Sound to Tape 1987-2017
SlowBurn Records is a Tucson Arizona-based publishing entity owned and operated by multi-instrumentalist Eric Johnson. Over the years, SlowBurn Records has released dozens of recorded collections, almost all of which have been engineered, mixed and produced by Eric Johnson. SlowBurn Records releases pride themselves on presenting music with a complete artist vision. In other words, Johnson and his musical colleagues wrote or co-wrote; produced and packaged, a cohesive vision for each project - from the music, to its production to the artwork. SlowBurn Records releases have included critically lauded work by Black Sun Ensemble, Sun Zoom Spark, Number Three Combo, Cobracalia, Bread and Circus, Sundarata and many others. SlowBurn Records also has an extensive YouTube channel where videos for live performances and studio work has been created and archived.
In addition to these releases, Johnson and SlowBurn Records have recorded many more collections that have not yet been made public. The concept for SlowBurn Records was first used when Johnson began to write and record collection of songs on his four-track tape recorder in 1987. The early "albums" led to work with ever increasing artistic ambition. Johnson evolved from recording and over-dubbing alone to recording bands for whom we was writing and performing. During this initial period of recording, Johnson and friends created over two dozen full-length collections of original material. In 2000, Johnson created SlowBurn Studio in Tucson Arizona, a fully digital, multi-track production facility. In various locations across Tucson, SlowBurn Studio put sounds to "tape" for over 25 full-length, published recordings. The music included in these recordings ranges from heavy psych-rock to tight power pop; from alt-country to rock operas; from guitar-less electronica to soundtrack-like instrumental work. Listeners can count on a wide range of music styles, from song to song and from project to project.
2017 marks a bittersweet anniversary for the publishing entity. SlowBurn Records celebrates its 30th anniversary with the release of Number Three Combo's "Resurfacing;" however, this will be the last release of newly recorded material. In the coming years, Johnson plans to concentrate on the publication of archival recordings, including works from Black Sun Ensemble, Sun Zoom Spark and others. According to Johnson, "I feel like I have come to the end of this journey and, finally, I can look back on the work and feel a true sense of accomplishment. In the past, I have had trouble feeling good about the music for various reasons, which always seemed to lead me to another project where I could do better. Now, I feel like I have gotten all I can from the experience of both playing in bands and recording music. I truly feel great about what my friends and I have completed, so, it is time to do other things with my time."
Oh behalf of all who have been involved, SlowBurn Records would like to thank you for listening. Please check out www.slowburnrecords.net for additional information on Number Three Combo's "Resurfacing" and other archival releases coming this year and beyond. (June 2017)Originally, SlowBurn Records was only an idea. I had a four-track recorder, a microphone and headphones, an electric guitar and amp and I realized that I could write, record and mix my own albums (onto cassette, of course). This realization was a big thing – I truly could not believe that I didn’t think of it before. I had already started writing and recording songs, but the idea that I could create a series of songs was just like making my own album - even if it was a pretend album. To be more legit, I needed a few more things. I bought a bass guitar and began to use the crusty old keyboard my parents bought me when I was in sixth grade – it had a drum machine. I learned to put the microphone into a pillow and beat on it with a stick to create some sort of percussion effects. I needed a couple of guitar effects for those unexpected sounds that you might encounter on a record. And I needed a record label – because I wasn’t brave enough to put my own name on the cassettes. And that was it. I didn’t need anyone else, kind of like a painter who works alone rather than a musician who usually work in ensembles. I could play all the parts on the four-track and try to sing a little and I got to decide how to do it. I remember looking at the first cassette of mixed downs in my hand and I had this awesome feeling because I didn't know anyone who was doing something like this. It was like discovering new teritorry where none was thought to previously exist. It was that excitement of creating something so complex and personal out of blank tape that would exist for 100 years that inspired me to continue - writing, playing and recording music. I still feel that excitment when I put all of the songs together and listen to them together for the first time. After a couple of years of recording music alone and with friends, I got another idea. I should actually create a label called SlowBurn Records to help organize this growing collection of tapes and CDs. I settled with that name because of a song we had written called "Slow Burn Crow" - which we thought was funny. The name stuck...not sure why. For a while, I did have some ambitions of running this working record label that would license works to larger entities for distribution and I did just that for sometime. But in the end, I am not in love with business nor do I have a particularly important message to get out to the kids. This is simply what I have done and hope to do some more - its been fun. SlowBurn Records is really an archive for work that I have created alone and with friends all of my adult life. I hope you like it - its kept me going for years. - Eric Johnson (April 2011)