Aaron "Breakself" Anderson is an esteemed record collector, one of the deepest soul and funk DJs around, and one cool-ass motherfucker to boot. Two years ago at the Bumpshop soiree my friends and I used to do at APT here in NYC we had the pleasure of hosting he and fellow Detroit-ian Brad Hales (both residents at the Ann Arbor Soul Club) as our special guests. That night I also met Aaron's pal Deejay Om from the Bay, himself in town for a gig. Om and Aaron have recently collab-ed on a special mix that though we all wish could be presented under different circumstances nonetheless stands as a testament to all that's good and important in life. I wanted to post this earlier, but honestly didn't feel right even downloading their mix until I was able to do my part. Keep reading and you'll understand.
The following text reposted from the superb Beat Electric blog:
*Beneath all this text is a mix of some of the rarest black music you have ever heard. Some of it digitized for the first time. But please, keep reading.*
Funk, boogie and soul record collecting elite are rallying to help Aaron 'Breakself' Anderson, renowned Detroit digger, and founder of one of the USA's most famous nights, the Ann Arbor Social Club, in his fight against brain cancer.
I had the chance to meet Aaron a couple of summers ago during one of his visits to San Francisco, through his collaborator and friend, the bay area's own Deejay Om. I collect a few dance 12's here and there, but Aaron and Om play in a tier above, having over the years unearthed Michigan scene 45's that go on to trade for more than collective worth of my crates, be it to northern soul obsessive middle aged businessmen in Scotland, or a funk collecting oil industry millionaire in downtown Manhattan (no joke). And its some of these records, from Breakself's own shelves, that Om has used to create this exclusive mix, in the hopes of raising some money and awareness to help his best friend Aaron out.
I'll let Om explain in his own words:
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, this is all so true with my best friend Aaron Anderson who is currently dealing with brain cancer. A crushing blow to all those who know and love Aaron, and there are many, because upon meeting him you instantly feel as though you’ve known him, or want to, and that he truly cares about anyone and everyone he meets. I’ve not met anyone like him and doubt that I will for a very long time, this seems to be true of others too. A man of his word, someone who that if he has a penny in his pocket he would gladly offer to someone less fortunate, a person who cares about others and truly takes time to listen; and now it’s our turn to listen and our turn to give him that penny that he needs.
I met Aaron about 12 years ago, and instantly felt as though I’d met my best friend, our personalities, albeit quite different, seemed to mesh, and we both had a deep passion for music, meditation, buddhism and records. Aaron cites me as his mentor when it comes to Soul/Funk music, a title I humbly accept. He was like a sponge that seemed to be nowhere near capacity, and his thirst for knowledge was unparalleled. He was living in Ann Arbor and I in San Francisco, we’d sit for hours on the phone talking about life and records, and I would constantly play him things I had recently gotten or already had. At a time when others ridiculed me for liking Boogie, Disco, and Modern Soul Aaron was one of the few people who actually listened and grew to enjoy and understand where I was coming from...but, that’s Aaron for you, always with an open mind and heart.
We began this project quite some time ago, Aaron (aka Breakself) had been diagnosed with brain cancer while in school at Stanford and he began to bring records over to my house to record...it seemed endless the amount of ridiculously dope, and rare records he had; the “student” truly has become my teacher, and for that I am grateful...I have learned so much from him, and continue to learn more every time I speak with him. I (Deejay OM), did all the mixing and only supplied a couple of the records, my intent was to show our relationship through music, and I hope that you too can appreciate and enjoy the aptly titled “The Buddy System.”
Although I think of Aaron more as a little brother than just my best friend, had we been in kindergarden together I have no doubt he would have been the one whom I turned to when the teacher told us to “pick a buddy” for field-trips, projects, or anything that needed a dynamic duo. It pains me to see him dealing with brain cancer, and I’m constantly impressed with and admire his ability to stay positive and to look forward, not back. He’s not just my friend, but a shining beacon to the world, and I’m sure that if you met him in person you’d be happy that you gave your donation to such a great person. Cancer medicine is ridiculously expensive ($1000 per chemo pill, and “Avastan” treatments which cost $45,000 per month), and I can only hope that this mix inspires you to help out...donations of $10 or more will receive a high quality version of the mix, and receive another mix I’m working on....this mix is free, but I hope you find it in your heart to help Aaron.
Go here to download the mix and make a donation.