Posts Tagged ‘optical the visionary


My Resolution

The average urban music career is one and a half albums. The average attention span of a modern music enthusiast is about a second and a half. Add these two things together and it is easy to see why so many of the artists I work with have no idea that I was one of them not so long ago. In fact, they would be fortunate to have a career where they made the money my crew and I earned, sold the records we sold, toured the places we toured and broke the ground that we broke. We had videos before there was a Youtube. We were featured in The Source and scores of magazines that have been gone so long one probably hasn’t heard of them either. We were on WPGC when we were in high school.  Our records charted on CMJ and Rap Attack for a decade. Much of our music was available online; in the sense that one could order it from an online record store on vinyl, cd or cassette. (Side note: In 1999, I signed an online distribution deal with a company called CDuctive. We received a $2000 advance for the rights to distribute our catalog. That company was later aquired and then they were aquired until one day, they became The Orchard.)

If you’ve never heard of my crew and our work, I don’t take it personally. A hip hop generation spans about 3 or 4 years. That generation is usually only aware of the generation that immediately preceeded their own, and the one that follows. With the exception of my “Mister Wise Album” which came out in 2010, all of my records as an artist were released independently between 1996 and 2004. Only the few scholars of the current generation know about the Depth Charge label, the Lower Life Forms and the Team Demolition projects (but I digress at the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney.)

Fortunately, there are many from in and around my generation who do remember.  It is the demand of these individuals that drive up the price of our early out of print vinyl and who post our old music on web sites that are designed to spotlight the works of an underground era.  It is these people who have sent me a number of requests to make available our old catalog and unreleased tracks.  And it is in part, them who have inspired to make my New Year’s resolution to do so.

My company only released a dozen or so 12 inch singles and a half a dozen albums in our history.  However, that represents just a small fraction of the material we produced and recorded.  In the early 90s, we recorded our music on 4 Track tape.  I still have the working machine and all 62 tapes which contain more than 250 songs, (most of which never made it to market.) I also have more than 85 sets of ADAT tapes containing our music that was recorded between 1995 and 2003.  We are still cataloging these, but I estimate there are 300-350 songs on those tapes.  I am personally going to be spending my spare time dumping and archiving all of these tracks from both of these formats to hard drives over the next several months.  From there, I will restore, re-mix and re-master all that I find redeemable, and make as many of them available as I can.  I also have plans to take some of this material and re-work it.  (Vocals placed over new music, lost beats remade or completely remixed etc.)

When all is said and done, I believe those who do hear this anthology of sorts will enjoy the creativity, passion, unique ideals and honest artistry my crew represented.  If a youngster wants to have a listen, have at it, but I’m not doing this for them.  I’m doing this for myself.  The digital age allows me to preserve for both posterity and enjoyment, that which was the central focus of my life for a dozen years.  Doing so allows me to truly close that chapter of my life, and have a ton of fun in the process.

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