Thursday, March 04, 2004

once again fallen behind on the blogger, though NOW, while i've finally got a bit of TIME, and we've certainly found the PLACE, we're currently just a bit challenged by cyber-SPACE in that we're currently situated in Mazatlan, Mexico, and internet cafes are either too-touristicly expensive, or a bit of a cross-town drive. this, i grant you, is very little to complain about, as the situation otherwise is pretty damn ideal! although indeed epic in every sense, as i look back: a trip exactly like this (with a solar-powered studio/RV/domicile as transport/turtle-shell) has been several years in the making. when i first traveled to the tropical Mexican coast (1990, playa Zipolite, state of Oaxaca), there was no such thing as internet. As i returned over the years, i began to fantasize about having my whole bedroom recording studio transported down for the winter, and then, without interruptions, i would finally have the clarity of thought and the inspiration of new vistas to allow entirely new works to flesh-out. so goes the theory. so I suppose that I began this process from the minimal side back in '97, when i returned to Zipolite with some fresh new portable technology in my backpack: a Roland MC303 Groovebox that i had converted to run off battery power. Hammock plus headphones, and i began my first explorations into Drum n Bass music. Laptops were still not quite feasible audio recording or editing devices yet, but that very next year, i would travel to Amsterdam with a sort of porta-studio based on a Mac Powerbook 3400c... continuing on to a deserted little Greek isle for a month, armed with some relaxing reading: 3 thick owner's manuals for the Kurzweil K2000 sampler. and then, soon after relocating semi-permanently via RV from Boston to Los Angeles, the grand-daddy of airborne studio trips, Arabic style, The Morocco 2001 festival, where we not only performed with the new super-portable Roland HPD-15 electronic hand-drum, but also brought dual Mac laptops, DV cameras, a mobile video editing suite... and dual LCD video projectors to provide custom created-on-location visuals for the festival. So, yes tech-travel has been a fascination, and i suppose a specialty of mine for quite some time, and most of the time (amazingly-so), on a shoestring budget.
Last winter i attempted a grand-scale revisitation to Mexico, via RV (the first trip since an exploratory RV journey into Baja in '99) with much updated gear, and all housed inside my retro-fitted '76 silver GMC motorhome. the pitch was that i was not going to return without a CD of music composed during the trip... via the mobile studio fueled by solar electricity. I had 2 lovely Israeli girls as my traveling partners, camera-helpers and expert cooks... so i could concentrate on work. But multiple systems breakdowns converged on us, from 2 dead hard drives, to a bad laptop logic board, to as simple-but-vital a scenario as 2 deep cycle batteries failing on me (the Mexican welding shop back in Los Angeles had accidently burned a hole and battery acid slowly drained out). When i returned to LA (without the CD), the transmission promptly decided to go back south... and so much for that particular attempt to go solar-sonic.
So flashing forward to the present day's journey, and today's blogger entry: when i mention that this trip has been several years in the making, believe me that this is no casual remark. Meanwhile many skills have been learned in the process, and the gear itself continues to get ever-more powerful and ever-more portable.... in other words we've raised the bar a bit: We're not returning without an original music and video DVD, of multiple theme...of multiple location... but in general celebration of the marriage of mobility and creativity: when and where one ideally wishes to pursue it (spontaneously? not exactly, but this is the dream). and today, this is where we're pursuing it: we're not kicking it poolside at some Mazatlan highrise, rather we're parked in one of the most beautiful half-forgotten sandy beachfront parking lots between hi-rent properties, and we've even picked up jobs: keep the parking lot clean, and we can stay overnight free! you can have your palm-lined $20/night RV parks, with tennis courts and hot showers. we're sittin pretty right where the local people go after a hard day of work, to drink a cerveza by sunset, or for a weekend hang-out: this beach is the REAL place to be. and its especially nice to be accepted by the locals, as an exception to what they most commonly see: the pampered vacationing gringo: they take us at face value, for what we are. not that i give tours of the interiors of the studio per se. i just tell them in my basic Spanish that i'm a drummer and a writer... working in Mexico... and then they see us picking up the grounds: hard-working gringos.
So as i sat down to write today's blogger entry, i was going to start out by saying how ecstatic and fortunate we are to have made it where we are, and when looking back, how it was some 3 serious months of planning, garage-work and studio preparation to get this RV outfitted, systems backed-up (like Noah's Ark: two by two: 2 laptops, 2 cameras, 2 HPD-15's) bulletproofed, and transported all these bumpy miles down here... studio intact! The last 3 months especially, driven at a winter nomad's maddening pace to get outa' Dodge. after the holidays, it still took us a month and a half to settle various details for a trip of such amazing potentials and uncertain horizons... and then just cross that border! and so now there's no specific time frame other than "no regreso sin DVD"... desperado style. Eklektro Karavan's Breakbeat of the Week has expanded its storylines (and its camera angles, thanks to the karavanning Paolo and his self-contained studiovanagon), and so, while back on track thematically, Breakbeat of the WEEK has totally missed its weekly deadlines... whatever... as long as the sun keeps us fueled, as long as the creativity flows, as long as the roof doesn't leak, as long as the banditos.... umm... i don't even want to think about that.
Hasta la Vista!!


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