My dear friend Vaughan would have turned 40 this year.
Vaughan and I bonded through music and basketball. We sat for hours with a Dr Sample SP-202, a Tascam 4 track, and an old hi-fi record player with a paper towel ‘slipmat’, creating loops and beats and experimenting with sound.
Some time around 2000, Vaughan bought a Pentium computer with a decent sound card, which upgraded our musical noodlings from 4 tracks on tape to 16 tracks of digital thanks to a free version Cool Edit Pro. Over the years Vaughan wrote and recorded many songs in his various Auckland flats, on the farm in Kaihere, and alone in the Coromandel while renovating his parents’ new house. I’ve had a collection of his tracks backed up for years now (first on old data CDs, then an iPod and now in the cloud).
Since Vaughan’s passing I’ve struggled to listen to his music at all. Attempting to do so has brought on a deep sadness which conflicts heavily with my enjoyment of his music and those golden memories of hanging out.
But this changed for me in March when his sisters celebrated his memory on his 40th birthday in a Facebook post. Listening to his music now I still feel his loss, but the sadness has diminished over time. I’m able to enjoy his art again. I miss you Vaughan, but I’m glad I can still hear your voice in your music.
We’re in a weird point in time when it feels like All The Content In The World is available digitally, but often that’s not the case.
There’s a weird bermuda triangle of content that sits in the early 90’s, when cassette tapes were king and CD’s were just starting to get a foothold. Many of these albums run the risk of being lost to time.
One such album is Phase III by SFC (Soldiers for Christ) released in 1992. With solid rap and even better beats/samples and turntablism, it’s a consistently great album. Currently there’s no digital sales of Phase III, and 2nd hand CD copies are currently going for upward of USD$45.
Some gentleman dropped the album on Soundcloud. Enjoy!
An aside: regardless of your opinion toward religion or christianity, if you’re a hip hop fan it’s worth looking into the history of christian hip hop. Some legit stuff came out of the scene in the early 90’s in particular. It can be extremely tough to hunt down any info on these groups, but it’s worth checking out Freedom of Soul – The 2nd Coming (1994) and LPG – The Earthworm (1995).
Remix/Mashup of The Roots’ “Don’t Sat Nuthin'” vs Fugazi’s “Cashout”.