Saturday, August 25, 2007

Music knows it is and always will, Be one of the things that life just won't quit


On a fairly major street in L.A., near a fairly major intersection, in a very colorful part of town, sits a non-descript grayish-green Deco-style building. It has a security gate (surprise! in this city), and an adjacent fenced and gated parking lot.

I have spent many hours in this building, repairing equipment, and assembling the complex and complicated wiring for a custom remote recording truck for the owner, Stevland Morris.

And for the first time since sometime in the '90s, I was back there today.

Stevie is a really great guy; smart, innovative, and always wanting to try new ideas. He was one of the first in L.A. to embrace digital recording back in the early '80s, and has always kept abreast of technology and innovation. No moss growing on Stevie, that's for sure.

The first digital multitrack recorder was built by 3M. Coming out of their previous incarnation, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M-get it?), they had transcended their Scotch Tape roots and had been manufacturing analog recording tape for many years. In the mid '70s, as digital recording was being discussed and determined, 3M, who had already been making pretty successful analog multitrack machines, decided to innovate with a multitrack digital recorder.

Here is their M79 24 track analog tape machine:


Stevie jumped on the digital bandwagon early, and bought a couple of the 3M digital machines. Much of his work throughout the '80s was recorded on these machines, which, sadly, are now not working.

Hence, my trip to Wonderland. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to make the 3M digital tape machine whole again, so Stevie can transfer material he has in that format to alternative media. I accept the challenge.

More about this project later, as it develops. In the meantime, listen to Stevie: