Sad news about Barry Craig, better known as A Produce

Started by mgriffin, September 05, 2011, 12:45:40 PM

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Campus Stellae

sad news really.
I can only remember my first contact with Barry more than 15 years ago, when he asked my help to locate an unreliable music distributor in southern Italy. This guy offered Barry to sell his cds in Italy and received hundreds of copies of his first two albums; needless to say that Barry never received a single cent from this gentleman! So I started my researches and found his telephone number: I've been so rude - which is really uncommon for me! - that I managed to get some money for Barry and, more important, all the remaining cds back. Then I sold them all for Barry and transfered the money to Barry's account.
Musically speaking, A Produce's music has a touch of mystery and compassion that always struck a chord deep inside my heart. I'll miss his art a lot.
Safe journey, Barry!


Although I didn't know Barry that well, we corresponded enough in the late '90's for me to feel that he was sort of a kindred spirit in his embracing of thinking outside the box - with regards to any sort of genre - in order for the music to keep thriving and growing.  I have such gratitude and admiration for that stance he took as an artist, and for the inspiration and courage that gave me to carry that forward in my own work. 

Bless you and thank you, Barry....wherever your spirit dwells, outside the box of our earth-bound reality.


It is sad when a great fellow ambient musician among us departs this reality and leaves us with great music to remember him by..
I know when we lost Jim, I was torn up by his loss for a few days since we collabrated on albums together as, Orion's Belt.
But always know and feel that his music will always be with us...
Twitter: ImagineerR


The ongoing comments, both here and on Facebook, are a great tribute. Sorry I haven't commented as much today, but I'm a bit wiped out. Just wanted to say it's great to see Barry's listeners and fellow artists checking in.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |

Dean De Benedictis

Thank you, Mike.  I've been reading people's comments on here and I'm moved by what a lot of people have said and revealed.  Great stuff from people like Scott, Jeff, Bill and Meg.  Most importantly, I think what really moves me is that he had also come across as a good and supportive human being to the rest of the world, as well as to me.

Sometimes when we end up good friends with a cynic, it's hard to imagine that others might also be seeing the goodness of their essence deep down.  It's easy to think that you are one of the few who understand the person, while the rest of the world scoffs at him/her.  It's good to read here that people actually felt opposite of Barry.  And yes, he really was a truly good person.  I knew a few people in the past whom Barry had fallen out with, but I always knew that this was due to the chemistry-based nature of some relationships. Outside of that, Barry was a very excited, kind-hearted, supportive and generous individual, whether it seemed obvious or not.

Much like Scott might have, I have a lot more I would like to add here about Barry's artistic life in Los Angeles throughout the 90's and beyond.  There is truly a lot there to mention.  And besides, iit may help me to deal with the emotion of this a lot better if I share it with people who care.  This is the only place I can think of where people might actually appreciate knowing more about Barry.  I have tears in my eyes realizing that, but it seems to be the hard truth.

What Mike has shared here about his experiences working with, and knowing Barry, was very refreshing a revealing to me.  I'm glad he entered that much info here.  Less is not more when it comes to something important like his.  At the moment I am in the middle of a very involving project of my own; as soon as I get another window (maybe in a couple of days or maybe in a couple of weeks), I would like to come back here and post one huge entry myself, telling the story of Barry and his Los Angeles colleagues.  Again, it might be an extremely long one, so I'm just wondering if this really is the right place for it.  Mike: if you can let me know, or confirm that, it would be good.  And I've already begun writing it because it's pretty much therapy at this point.

Also, I believe I have lots of footage, locked away somewhere, of Barry and some of his performances at concerts we billed together in the past, as well as some other things that I may have waited far longer to get to if this hadn't happened.  Barry never asked for any of it, so I never bothered before.  I have to find the time to transfer most of it, but by announcing here that I'm in possession of it, I'm hoping to light a fire under my -ss a little better than usual.  Perhaps you can help me to keep that fire lit as well.

Be back here soon with more about the life of this amazing artist and friend.

And yes, please, as many prayers as possible in the direction of Barry's widow, Jane, who's strife I could'nt even begin to explainright now.  It goes even beyond Barry.

Julio Di Benedetto

I read this sad news early this morning before heading out north up the coast of florida to chase the ocean swells from Hurricane Katia In hope of an epic surf session.  Intangible & Smile on the void played along the way......thank you Barry.  Smile on the void was one of my first Hypnos cd, perhaps the first and it has certainly stood the test of time.

I knew nothing about the man except for some of his thank you to those close to him for sharing their personal experiences and my heart felt condolences to his family and friends.

"Smile on the Void"......that about says it all, doesn't it.
"Life is one big road, with lots of signs, so when you ride to the Roots, do not complicate your mind, ... "  Bob Marley


Quote from: Dean De Benedictis on September 07, 2011, 04:39:53 PM
... as soon as I get another window (maybe in a couple of days or maybe in a couple of weeks), I would like to come back here and post one huge entry myself, telling the story of Barry and his Los Angeles colleagues.  Again, it might be an extremely long one, so I'm just wondering if this really is the right place for it.  Mike: if you can let me know, or confirm that, it would be good.  And I've already begun writing it because it's pretty much therapy at this point.

Dean, thanks for your contributions. You're welcome to post as much as you like, though I'd suggest breaking it up into a series of shorter chunks, one message each. The message board has a limit to how much it will let you put in a single message, and it becomes hard to read in one enormous long stream anyway. If you post them sequentially I'm sure people will be able to follow along, and many of us would like to hear what you have to say.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |

Mike V. Bennett

May he swiftly travel through the Nightlands and with strength, walk, along the Path of Souls, to the Homeland.
   While I was not in touch with Produce for many years, I owe him many thanks for presenting the music of both Stillife (Michael Jon Fink and myself) and my solo works (M. leDonne-Bhennet), on the early releases from Traceport Tapes.  He was always pro composer, supportive of whatever we desired to release and a true advocate for music of the terrain.
   • What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow, which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
   • When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
~ Tslagi Expressions

Mike V. Bennett (aka) M. leDonne-Bhennet


I was listening to Intangible last night for the first time, it is a beautiful album.


I didn't see this posted here yet, a friend of Barry's posted this on his FaceBook page:

Barry Craig died of natural causes on 9/4/11 in Los Angeles, CA. He leaves behind his wife Jane, parents Jim and Doris, and sisters Cheryl and Laurie. Friends and followers are invited to leave words of remembrance about Barry on this Facebook page. Those wishing to express words to his family are invited to contact his sisters: Cheryl or Laurie = Barry was a lover of music from an early age and went on to produce numerous CDs under the name "A Produce". His most recent CD release in 2011 was INTANGIBLE, performed by A Produce & Loren Nerell. Barry's musical works are available from or or or by direct order from his private label TRANCE PORT at


Thanks to all who let me know of Barry's passing.  I just posted a blog memorial with the script from his 1996 Echoes interview.  It's especially hard hearing about an artist's passing from the same generation that includes the Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Michael Stearns and Steve Tibbetts generation of musicians.

drone on

I don't quite understand the "natural causes" part in the Facebook posting (?)...

PS:  Let's not forget two other greats who passed relatively recently: JORGE REYES and KLAUS WIESE.  There's a supergroup trio in heaven for you.


I can't adequately describe my feelings at Barry's passing, but it is wonderful to hear from people who appreciated Barry's music. He often seemed unaware that his work was so highly valued.

Barry's solo records are well known to most of you here, but his musical exploits go back a bit farther.

Shortly before I met him in 1979, he was playing guitar in a band called The Blank Ensemble, fronted by the mysterious R Dash (mysterious to me, anyway, because in all this time I've never met him). It was Dash who gave him the name A Produce. I don't think he ever played me any of their music so I can give no report on it, but R Dash made a big impression on him as he continued to talk about Dash as long as I knew him.

I met Barry when he answered my ad looking for others to form a band. Through some twists and turns, we formed Afterimage, with Barry on guitar, Rich Evac on bass. Holland de Nuzzio on drums and me on vocals. He was already using A Produce as his musical working name. He definitely poured his heart into the band as he financed the lion's share of the records we released. Together we played around in the LA clubs for a couple of years and released a 2 slabs of vinyl and 2 cassettes before parting ways in 1981 or 82.

Almost immediately, Barry started Trance Port Tapes (which became just TrancePort later), compiling and releasing many cassette only editions of local underground music. Many of you here are aware of these releases. It was also around this time that he published his Trance Directory – writings on a series of bands he thought created trance music – music that transported the listener.

I want to add that Barry mentioned Mike Bennett's Still Life release on Contagion Records from this period as a major "ah ha" moment. I think it was then he realized he didn't need a traditional rock band to make the kind of music he wanted to make.

Most importantly, he began releasing solo records of ambient and trance music as A Produce. It's in his ambient/trance work that his strange genius really shined. I will always stand in awe of how he could shape the most insubstantial and ethereal sounds into something beautiful and mesmerizing.

When we were still in Afterimage, he liked to quote my own lyrics to me at moments he found mystically appropriate. So I'll leave you with this:

Now here we sit
In our satellite of love
Back to our senses
With traces above
The vision is there
It surrounds us
Back to our senses
Satellite of love

May his vision remain clear for us.

Daniel Voznick   aka Alec Tension of Afterimage

Dean De Benedictis

I am constantly touched by what I read here...

And it's very revealing.

I've been listening to a lot of the three A Produce songs that always moved me the most:  Overground (with Mike Griffen), Within Reach and Clear Pools.  I have many memories of spending days and nights in the desert with these three songs, and then always returning to talk to Barry about it.  I think he just loved to hear how other people shared his passion for the desert.


Just to fill everyone in, Barry's funeral service will be held in his home town of Rockford, IL, and is tentatively scheduled for  Wednesday or Thursday of next week depending upon how soon they can get his body out of state.  The funeral home is Fred C. Olson Funeral  Chapel at 1001 2nd Avenue and their website is If you are not a close friend or family member and you wish to attend, it might be best to call ahead and make sure it is ok out of respect to the family.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Dean De Benedictis

Thanks, Loren.  I highly encourage anyone who can attend to go ahead and contact his family. 

Sister Cheryl:
or Laurie:

I really wish I could do it myself but in my present situation it's not possible.  If it were in LA I probably could have, but not out in IL.  Still, my thoughts will be there that day.


Barry Craig is Dead: Colleagues Remember The Influential L.A. Ambient Musician
By David Cotner Tue., Sep. 13 2011 at 8:35 AM

Barry Craig was an important figure in the early years of minimal and ambient music in L.A., first with his Trance Port Tapes label and later with his project A Produce. He died last week, on September 4, of acute pancreatitis.

In the early '80s he was a part of new wave band Afterimage, and launched his Trance Port Tapes label in 1983. He released spoken word by Timothy Leary, music by L.A.F.M.S. madman Tom Recchion, Brad Laner's Debt of Nature, and a cassette by John J. Lafia, the filmmaker behind the first Child's Play movies.

Presented in exquisitely packaged letterpress folders from Bruce Licher's Independent Project Press, these tapes would mysteriously appear in the dusty plastic bins at Aron's, kicked underneath the trance CD section.

After launching the A Produce LP The Clearing in 1988 and later issuing several self-pressed CDs of organic brilliance, Craig became obsessed with recording ambient sounds. Everything from the traffic outside the window of his Glendale apartment to the wind on desert dunes was fair game.

"He was a purveyor of California minimalism and the L.A. experimental music scene," says Tom Recchion. "He was committed to his own vision of sound that stood without interest in its connection to what was going on elsewhere."

Craig's latest work, a collaboration with Loren Nerell called Intangible, came out on Hypnos this summer. "Intangible generated a lot of excitement among the ambient music community, and I know this favorable reaction meant a lot to Barry and re-energized him about recording again," says Mike Griffin, who released Craig's recordings on his Hypnos label.

"He would often use the term "deep listening" as an umbrella term for the kind of music he played, but 'deep listening' is a term that could also be applied to how Barry listened to music," adds Jeff Pearce, Craig's Hypnos label mate. "He could hear things in pieces of music that so many others - including me - would miss."

"We were going to get together on the Sunday that he passed away to play around with his new keyboard," says Loren Nerell. "No one knew he was sick."

"By using the phrase 'trance music' he tried to distinguish our efforts from '70s European 'space-music' or Eno's 'ambient,'" says Robert Rich, a "sleep concert" pioneer. "He tried to distance our more edgy style from the bliss of New Age spiritualism. He wrote essays explaining that 'trance music' should have shadows, that it could be more urban and could reflect the challenges of our time."

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] .: owner / artist .: .: .:


Thanks for the link, John. I didn't know if this would be online or just in print.

It's nice to see information about Barry and his recording career presented from beginning to end like this. I tried to contribute as much of this kind of thing as I could here in this forum thread, but I could only go back so far.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |


Something I can't help thinking, after talking briefly with David Cotner and reading this obituary he put together, is that we should all be so lucky as to have an "ambient aware" journalist to assemble such a remembrance as this in our local press. Thanks for this, David. Barry would have appreciated it.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |


This popped up in my google news "ambient music" section - and I'm very happy to see it and repost it here for everyone.   

This was really well written.  A touching tribute.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] .: owner / artist .: .: .: