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Edward Maniths, from the Detroit Audio Discovery Society (DADS) reported today that an old electronic-music record was unearthed, after digging through dusty old record crates in a now-abandoned (and little known) Motown recording studio in what many people believe to be the 'scariest city in America.'
"Yea, well, thing is... most Motown records were not recorded anywhere near this old building," says Maniths, as he stands outside Beatflip Studio, in downtown Detroit, "yea, I mean... I guess there were an offshoot, trying to compete with the big boys, but their records were a little bizarre for the Motown crowd."
It was true. There were a few heavy-bass tunes that made their way to vinyl, 50 to 60 years ago, as beatniks and underground musicians would pool money together (selling marijuana in downtown basement parties) in what was, once, a thriving Michigan city. Secret underground 1950s bass-music parties were a rare - yet interesting - subculture of the beats.
"Ahh, you found it? Wow! I didn't think any of that one still existed! Ha! Oh my!" reports Chester Burgh, a self-identified, "Bassnik," from the '50s."
"Yea, you know what the hell happened, don't you? Our music was too scary! Even for Detroit! Ha!" said Chester, as he went to grab a cigarette, and I informed him that there was no smoking in our office.
"No smoking in here? Ah," he gave a disgusted look, "see now, that right there is what we were rebelling against. The MAN! You can't tell me not to smoke! I just wanna bass out and listen to some late 50's BASS SHIT and do my thing, ya dig?"
I did not dig, and as he went to light his cigarette a second time, I informed him that I would have to ask him to leave.
"Well, fine, whatever. This party's gotten a lot less hatty then I wanted, anyway. Narc."
I went back to Edward Maniths, who was, compared to Chester, an uptight nerd. A 'square,' to use the parlance of a forgotten time. I wanted to verify that the recording was legitimate.
"Yes, indeed, it's legitimate! There's a picture of some of the prominent poets in the scene," he said, pointing out Kerouac and Ginsberg, and scratched his head at the other members of the photo, adding, "hmm.. you know, I know I should know who these others are, but I guess I'm not really an expert on 1950s culture."
Extremely irritated, disappointed, and at this point, a little hungry, I decided it was time to have a listen to this unearthed gem of a recording. Well.... it was breathtaking, to say the least... Though, in fairness, most of the tracks are hard to listen to, as they are 'too subversive' for me, and likely, for anyone else. Plus, the record is very scratched.
"Well, undoubtedly, this record is the kind of thing that contributed to rave culture in Detroit, a few decades later. I'm guessing there are two or three of these records floating around, to this day...And as for the sounds? Well, there were a few drumboxes at the time, a lot of them just kinda' hacked together by some of the more tech-savvy Beats... They made something that sounds like the TR-808, but long ahead of it's time... Yea, the grime kids, the 2-steppers, the trip-steppers, the hop-hippers, the trappers and the jukers? All those guys basically stole what is on that record there, the one that's just been discovered..." said Chester, sweating.
Chester had followed me home, and was now answering questions I wasn't asking.
"Oh, yea, you know, it was a golden time for underground bass music. Kids would head down to the basement, smoke up, listen to some jazz, then, if shit really got cookin, it'd be time for some BASS! You know? Oh yea, there was a whole scene! There were the Bassboys, the Bassniks, the Bassa Nova, Kody B & the Boys of Bass, uh... 50s-Bassernauts... (that was my group, the 50-Bassernauts - we were so hatty!) and uh, let's see... the track you're listening to? The guy who put that one together - I sold him weed, once. Smart cat. Ugly, though. Jesus, really ugly. You know? Like, like even for a guy from Ohio. He was from Ohio. You know?"
"I'm not sure what you mean by that, Chester. I AM FROM OHIO."
"Right, well, uh, you're one of the good ones, then, you know?"
I slammed my box of Wheaties to the ground (which annoyed me, as I had grown really hungry the last several hours, and wanted nothing more than to eat some fucking Wheaties ) and I showed Chester the door.
He didn't understand my obvious hint, so I began hitting him.
"Woah, mellow out, bro." said Chester.
I did not mellow out, but eventually, Chester left.
I hate Chester. But this is a good recording. Rare 50s bass music. Kinda sounds like something StrangeFlow would do. But... I mean, like, a 50s version of StrangeFlow.. I don't know, that's just the impression I get, personally. Check it out.