When I got this disk in the mail, I was taken back in time a bit, not just because it was vinyl, but because it reminded me when electronic music was but an infant on our shores. Guys from the UK like the Wicked Crew (SF) were bringing the sound of rave culture to the big cities and it was very grassroots. You had no social media to connect with to get your updates; rather you were reliant upon flyers, hangout spots, secret phone numbers and knowing the right people.
The guys from SSI were part of that first wave back in the ’90s, when warehouse parties and illegal gatherings centered around a DIY ethic. The Goff brothers (John and Will) were the leftfield guys that dug Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and all the early pioneers of electronic music, and their music with Sonic Solutions Incorporated reflected that…and still does. The dreamy ambient grooves with beats that hold it all together so it doesn’t float away like a giant bubble.
Jon Goff actually clued me into the legendary FAX Records and Pete Namlook, whose early collaborations with Richie Hawtin are the stuff of legend (and almost impossible to find in print).
During this early budding of the rave scene, a guy by the name of Shepard Fairey moved to San Diego, where we all were cutting our “rave” teeth at the time. His iconic Andre the Giant stickers were already propelling him to street art superstardom when he set up his first design shop with Dave Kinesy, another notable street artist at the time. It was called Black Market.
Needless to say, we all became friends in this little bubble of DIY counter culture and worked together to help our own projects along. John Goff worked on his music and helped Shepard with his posters. I started BPM Magazine and even tapped Shepard to help me with designing one of our first mastheads for the magazine and coaxed John’s brother, Will Goff, to be our drum and bass editor.
From the humblest of beginnings, great things emerged out of our little scene. BPM Magazine went on to become one of the prominent voices in electronic music culture; Shepard is now world famous, and the Goffs continue to make records and push the experimental side of electronic music.
So here is a piece of history. Some DIY coolness, a boutique art project that was done simply for the love of creating something dope and putting it out into the world. You don’t see picture disks that much anymore and it’s hard to find a format that embodies the roots of this culture so well.
Huge props to SSI and Shepard for putting out this cool little gem.
Some of you may remember my SSI poster collab with my friend John Goff. If so, this story may seem redundant, but note that the word poster has been replaced with the word disc because we worked on an SSI vinyl picture disc. It turned out very nicely as art and music. John is also publishing and releasing great screen prints by artists like Brin Levinson and a Cleon Peterson print drops soon. -Shepard Fairey
Pick up the music here.
More about John Goff here.