Back in the summer of 1999, DJ Logic and his Project Logic band performed at New York's Wetlands accompanied by six TV monitors playing XXX Japanese porno films. As Logic scratched and guitarist David Fiuczynski squirmed, the audience craned their necks to watch small people maneuver strange positions.
“I was just pitting some music with a form of art,” DJ Logic (aka Jason Kibler) says from his Bronx home. “I didn't want to offend anyone; I just wanted to present something eclectic. I still use a video aspect when I perform or produce. It might be weird things or fun things or dramatic things. I am always visualizing.”
A veteran of New York City's jam band, Knitting Factory and Black Rock Coalition scenes, DJ Logic found time to record Zen of Logic (Ropeadope, 2006) after years of seemingly endless touring with everyone from John Mayer and Ben Harper to Jack Johnson. Only his third release in eight years (including Project Logic [Ropeadope, 1999] and The Anomaly [Ropeadope, 2002]), Zen of Logic moves beyond tired “music for imaginary soundtracks” dictums into a meditatively combustible state. It's where organist John Medeski, the Antibalas Horns and guitarist Charlie Hunter are cut and pasted against Logic's jazz-inspired turntablist techniques, live and programmed drums, spoken word snippets and the disruptive sounds of a Korg Kaoss Pad.
“The spooky sounds come from the Kaoss Pad,” Logic reveals. “That has been my signature for a long time. I used it with Medeski, Martin & Wood in Japan back in '98. I was incorporating textures and space sounds from sound-effects records to get my own delays and such; then the Korg guys in Japan introduced me to the Kaoss pad. They took me to the factory, and I've been hooked ever since. Now they have the KP2 Kaoss Pad, which lets you manipulate visuals. I use it with everyone I work and record with. It is throughout the Zen of Logic, even on drums and vocals.”
Produced by Scotty Hard (Prince Paul, Wu-Tang Clan), Zen of Logic also benefited from a Digidesign Pro Tools|24 Mixplus System liberally flavored with a 16-channel Neve 8014 mixing console and a Studer B67 ¼-inch, 2-track tape machine.
“We used the Neve for mixdown to Pro Tools,” Logic explains. “That was for extra seasoning, and it enhances the music. And the Studer added that tape warmth to drums and guitar. You want that raw, dirty sound; you don't want everything too clean.”
Additional equipment used on the session included Ableton Live 4, Akai MPC2000XL, EMT 140 Plate Reverb, Ensoniq ASR-10 Advanced Sampling Recorder, E-mu SP-12 Sampling Percussion drum machine, Moog Minimoog Voyager synth and of course, Logic's two Technics SL-1200MK2 turntables and Rane TTM 56 Performance Mixer. But at the end of the day, DJ Logic's music seems as much about external stimuli — be it his hefty jazz influences or Japanese pornography — as it does any piece of soft or hardware. You can call DJ Logic a sonic adventurer who just can't deny his senses.
“My neighborhood is full of eclectic cultures and eclectic music,” Logic explains. “When I walk out the door I might be hearing ‘Rappers Delight,’ then over at the bodega they might be playing some merengue. Over here it is Eric B. & Rakim; over there some guys are playing Latin percussion and some reggae. I love where I live; there is always something new to experience every time I walk out the door.”