May 24, 2004
So Pete Rock Hit Me, Nuff Respect Due
I don't usually post personal things here, but I'm gonna take a moment now to acknowledge a close family friend who passed away.. my mom and I went to a memorial gathering today for Robert Swan, one of the coolest, craziest and most creative souls we will ever know.
I'll remember him for so many different ways that he influenced me on my turbulent trip through adolescence, but for now I'll focus on the music: Robert was one of the first serious music lovers and collectors I spent time around as a kid.. he loved making mixtapes, both on cassette and reel-to-reel, always with a wildly divergent grab bag of styles and genres. His tapes introduced me to lots of amazing music I'd never heard before (Graham Central Station and Rotary Connection are two I remember for sure), but more importantly they were my first exposure to a musical sensibility devoid of boundaries.
As soon as my allowance was big enough to buy records I started making mixtapes of my own, trying to emulate Swan's style of making the most unlikely combinations sound natural, even imitating his habit of cutting out a random magazine photo for the cassette case in lieu of a tracklist. Looking back on it now I can trace a direct path from Swan's mixtapes to the blend of hip-hop, jazz and who-knows-what-else that I ultimately developed on my radio show. So much thanks for that, Mr. Swan.
After that was done I went across town for a happier farewell, stopping by my old buddy Katharina Weingartner's house one last time before she heads back home to Vienna. Katharina also played a big part in the development of my show, helping me develop my meager skills as I tagged along on the interviews she did for her legendary Austrian hip-hop mixshow "Tribe Vibes and Dobe Beats," and allowing me to use her basement studio to record all the mixes for my show in the early 90's. Met a bunch of cool people there and was reunited with some very special friends who had been staying at Katharina's house. Lots of memories and inspiration all around.