Phil Moffa - 52nd Street Beat Tape Cover 2

PHIL MOFFA – 52nd St. Beat Tape

Most Excellent Unlimited presents
Phil Moffa – 52nd Street Beat Tape

A. (28:28)
TZ Time Machine
Stretched Out Roads
A Hun’ned
Descanso En La Casa
Hood Karma
Oh Agnes
Winston’s Lot
Zoom Out The Window
Truth In Roots
Penthouse Sweet
Talkin’ With Shorty

B. (28:11)
I Could Show You 52nd Street
Swing Street
Hawrt Beat
End End End
Way Too Short
That SP Feel
One For Throggs Neck
Doughboy Yellin’ Domino
Random Shift
Femame Fatale
The Results
The Best

15 years ago in a basement in the Bronx, I attended a bunch of sessions with my long time collaborator and friend, Ray West. Ray is a lifelong DJ and home producer, and only in 2012 did he begin to release music via his well-respected underground label, Red Apples 45. He had a main studio but also this much smaller room in the back which I dubbed “Studio B” in the tradition of any multi-room recording facility who would have a second “B” or third “C” room, and the name stuck. Despite the much lower-level quality equipment in that room, like a Yamaha MiniDisc board burning mixes realtime to CD-R, there was a certain vibe to it that inspired creativity, and a simplicity that encouraged faster working methods. One of the groups that worked there was called Results. Their philosophy was whatever happened in the moment was meant to be on tape and they didn’t spend hours perfecting it. This is rather opposite to how I work in the studio and especially on my own material, of which I can be thorough to the point of finishing less than I’d like. Through working there I realized the potential of having a smaller, simpler second setup, one that was not related to my work as an engineer, or my artist career as a performing electronic musician and techno producer.

Fast forward to 2016 and I would have both a professional studio outside of the home and enough spare gear to make a smaller studio based around a 4-track cassette recorder in my living room. This was a place where I could make whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without the disturbances of clients, the chaos of 30th St., or any genre restrictions that I might place on myself in the big studio. I spent some time tracking down a functioning Akai MG614, the holy grail of 4-track recorders. It’s a large machine, making even the MPC3000 look small on the table next to it. With no computer, things were focused. I went through a couple of variations of the setup in my living room beginning with an MPC1000, DSI Evolver, Sonic Potions LXR, Bastl Microgranny, and a variety of classic effects that I didn’t keep in the rack at Butcha Sound like the Yamaha SPX90 and Ensoniq DP-4, plus a bunch of pedals and eventually a Korg Karma keyboard. Then I had the good sense to bring home the Emu SP1200 I was borrowing from The Martinez Brothers. Eventually I brought home the MPC3000 as well. Another thing I kept connected was a Zoom field recorder that captured sirens, street noises, and me playing the upright piano in my apartment live to tape. Results. These recordings were made in Hell’s Kitchen from July 2016 – May 2017 with the window open and the sounds of my Manhattan block inspiring the takes. — Phil Moffa 2019

Produced in Hells Kitchen, Manufactured in Canada
JCard photos courtesy of NYC Municipal Archives, Design & Layout by Paul Raffaele
Press photos by Barbie Bertisch
© Most excellent Unlimited Recordings, Inc. ℗ Ringer Racket 2019