Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Golden Age

It's summertime and I feel like sharing. I also feel like I've taken advantage of the loyal fans who have downloaded podcasts from the increasingly hassle-prone Podomatic site by discontinuing my weekly uploads. The archives are streamable (for a week) here, but I've had a change of heart and wanted to continue offering a few downloads on the Podomatic site on a semi-regular basis. These will consist of archives, or particularly good/special broadcasts.

Up first is one my all time favourite airchecks.

My 'golden age' at CIUT was 1989-93. I was a young man soaking up all kinds of ideas, experimenting in my own way as I went. In 1990, after a backpacking tour of Europe which consisted of a steady diet of jazz festivals, the jazz content in my programming went way up and my appetite for (viewed almost 20 years on) pathethic 'alternative rock' went way down.

This was the era that forged my current musical tastes. I was very much involved with hip hop and funk/acid jazz/rare grooves in Toronto at the time, as well as reggae, and, increasingly, jazz.

It all comes through in this mix, recorded January 19, 1992.

This hour-long session came about at the tail end of one of CIUT's infamous broadcasts from Lionheart Studio (aka Club Mecca). Lionheart was a rehearsal space/boozecan I've written about before, and has resurfaced in the news of late thanks to the recent revival of Live At The BBQ. DB Hawkes & co. put on live reggae, funk and African bands all night long, and it was some of the most vital community radio you'd ever hear.

I was minding the controls at CIUT with my friend Ron, and had been partying heavily all night long. At about a quarter to five, DB phoned up, and told me that the band on stage was playing its last song - could I fill time until 6AM? I didn't have any records with me - it was still mostly about LPs even in the early 90s - but fortunately CIUT's 20,000 strong record library lay just on the other side of the door to the on air booth.

So I quickly scrambled up some vinyl (I think there is only one CD selection in this mix) and started to play. Feeling like I had nothing to lose, flying by the seat of my pants, I decided to record it.

Since the whole night had been pretty dubby, I decided to rig up the reel-to-reel deck in the on-air booth to create a tape delay loop. Although I've done many dub broadcasts, there was always something special about using the open-reel deck - you had to adjust the tape speed by hand, and from 15 IPS to 71/2 IPS with a toggle. Nothing replaces that action, though my relatively new Kaoss pad has similar appeal.

CIUT's on air board at the time had no faders - it was dials and switches, like Treasure Isle in Jamaica - so it was not dub-friendly. The turntables had no pitch control, so either the selections worked in context, or they didn't. Beat mixing was impossible. Such technical conditions forced me to connect musical dots in different ways.

Those were the days. Be warned, there are two heavily distorted sections.

Here's the podcast. Spot the station id's by Alex Acuna and Henry Rollins, and a tape loop from the Master Plan show...

melting pot - booker t and the mgs (stax)
it should have been you - gwen guthrie (island)
365 is my number - king sunny ade (mango)
the poem - bobby konders feat mutabaruka (desire)
make it funky - john lee hooker (ABC)
back side of the moon - the orb (volume)
looking ahead - booker little (charly)
fire stick - i roy (virgin)
so many years - jah wobble's invaders of the heart (restless)
atomic dog - george clinton (emi)
oh what a feeling - gregory isaacs (mango)
mean green - tone loc feat. def jef (island)
jungle - lee scratch perry & dub syndicate (on-u sound)
north south east west - kool and the gang (de-lite)
what'd I say? - ray charles (atlantic)

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