In April of 2007, the historic NYC music venue Tonic closed.
at 107 Norfolk Street in the Lower East Side of
Manhattan, Tonic was a unique place where you would go to listen
to what would often turn out to be equally unique music.
As many other cherished spaces around the city, after 9 years
Tonic succumbed to the changes then ripping through
I attended two shows
at Tonic on that final week back in 2007. On
the second night, I asked the lady at the ticket booth about a
beer carton containing +50 demo tapes that was lying on the
floor, looking as if it might soon be discarded. I could have
them if I wanted them, I was told.
After 11 years decaying, these tapes — submitted by
bands who wanted to play at Tonic and whose fates since then seem to be as
diverse as their music — have now been
digitized and you can listen to them by clicking on the images you find on this page. I attempted
some cleaning of the audio, but even after that they are by now
mainly historical artifacts from one decade ago.
An effort was made to contact all bands to secure their
permission but that was not possible in all cases. Also, I would
be happy to donate the tapes to any individual or organization
who will preserve them and make them publicly available. For all
contact email@example.com. To
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One thing I really picked up from Jason (Corsaro) was his intensity, focus and commitment to the work. He aimed for mixes that broke barriers and reached for new levels of sonic expression. It's hard to get across just how intense the space was when he was working. You had to be at your highest degree of presence and attention, more so than you ever thought possible because that's where he was at. He was going for sounds, especially in the low end, that would present powerful music, such as the Ginger Baker album, Middle Passage, to be heard more powerfully than ever before; to strike a Universal chord, create a vibrational pattern that would, perhaps, resonate throughout the planet. At times it would seem that Jason would mix as if the fate of the World hung in the balance. He loved what he was doing which probably contributed significantly to the success his work enjoyed.
Bill Laswell introduced me to Jason, and the 3 of us began to work together in 1989 right at about the same time Bill Graham and Amensty International brought the first tour of Western music to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. These events took place only a few months before the peaceful collapse of Communism and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
One example of how strong the mood became for me was during the mix of the Swans cover of Can't Find My Way Home written by Steve Winwood and originally performed by Blind Faith, the 'super-group' with Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.
Come down off your throne and leave your body alone Somebody must change You are the reason I've been waiting so long Somebody holds the key Well I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home...