As I progress through this chronological revisiting of my relationship with Barry aka A Produce, I come to a gap of almost ten years. During that time (approximately 2001-2011) we maintained some contact, but Barry was much less active making music. He experienced some personal setbacks, including the loss of at least two "day jobs," and a couple of long stretches of unemployment. This, combined with a general downturn in the market for recorded music, meant that as Trance Port albums went out of print (the EP of A Smooth Surface and the album Land of a Thousand Trances), even an artist of the stature of A Produce could not justify manufacturing new batches of CDs. At this time, Barry chose to put his Trance Port label on hold, and create a new offshoot Trance Port Special Editions, to create CDR reissues of his out-of-print albums, as well as to release a few new recordings.
He put out a special expanded edition of A Smooth Surface, a collection of early recordings from the A Produce & Ruben Garcia partnership, and a double CDR edition of Land of a Thousand Trances. These sold moderately well, because of the respect listeners held for the work of A Produce, but not so well as to convince Barry to make the jump to restarting the Trance Port label proper.
When White Sands (a sampler or assortment of A Produce tracks, both album takes and obscurities) went out of print, though, Barry decided to create a release more in keeping with the earlier Trance Port tradition of fine packaging. He released a 3-CD album, Black Sands, which had the feel of his early letterpress folder editions. It was a bit more expensive than the CDR editions but devoted A Produce listeners seemed to like it. I believe Black Sands came out in 2005 or maybe 2006.
Overall, sales of A Produce CDs had begun to drop off. Newer ambient music fans hadn't seen an album of new A Produce material come out, and earlier fans already owned all his work. Only the most devoted fans wanted to re-purchase a CDR deluxe edition of an album they already owned on CD, despite the inclusion of a few extra tracks. At the same time, a lot of respect still existed for the music of A Produce, especially among more serious, long-term fans and practitioners of the music, DJs and music reviewers.
I told Barry he needed to keep putting out new music every few years at least, and not just perpetually repackage earlier releases, in order to keep stimulating interest in his work. He often hinted at an interest in getting back into the studio, or mentioned having sold a few pieces of studio gear to finance the purchase of some new synthesizer, but several years passed in which I don't believe he was creating new music at all.
His next release after Black Sands went in the opposite direction. The Clearing was a reissue of the very earliest A Produce material from the late 80s. The music hinted at where he would go with A Produce eventually, but wasn't going to earn him any new fans. Also the release came in a no-frills CDR package.