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While the engineers and mixers of studios like Channel One were too busy crafting sounds and tweaking equipment, they might not have realized the social implications and camaraderie that resulted. Axelrod may be too consumed to realize the scene blossoming at Don't Trip. For now, both his studio and his reggae dalliances are side projects, hobbies. But he'd consider producing other artists there, and there are certainly plenty of other artists around. During a break in the rehearsal, huddled around an open bag of dried Goji berries, Axelrod's musicians swap handwritten sheet music and talk about collective farming, organic tomatoes, and the health benefits of the master cleanse. Elsewhere, Symeonn and another smiley Rasta exchange proclamations to Jah, while the figures assembled in the garden buzz like an orchestra of summertime crickets.
"What I've read about those [old] studios has led me to believe that it was all about business," Axelrod says. "And I know to be on the outside, it is definitely easy to think that there must have been 'that place' where good music was being made, musicians were hanging out, and there was a loose and free atmosphere. But the thing is, I have never really seen that here." But perhaps that's because he's been too busy to notice, tinkering with his keyboards and experimenting with sound just beneath the sidewalk.
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