I’ve been involved in a secret recording project, spearheaded by Chad Watt and Dj Luv. They are both old school mainstays of the Montreal underground. The studio is located on the main floor of Marsonic Studios on the corner of Papino and Quarry, right where the train tracks divide the city in half. The album we are recording is a series of albums set in different musical decades and involving a group of 4-Dimensional beings called The Graffiti People.
Chad Watt, apart from being a recording engineer, is also a visual artist, and the walls of his studio are covered in his trademark graffiti depicting building blocks and maps of imaginary cities. The studio is also his bedroom and living space and when he starts smoking it can get stuffy and suffocating.
Last night, before recording, we warmed up with a short jam. Luv and Davada went crazy on the drums, playing funk breakbeats, while Eric played the bass. When my turn came to sit on the throne, I decided to go cling-clang, at a slow tempo, looking for Sun Ra levels of non-rhythm. Eric played a short bass riff repeatedly, and Luv found new sonority in the cowbell. I can’t remember what Davada played, but it was hypnotizing, noisy, and transcendent.
Cycling through different pre-recorded tracks, Chad settled on an electro-ambient hip-hop beat titled “Agro Gardens”. The format would be a rap song with four rappers, each taking turns to define life as they know it in the suburban slum of Agro Gardens.
I wrote a quick verse, referencing the beauty and desperation of the imaginary Agro Gardens. I couldn’t rap it on-beat, but Chad said he would fix it in post-production by shifting it to match the rhythm. Eric did a spoken-word piece, Davada went crazy with a zany verse, squeezing an innumerable amount of words in less than 30 seconds. Luv was the most poised and collected, flawlessly delivering an 80’s gangsta rap verse reminiscent of Ice-T.
I enjoy the loose way things come together at these recording sessions, although I’m pretty certain not everything is particularly “good”. I’m learning to disregard my own subjectivity. Looking only at the circumstances that made the situation of me being in a recording studio possible is enough to make me think I might be on to something…