we gathered heaps of knowledge from one another. We began a production crew named Black Meat with another friend and recorded a number of psychedelic, black-operatic depressionist Hip Hop style jams.
I bought a minidisc recorder and was starting to incorporate lots of field recordings into my music. Slowly I began to build an actual studio even with instruments! Imagine! I was always into percussion, piano and guitar and bought instruments accordingly. I was also starting to dig for more oddball records to pull samples from. I named my studio in Harvie Heights, 'Stoney Pharmacy' after the giant wooden sign that dominated our living room from what I imagine was at one time a drug store for the local Stoney Indians.
After recording about five or six full length cassette albums of Hip Hop instrumentals I began to send beats to my childhood friends back in Ontario and around Canada who were now accomplished MCs. I started to put together albums of varied styles solo and with friends. All of this was just for fun of course, and in the meantime I pursued skiing relentlessly in the mountains. Ski touring became one of my favourite activities and a spot I visited many times over was Surprise Pass near Lake Louise. I will never forget my times near Banff - I believe we really lived there the right way and took advantage of the backcountry surrounding the town as much as possible. The town itself, much like a mini-city with all the luxuries of any modern metropolis, indeed operates according to its acronym - 'Be Aware Nothing For Free'.
In 2005, Brena and I got married at my grandmother's cabin in the Yukon and later moved to the west coast, where she was to attend photography school. There started another exciting chapter for me where I met many other like minded people with DOPE record collections. I worked for a while in radio and then at a record shop with my now good buddy Hrdvsion who lives here also in Berlin.
It was in Victoria where I started to dig more towards Disco and Cosmic music, much due to the inspiration of Koosh and St. Christopher who operated the record shop I worked in.
I began a residency at The Mint, a restaurant/bar co-operated by Tyger Dhula of Cobblestone Jazz.
I was playing down- and mostly mid-tempo music of all genres. The 100-115 range seemed like an ignored tempo at the time and it was very interesting finding records from all eras which could fit the night!
I knew very little of the new Techno generation of the '00s. Akufen, Matthew Jonson et al.
I had never been to Mutek or anything. The last big party we went to was the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which in all honesty, felt like the grand finale to the 90s. All my focus in the new decade was going into older records, until I moved to Victoria. About '05-'06, to me, there was finally some new music again that really sounded innovative. I remember specifically being inspired by records from Lindstrom and Prins Thomas and Mark E.
I continued to dig Disco type music and my production began to slowly change accordingly. Actually it was Koosh that suggested I put a 4/4 kick into one of my tunes instead of the traditional Boom Bap. I was also addicted to J Dilla at this time and many of his productions featured the constant kick... it began to feel natural again. A few good friends from Banff who worked at a spot I had been DJing at the past 5 years also made the move coincidently to Victoria. One was Mike Roma, who I had frequent jams with at my home on the ocean on Dallas Road.
After two years in Victoria we returned to Banff proper where I continued producing this 'new' style!
Hahaha! It seems...so basic - but it really was exciting.. and at the best of times, delightfully Cosmic.
I had a Myspace page from about '05 and updated it frequently. I never thought it would reach anyone but eventually I was contacted by Laetitia from Karat and Colin de la Plante (the Mole).
The only person I ever sent music to directly was Mark E. He was working with Jiscomusic at the time and passed some of my music to them. Voila!
And here we are after a reluctant move from mountain to urban paradise. I love Berlin! And I've bought records from here my whole life. I can't wait until I've experienced enough of it to be able to express some thoughts.
A lot of drinking and thinking went into this album.
I hope it represents a bit of the overall process.
Eddie C 2013