It's here ! the 30 year time mark of my studio. Where I started making and recording sounds in Dec '79.
Well, even in the best and most memorable of times, things seemed fairly drab and matter of fact. My guess is all the "golden" eras were a good bit more tarnished, for those who lived them.
Me, with John Zorn cover in hand. Sonic Youth’s Death Valley ’69 pokin out in the back
30 seems like one of those unfathomably big numbers for the
anniversary of my recording music, in one location.
I’ll try to stay
clear from any “what a long strange trip it’s been” type stuff. I feel I
mainly want to make a mundane commentary about life – a commentary
about the basic, mundanity of life.
Thankfully plenty of people, including me, can view my 30 years
through rose colored glasses. But there was the mind-numbing boringness
in between the standout records, and in fact sometimes *during* the
standout records. The overwhelming magic was really there 1.5% of the
time. An analogy would be touring, which I’ve done more of lately, and
thankfully. You play 45min’s sets, of which 1 in 5 is magical, and then
it’s welcome back to the nothing-to-somewhat-something, of moment to
moment life. I don’t want to be a big stick-in-the-mud and ungrateful
sour puss, but I look back on -let me take a stab here- 5 or 6 very
ground breaking records, and maybe 40 moderately so, and what I remember
is that even the scenes surrounding the music, were much more
underwhelming than the collective memory seems to make them.
When I was very young -barely over 20- what seemed most exciting,
was that my immediate peers and I were seemingly doing something
important. The broader scene (downtown New York in the 80′s/No Wave/post
punk) seemed 88% mediocre and tiresome. But I am very happy that that
era in New York has taken on a golden mantle. I’m grateful for some
people’s rose-colored view of that era, cause it has slightly enhanced
my own memory. It’s like when you show a visitor around town, and
everything feels more interesting cause you share their viewpoint.
One main thing I can say is that these 30 years seem to encompass a
golden era in independent recording – from when it started to be more
affordable and democratic, to now, when recording is extremely
accessible and common, and concerns about quality are at a minimum
Speaking of rose-colored glasses. Tom Antona from Alice Donut (a
band I first recorded 17 years ago), wove a tale from stage the other
night of fishing with me (“a young Martin Bisi”) back in the day, at a
polluted canal near the studio, and how we’d catch “magical”, mutant
fish with mutant butterflies flying around us – not exactly how I
remember it, but a version I’d like to hang onto
Well, if you want to stroll down memory lane with me, you can watch
this video of when I took all the records down from the studio wall
recently. The reasons for me doing it are complex, but I place each
cover in a basket and “reminisce”. They include indie stuff like Sonic
Youth, Swans and Dresden Dolls, avant garde and World like John Zorn and
Bill Laswell, and more mainstream records like Ramones, Iggy Pop and
This is part 1 of 5, but you can easily find the other