Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Charles Cooper

In 2001, I moved from Kentucky to Chicago. When I moved there I had the intentions of working as an intern for a record label, any record label that would have me. Only two got back to me in any adequate amount of time, Bloodshot Records and Hefty Records. Since I had never heard of the former I decided to pay Bloodshot a visit, after a few minutes discussing with random people that worked there what an intern does, one of them said I guess you could sweep the floor yada yada yada. I passed on Bloodshot and kinda put the idea out of my head for a while as I needed a job to pay the rent first.

In the winter of 2002, a man named John Hughes contacted me again and asked if I would be interested in being an intern for Hefty Records. I had completely forgotten about it. I said "Yes" immediately and one day wandered down to the Printers Row neighborhood among some warehouse type buildings. On the third floor was this amazing space with people that looked alot like myself wasting time in front of computers. I met John and talked to him about his fathers films for a second and then met a guy named Ray who was "in charge" of me and kinda told me what to do. These were amazingly nice people that sat around and listened to really good electronic music all day and got paid for it! Wow!

I interned there for quite a while doing numerous activities. One day I was stickering some albums and two guys walked in. John said
"Hey Brandon, come here" Then he said
"This is Josh Eustis and this is Charlie Cooper, you know from Telafon Tel Aviv"
"Uh....awesome! Hey guys!"
"Yea, these guys are amazing, youve heard of them right?"
"Oh yeah.."

I hadn't but soon I did and Hefty loaded me up with all of their records and I found out. "These guys are amazing!" Little clicky beats mixed in with ethereal swooshes and some of the most sophisticated electronic music I had ever heard. But at that time, to me they were just really nice guys. I had no idea how huge or whatever they were.

A few months later, Hefty threw a loft party with what I now know were some of the biggest names in electronic music Dabrye, Telafon Tel Aviv, T.Raumschmiere, Rick Stryker(from the 8bit Construction Kit) but again, to me, at this time these guys were just really nice guys!

I witnessed Telafon Tel Aviv's set which I could not fathom, Josh and Charlie were setup behind laptops but they had quite a few other musicians sitting around making ambient noise and beautiful stuff was coming out the speakers. Now I kinda have a grasp of what they were doing but at that time they were magicians to me and still to this day every record I hear of theirs is magic and beauty.

The world that I was introduced to by working at this little record label has affected me every day of my life since. The people I met and the things that I learned have made me a different person and I think a better person. Their world was completely foreign to me and everyone in it was making a difference, not just in Chicago but all over the world. I met countless people while working at Hefty that I run across in a random movie or musical project and say to myself "I'm pretty sure I met that guy/girl while I was sitting in the corner rolling Phil Ranelin posters.

Charles Cooper was no exception. I met him only a handful of times but I know what he has done and I know what his music does to people all over this planet.

On January 22, 2009 Charlie was found dead on the northside of Chicago, he had an argument with his girlfriend one night and had been missing for a week. I recently learned this while checking for updates on the Hefty website. I said to myself "This is no way to remember a life that affected mine even if we had only met a handful of times and even if we did not really know each other"

We are both musicians and therefore we are friends.

Below is Josh Eustis' letter to fans and a mix that I put together today of some of my favorite Telafon Tel Aviv tracks.

Charlie, its a minuscule token for the amazingness you have put into the world but please accept it from a kid in Kentucky that you and your art touched, even if it was unintentional.

Charles Wesley Cooper III / April 12, 1977 - January 22, 2009
Hello, Everyone.

It breaks my heart to inform you all that Charlie Cooper, my better half in Telefon Tel Aviv, passed away on January 22nd.

We have been friends since high school, and began making records together a decade ago. We have been so fortunate to tour the world together, while at the same time having a massive amount of laughs at one another's expense.

Aside from Charlie's singular genius and musical gifts, I can tell you that he was a total sweetheart of a guy, and a loving friend and confidant to people everywhere. His musicianship was surpassed only by his greater gift to the world - his warmth, his generosity, his unquenchable humor, and his undying loyalty to those whom he loved. In the spirit of honorable mention, however, I should mention that he had a shoe collection that was marvelous, knowledge of hip-hop that was profound, and knowledge of wine that was subtle.

He is survived by a sister, a neice, a nephew, his mother, his stepfather, me, and more adoring friends than the Universe has dark matter. As such, his family and I ask for your discretion and consideration of our privacy during these extremely turbulent waters.

Yours in Music,

Joshua Eustis


Telafon Tel Aviv Mixed by Nightwolf

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