Before Gold Teeth Thief and Minesweeper Suite and Uproot and all of that, there was my 1st mixtape, 1 + 1 = 3.
Made in ‘The Toneburst era’ (late 90s Boston), recorded straight to cassette, and sold at our shows, 1 + 1 = 3 is a nice document of what I was up to about 11 years ago (arabic music, hiphop, dancehall, noise, xerox machines)
Wayne & Wax ups an excerpt and a fun interview with me about it. Check it out. He writes, “Even as 1 + 1 = 3 gives a sense of how much he has grown and morphed as a DJ, it still offers some recognizably rupturey maneuvers and seems to prefigure the strange melange of Gold Teeth Thief. Trad middle-eastern sounds meet modern beat science, from slurred boom-bap to minimal dancehall, rollicking jungle to proto-breakcore noise.”
It is strange for me to hear this mix now, in part because I can no longer ID all the tracks! I usually remember what the record artwork looks like, but sometimes the artist/label/track names have escaped me. And in part because my technical reach and narrative pace has expanded since then.
It also makes me think about how our whole way of finding (& mixing) music has changed in the past 10 years or so. When this mixtape came out, in order to get reggae and dancehall I had to trek across Boston’s segregated cityspace out to Blue Hill ave. in Dorchester. Pre MP3 smorgasbord, we would haunt the record shops & tape the radio. Learning paths through music pre-Google, pre-blogosphere, before Ms Internet + Mr MP3 got married and made us all their children.
When interviewers ask me some variation on ‘why Arabic/north African music?’ I tell them that I’ve been listening to it for as long as I can remember (I can only remember as far back as high school: pathetic, I know), that it’s as familiar to me as the other stuff I DJ. Which this excerpt — 9 minutes from the start of side B — illustrates.
And as for Toneburst, it was a Boston-area production crew, including folks like DJ C and myself. “the Toneburst Collective was a loose-knit crew of DJs, electronic musicians, and video-and installation-artists, who together produced approximately 20 large-scale multi-media events in offbeat locations around New England and New York. More carnival than rave or concert, the crew’s productions mixed experimental beats, video, and performance art in unorthodox spaces.”