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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The New Sound and A Bit of History

We're always looking for it, sometimes we find it, sometimes it finds us.

In Barcelona, where I live, The Sound is minimal techno or simply minimal as it is known here. I haven't found a part of that music that moves me yet, but the immersion in a very electronic-oriented place has left its mark on me. I still love the jazz, funk, hip-hop, deep house and myriad other genres I was associated with previously and in the proper contexts still play them, but I feel that if one is not influenced by one's surroundings something is very wrong. As for this new sound, think of it as 21st Century Soul, I call it Soul Tech.

Download Soul Tech

...A Bit Of History

When I started, acid-jazz was just getting its footing in the USA, acid-house was making itself known to people who weren't the hipper-than-thou clubbers and underground ravers, mainstream hip-hop wasn't about shooting folks or getting shot, and a few genres that would be very important to me didn't quite exist yet (namely, jungle/drum & bass, 2-step/UK garage and broken-beat.)

Although I was playing pretty varied stuff then, I'd say my sound (i.e., what I played mostly because I liked it) was late 70s/early 80s funk. Specifically, I tended to prefer tracks with synthesizer bass, but live drums, generally made by jazz musicians (e.g., George Duke, Lenny White.) For me, it was just a wing of what was beginning to be known as rare groove in the acid-jazz world and was known as original breaks (or just breaks) in the hip-hop world. I found out many years later, many UK broken-beat and soulful house producers liked the same stuff and called it by its English name, boogie.

The thing I really enjoyed about acid-jazz when I became a bona-fide member of the scene is that eventually I realized that rather than being a genre, acid-jazz was really more of an approach to music which allowed me to play anything I wanted. This was a wonderful thing as I could get away with playing funk/rare-groove, hip-hop, latin/world music, house, drum & bass and all sorts of styles without proper names at the same gig or even in a short set! I was greatly saddened when I and other acid-jazz veterans had to abandon the term once it lost association with dance floors around the beginning of the 21st Century.

Fortunately, at that time I was playing another style I was excited about. In addition to having musical elements I enjoyed, this sound also had a real potential to become popular (there were a few huge hits in the UK)--2-step/UK garage. Unfortunately, the next year (2oo1) the biggest group in that scene split up (i.e., Artful Dodger--Mark Hill kept the name and productions, Pete Deveraux went into radio.) Also that year was an incident in NYC that changed a lot of things (mostly for the worse): September 11. I do have to say that I benefitted from the fact that no-one wanted to fly after that horrible day; because the prices fell thru the floor, I flew more in the following 9 months than I had in the previous 9 years. The 2-step event I was putting on with a few partners was lucky enough to score Mark Hill as a guest DJ on his tour of the states and play a gig with him in NYC later that week. My trip with my DJ partners to NYC made me feel like a rock star, we got so much love from the crowds!

2002 we were booked to play in Miami for Winter Music Conference and while the 2-step scene was really dying in the states (dubstep is the only element remaining) I was treated to a bit of the next big thing on my musical horizon: broken-beat and Bugz In The Attic. Broken-Beat turned out to be the new acid-jazz for me -- something vaguely defined enough that once again I could play whatever I wanted, but this time the music was more uptempo. Bugz In The Attic was the collective that really lit the way for me, most of my favorite producers were either in the crew or associated with it (ex: Daz-I-Kue--Bug member; Phil Asher--Bug family.) That sound held me in thrall until my move to Barcelona.


  1. I like it. I love how you flow through the music that flows through you.

  2. Nice...the first portion of the song reminds me of what they were playing when I was in Manattan(NY) in September...

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY T !!! (tomorrow 27th)

  3. Yes!! Always coming with the gems!

    Happy B'day my friend and many more! Congrats on everything, truly well deserved!

    PS: Guess who's opening 4 SLY at Zanzibar this sunday..

  4. Happy Birthday! Super cute picture of you two!
    - Trina

  5. Wishing you a happy & healthy birthday & (new) year, m'man. Hope to catch up soon.

  6. Happiest of Birthdays, fellow December baby! I just turned the big 5-0 on Dec 5....drove a NASCAR, saw AC/DC at The Forum, saw my favorite tribute band, Led Zepagain, went to a comedy club (not all in the same day), and still catching up on rain check lunches & dinners...hope yours is just as awesome, if not moreso!
    Best regards,
    Wendy J (now playing drums for a metal cover band)

  7. Hey Mr. T enjoy your b-day as well as any other day of your life. Wishing you the best -
    The Hervitz family and the rest of the holidays

  8. happy b-day dog!!! how does it feel to hit the big 30!!!! hope all is well with u!!! happy holidays, man you are turly a family man with the card and all!!! lol!!! congrats dog!!!!

  9. Thanks for the kickin mix mate, is exactly what i was looking for to help heal some break-up wounds. Good to see us 30+ year olds can still appreciate good tunes eh ;)