Chapter 2: Past lives - Crossing the digital divide

Chico says ...
This blog post for me will be a video blog. I think it apropos because of the title "Crossing the Digital Divide.

Music transcends time, space and distance, it brings us closer and can define many aspects about us. It informs our lives and our lives informs our music and our musical choices, after all life is a series of choices.

Chico Freeman

Jan writes ...
I have always been utterly fascinated with the world wide web - for me it's a grid connecting humanity.

Back in the 80s when the idea of home computers and music software was still finding it's digital feet I designed in my mind the kind of software I wanted to be developed. In 1990 I read a review in Keyboard magazine of Creator/Notator and there it was! I bought an Atari ST and began my love affair with computers as a way of translating my thoughts into music. It was like magic living in the midst of nature, feeling the vibrations of the earth and the pull of the moon running parallel with the hum of the electricity and being at one with technology - I was well and truly grounded!

There was only one thing missing - communication across the wires and so began a journey through Cups and Modems, IDSN and then at last Cable. The 90s was a heady time as the world gradually got opened up with the web. HTML became a second language and as various formats were developed including the ubiquitous and, at the time, controversial MP3 compression it seemed like the punk revolution all over again but this time in a digital format.

By the time 2000 arrived I was in Midem getting chased around with offers of silly
money for my on line CD store platform 'Collecting Dust' whilst the major labels and publishers were trying to stamp out mp3 instead of embracing it. No wonder a computer company ended up effectively running the music business! Oh that my business acumen was as good as my creativity!

As my love affair with Ataris (can you imagine a computer with a midi port?) gave way to Apple Macs I started beta testing for the Logic Rocket network. I thought I was living on the Star Ship Enterprise . .  to be able to write with people all over the world with their input arriving directly into the programme you were working on was just so exciting. Opening the chat window to write lyrics and communicate at the same time - it sounds mundane today but back then it was just mind boggling and the closest to mind melding there is because there were no other distractions . . . no Skype in those days!

And so one evening I was on line visiting one of the Logic virtual studios and my online friend Hanno in Italy told me that Chico Freeman was in one of the studios. Never being one to miss a musical opportunity I went in and became part of the session, uploading a Rhodes solo and chordal idea. Chico complimented the Rhodes piano sound and we started chatting and kept in touch and eventually it turned into a full blown writing partnership.

Later we met off line, in New York. We had crossed the digital divide and begun the journey into exploring and mixing musical styles and words that beat from the musical heart.

Jan Pulsford

1 comment:

  1. Icoja means ladder to the sky - it is the name of the ASCAP publishing company Chico Freeman and I formed.