Gray Market Goods was the moniker of Former Tortoise member and engineer Ken Brown. Credited on many recordings through the years as "Bundy K. Brown", Ken has been involved in a number of projects that have sewn the patchwork of American independent/underground music over the last decade. Beginning with the controlled chaos of Bastro and then onto a brief stint in sleepy-time rockers Seam before landing with post-rock pioneers Tortoise, Ken has played a pivotal roll in the formation and development of many of the bands that helped define a generation of sound. Shortly after leaving Tortoise he made one of Thrill Jockeys most loved and best selling records, Directions in Music with Doug Sharin and James Warden. He also along with Chris Brokaw, Curtis Harvey and Douglas McCombs, has helped elevate acoustic instrumental music (taking its cues from Cooder, Kottke and Fahey) back into fashion with his project Pullman. If you know Storycorps you know Pullman they have provided the theme song to this verbal History project.
Gray Market Goods is a completely different beast altogether, one which falls more in line with Ken’s remix work of the last few years than it does his recent music endeavors. When not recording or engineering, Ken has taken on a number of remix projects for such diverse acts as Tortoise, Coldcut and DJ Food, as well as the more traditionally indie-rock acts of Yo La Tengo, Aerial M and Calexico. Gray Market Goods builds off this remix work and is more pastiche in sounds reminiscent of more recent work by acts like Too Many DJ’s and RJD2.
The two tracks "We Live in the Future" and "Soldier of Fortune" were recorded at Ken’s home studio and mixed at Soma Studios, both located in Chicago. The songs were constructed in the old school style of sampling (MPC) and feature a collection of sounds old and new. No Pro Tools, multitracking or other funny business were used in the construction of these songs, which lean towards a 70’s Herbie Hancock-fusion vibe as seen through the eyes of DJ Shadow. As well it should please those familiar with Ken’s Direction 12", Echoes, on the Lissy’s label from the mid-90’s. These songs are a continuation of those ideas, and though it seems Ken is either slightly ahead or out of step with his contemporaries, his recordings are never without merit. These two tracks will matter as much today as they will ten years from now.