Thursday, August 06, 2009


"Rips, Tears and Jagged Edges"

In a recent conversation with a friend, I remarked that I recently came to the conclusion that I had been feeling a sort of abandonment, that I had wounds that probably hadn’t quite healed from leaving a scene that I loved dearly, and believed in totally. That scene was Jungle/DnB – I was a full on believer in it from maybe ’98 through ’04, and had followed it somewhat since ’96. For a while I had staked my reputation in moving up in the New York Jungle scene, and believed in it so strongly, its manner and method of presentation, its sounds, its people, its heroes, that I spent a good chunk of my paycheck each week on the latest tunes, and did everything I could to invest in it. And eventually, maybe suddenly, maybe gradually, I left it … but, perhaps in classic male behavior, managed to still be aggrieved, as though Jungle had abandoned me by becoming stale (although I maintain that it remained interesting for YEARS after many other critics marked it as dead). I somehow felt ripped, torn away from, and full of jagged edges because of my association with Jungle.

Now, I have no real cause for complaint...I was always an outsider even in that scene, and perhaps that’s why I never attained the heights I wanted to in it. But it didn’t matter...because how could one focus only on Jungle when Portishead, DJ Shadow, Boards of Canada, Jack Dangers, and Deadbeat among many others were all making brilliant creations explicitly or implicitly based on the awesome hip-hop, dancehall and roots music that had come out, continued to come out, and will keep coming out for a long time to come? Jungle I listened to dance too, those guys I listened to to LISTEN to. And I never thought a mix was worth its salt if you couldn’t LISTEN to it, in that way.

2008 and 2009 have brought us musical omnivores an overwhelming wealth of amazing music within the very loose umbrella of a genre that’s still struggling in vain for a name. Wonky has been applied, but wonky doesn’t really exactly cover the glitch/hyphy creations of EPROM, the synth-saturated psychedelics of Nosaj Thing, or the chunky beat creations of Bullion. At the end of the day I kind of just think of it as hip-hop, but what crazy hip-hop this is...Paul White’s arpeggiations that careen off into the stratosphere, LXC’s echoing drum beats that breath and drip with space, or Lazer Sword (and ½ of Lazer Sword Low Limit’s) superb melding of club music with trip-hop and the west-coast sound that’s pervading us here in San Francisco these days.

If there IS one artist on this mix who deserves the title of Wonky, it’s surely Dimlite, the crazy Swiss man who’s “Ravemond’s Young Problems” and “Quiz Tears” appear in the middle of the mix. These must surely be two of the most difficult tracks to mix together I've ever attempted, but in that challenge came the process of this to convey to the world just how wide and weird beat music is now, and how powerful it must be if it can support an artist like Flying Lotus going from playing small shows in his native LA to headlining festivals all over the world in the breathtakingly short span of two years.

So, for me as a veteran of the DnB scene, which often praises, above all else, flawless, seamless mixing, for this mix I attempted to work against myself by following in the presentational footsteps of Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer, and The Bug, three of our most successful guests at the San Francisco party Surya Dub I help throw. Gaslamp, but all three to a certain extent, present the music that I’ve grown to love over the past couple years like they were smashing the audience over the head with a hammer, which is kind of the only way to do it if you want to mix as fast as they do, layer the way they do, and interact with a music that, let’s face it, doesn’t lend itself to seamless mixing.

Now, ever the outsider, I’ve actually tried to reverse the reversal as I made the mix and meld many of these tracks together as seamlessly as I can, sneaking in Pink Floyd over Teleseen, or layer The Jungle Brothers, The Beatles, and Ghosts on Tape for as long as I can so that it’s difficult to know what’s going on, and what beat comes from where. To me that’s the great thing a DJ can do, and I can’t even recall the number of times when people refer to me as a mashup artists, and I’m like “Dude, I’m just a DJ."

So where am I going with this? Perhaps just to say that, in addition to everything else this mix could be for a listener, to me it was sort of catharsis, coming to terms with the kind of music that I listen to and love now, and kind of have always loved, and the best way, as a DJ, to present it, riding the jagged edge between seemless DJ and selector DJ, in the same way that the beats are full of rips and tears that befit new approaches to playing them.

And as a final note, this will probably be the last mix I do on Serato and using a sequencer (I’ve used Digital Performer for years). As of next week I dive fully into Ableton Live, since I think it’s the application that can let me both have the rips and tears I seem to need in my life, and yet also may be the way to stitch the beats and pieces back together into something seamless and beautiful. Wish me luck...

01. DJ Ted Stevens - IP Phone/I'm Bad (Senate Floor Recordings)
02. Disrupt - Hail The Robots (Jahtari)
03. LXC - Men Hiki Men (No Label)
04. Elliot Smith - Because (No Label)
05. Matthew David - DISK Track 6 (Leaving Records)
06. J Todd - Force Type D (Ryzzynyce - Self Release)
07. Low Limit - Turf Day (Rush Hour Forthcoming)
08. Bullion - Don't Talk (Pet Sounds: Songs in the Key of Dee - Self Release)
09. Plaid - Bo Bootch (Warp)
10. Nosaj Thing - Light #2 (Alpha Pup)
11. EPROM & Prof.I.See - Zoning (No Label)
12. B. Bravo - Midnight (SoundPieces/Frite Nite)
13. J Dilla - Make It Fast feat. Diz Gilbran [Unadulterated Mix] (Nature Sounds)
14. Porter Ricks - Polytoxic 2 (Force)
15. Nine Inch Nails - The Warning (Interscope)
16. Melkeveien - Melkeveien (Dodpop)
17. Sprutbass - Ulykke (Dodpop)
18. Hungry Ghost - Lo-Rez (No Label)
19. The Fixxers - Can U Werk Wit Dat (Interscope)
20. Ratatat - Mirando (XL)
21. Beat Konducta - Indian Bells (Stones Throw)
22. SirOJ - Telephone [Inst] (Yes Yes Y'all)
23. Tranqill - Payroll [Paul White's Clean Dub] (One-Handed Music)
24. Ras G - Shinelight (Brainfeeder)
25. Douglas Kahn - Regan Speaks for Himself (No Label)
26. Donovan - Season of the Witch (Epic)
27. Nosaj Thing - Light #1 (Alpha Pup)
28. Sepalot - Measured Amount (Rush Hour)
29. Dimlite - Ravemonds Young Problems (Rush Hour)
30. Dimlite - Quiz Tears (All City)
31. King Midas Sound - I Dub (Hyperdub)
32. Thom Yorke - Black Swan (XL)
33. Teleseen - Xion Gate (Percepts)
34. Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall Pt.1 (Harvest)
35. Low Limit - Out The Club (No Label)
36. Too $hort - Blow the Whistle [Gouseion Rmx] (Self Released)
37. Too $hort vs. Deceptikon - Weird Whistle [Kid Kameleon Edit] (No Label)
38. DJ BC - Lil Jonny Nogood [Lil John vs Terry Riley] (Self Released)
39. Jungle Brothers - Ultimatum Ultra Mix (Jungle Beats/Jungle Bass) (Mo Wax)
40. The Beatles - Hey Bulldog (Apple)
41. Ghosts on Tape - Woofer Cooker (No Label)
42. LL x Fam Lay - Beeper Creeper (Self Released)
43. Disrupt - Jah Red Gold and Green (Werk/Jahtari)
44. DJ Babu - Truth Be Told [Inst.] (Nature Sounds)
45. Tino - D.U.B. Dub (Tino Corp)
46. Wasteland - Wintermission (Tansparent)
47. Filastine - Singularities (Soot)
48. Dissident - Society of Silver Skeletons (Hot Shore)
49. Mono/Poly - MS-14 (No Label)


Anonymous TK said...

This is bangin. Making the work day pleasurable. Thanks.

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Kid Cameleon did a great job hi is the most talented new DJ of our era. I hope that someday he will be famous.

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Anonymous iserve pharmacy said...

Indeed it must had been a terrible to leave, but as they say, time heal everything.

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