As a real, genuine kid, long before he became Kid Koala, Eric San wanted an E-mu SP-1200 sampler – the Ark of the Covenent of hip hop production, used by his idols and heroes and imbued with legendary, almost supernatural, audio powers by rap aficionados worldwide. Unfortunately, he worked out he would have to deliver around eight million newspapers to buy one. Now, having hit his thirties, Eric finally has the machine he always craved.
Of course, music production has largely moved on, so Eric began working out what he could do with it – a kind of reverse engineering back to his childhood self. A little mucking around and it came to him – the blues was always about stripping music back to its bare essentials, which is exactly what the SP1200 does, too. Over three days he cut up and reassembled the bed tracks for 12 Bit Blues. No sequencing software was used. Using the pads on the machine and a multitrack, Eric played each part of the tracks in real time, before finally returning and adding cuts over the top.
The result is a really raw, immediate and strangely beautiful album, much like the music it draws on for its inspiration. In attempting to outplay and out-think the technology he is working with he revives the unworldly oddness of blues music before it became a staple of beer adverts and the jam-fantasies of middle aged marketing executives. This is the music, ripped and scratched and distressed until all those souls sold down the crossroads rise up and send shivers down your spine. It’s that real and, yes, that made up.