Friday, January 27, 2023

Newly Available Evan Johnson Material

Put this on streaming in a separate window and then come back here and read about it:

This is a project that I am just thrilled about. In 2003, my musician friend Evan Johnson made a sprawling 5 disc anthology of the music he had created before he started playing his singer/songwriter material with Karl and I in the mid '90s. I found the discs fascinating, personal, and alternately driving and poignant, like the best instrumental music is.

The CDs he gave me were ripped rather haphazardly from stereo mixes on Digital Audio Tapes and the sound quality was poor. There were dozens of pieces but no titles. Banding of the tracks was left to an automatic machine that was bad at it. I made this kinda insane, definitely compulsive website chronicling these third generation recordings:

The DATs the stereo mixes had been on were lost or reused. The pieces had originally been recorded on a high speed, analog cassette four track, but Evan’s Tascam Porta Two HS had stopped working years before so there was no way to remix or re-transfer these wonderful pieces to the digital realm.

But I left an eBay search notification in place for the phrase "High Speed Tascam Porta Two".

In July 2019 a functional machine showed up on eBay and I won it and started the work of transferring and remixing the first 23 four track tapes. (More were found during a recent move.) I think they sound amazing now and it’s been thrilling to recover these wonderful pieces and hear them as they were originally recorded. They are very clean and bright but still have the warmth of analog tape.

This is the second of what I hope will be many albums from this treasure trove of Evan's compositions. (A long lost live album of the singer/songwriter material came out last year.)