I came across this pretty sick beat while browsing upcoming concerts for this fair city, spying a listing for Four Tet, and then stumbling onto the MySpace page of Gulls, the local opening act. Behind the guise is lifelong Portland resident Jesse Munro Johnson, whose minor obsession with Miami Vice
had a hand in the building of this sparse, sweltering beat. I'll let Johnson tell the story:
I made this beat for a mix tape that I was making to be played over this crusty boom box that i found on the side of the road. I was making the tape for a 4th of July BBQ that some friends and I were having at Alberta park. As I was making the mix tape i got inspired by how crunchy and dirty the boombox speakers sounded.. so I hooked up my sampler and spat this beat out onto the tape. The beat sort of wrote itself, it was a really hot day and all I wanted to hear was some dirty heavy tropical air coming through the speakers...
At the time I was totally hooked on the original Miami Vice TV series, I would watch like four or five episodes a day! (Luckily a homie lent me the entire first two seasons on DVD.)
The name came natural with the beat, the boombox and the heat of the day...
Outside of Gulls, Johnson can be found spinning a healthy dose of "tropical gangster beats and global traditional musics" at Valentines as DJ Gigante on a monthly basis. And as for that Four Tet show on March 26th, Johnson seems psyched. "I have been working on a ton of new music," he says in regards to the Holocene show, which will be the first time any of any of his new sounds will be performed live. The show will also mark the return of Gulls after an eight month, self-imposed hiatus, during which time Johnson focused on building a studio in his home.
Photo courtesy of MySpace