Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Columbus Ave.

Back in the late 1980s, when Jim and I lived in Pennsylvania, I had just been living for the past year with my friend Deborah Garwood. At Deborah's house, we only listened to reggae and world music. I developed a real fondness for groups like Black Uhuru, and artists like Mutabaruka and Burning Spear. After I met Jim and we moved out to the country, I set up a little rudimentary recording studio with a four-track cassette player/mixer and a boom box, along with a drum machine and a Yamaha DX-7 keyboard.

During that time, through much painstaking effort, I created a number of demos which, today, are almost unlistenable. But the songs themselves are pretty good. Several in particular came from a brief period where I was writing free verse poems and setting them to world beat music. One of my favorites was a song called "Columbus Ave." I even created a character called Steve X, a white boy world beat poet as the "artist" on these songs.

Now that technology has improved and I have a much more versatile set-up, I finally re-recorded "Columbus Ave." and, using sampling techniques, brought the song up to date. Then, today, I culled a bunch of photos off the net and created a music video. The piece itself, which is spoken word (but could never be called "rap" although I borrowed some mixing techniques from hip hop), is about an incident that happened to Deborah and me one Sunday morning in New York City...

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The Steve Show #screamcry

My first show since my surgery. With Blake Zolfo.