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The Making of "Digital Flavor on the Sonic Frontier"

The JeepJazz Project LP was conceived and recorded during the summer and fall of 1995. I had just completed the Bass Is Base record and set up Sound Doctor, my own studio, inside Sound On Sound on 45th Street in Manhattan. For several years I had kicked around the idea of doing some instrumental hiphop. In the 60's and 70's, there always seemed to be a couple of good instrumentals on the radio. My creative juices were flowing and I had some time to invest. My inspiration was Booker T. and the MG's meets hiphop. 

About the same time I got word that Lady Kier from De-Lite was doing a solo record and looking for trip-hop ala Portishead and Tricky. "Mad Sax", "Brothers and Sisters" and "That's Fat" were actually started for her project. Eventually she changed her mind and wanted Jungle tracks, so I kept working and they became the beginning of the JeepJazz Project LP. Most of these were written with my good friend, De Harris, a talented musician and producer in his own right. I met De while I was a writer at Warner-Chappell Music here in New York. He is British, also a guitarist and we're very simpatico musically. We would get together and start a track from scratch.

 Sometimes we would begin with a beat and build on that. Other times a manipulated sample would inspire us. The drums were sequenced and quantized and certain sounds were placed and looped. When we wanted live feeling elements, we locked the sequencer to the 16-track and recorded guitars and keyboards. I've got an old Wurlitzer and a Rhodes and they don't have MIDI plugs! I played them live but we sampled and looped them sometimes as well. Being able to jam with the track and then go back and pick out little pieces to sample and manipulate is how I like to work. 

Combining the live energy with the looped vibe was what I was after. I kept the raw live tracks and in the mix used bits of looped playing and them together. This creates a loose, live feel over the top of the crusty, dusted hiphop drums. An interesting trick I learned from De, was manipulating the filters in the S-950 to get really bizarre pad-like background sounds. You start with some bright string or vocal loop and filter it down under EDIT PROGRAM on page 6. Then you go to EDIT PROGRAM on page 9, the VCF, and fool with the ADSR and amount settings until you hear what you like. It's a cool way to get something different percolating in the background! 

I didn't have the S-3000 at that time. It's way clean and I primarily use it for flying vocals around. It is great once you do have a really funked up noise though, because unlike the S-950, it's individual outputs are polyphonic and can play chords. All the MIDI stuff was running virtual when I did this LP and it would've come in handy for that. My clavinet is so old, it makes all this mechanical noise when I play it. So I load a sample of it into the S-3000 and I'm back in business and MIDI-able. 

Likewise, the Roland Jupiter 6 is only MIDI on channel 1, and not multi- timbral, so it's another candidate for this S-3000 approach. During the recording of the JeepJazz Project LP, my goal was to create a sound that had the power and edge of hiphop on the bottom with a bit more organization and musicality on top. These tracks are atmospheric and groove oriented ala 90's hiphop and musically related to the sounds of 70's soul. Initially I thought about using rappers or vocalists but decided against it because it made things too obvious. I wanted to leave room for the listener to "fill in the blanks". I had a blast making this record. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening.

  

 

     
     
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E-Mail: jeepjazz@hotmail.com
JeepJazz Music
8 Graham Terrace
Montclair, NJ 07042
973-222-5737

2013 JeepJazz Music 

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