Thursday, 29 August 2013

August 2013 ABU Takeover Show - TONITE!

It's the last Thursday of the month and I will be presenting a special show on my ABU Takeover for Disco Scratch Radio tonight celebrating the 40th birthday of hip hop.
Plus last weekend was an event commemorating Wild Style's 30th Anniversary (more details about that to come) so I couldn't let this month slide by without a special mention on the show.

The show begins at 9pm but there will be audio running before that for the earlybirds.

Live stream:


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Tonight's Disco Scratch Radio session

Waxer is away for this evening so I will be assisting in providing tonight’s audio entertainment for Disco Scratch Radio.
Be sure to listen in at 9pm as there will be two dj mixes being dropped tonight; both are essential listening for different reasons……
And like Radio Norwich, tonight’s slogan is ‘more music, less talk‘.

Mix 1

DJ Moneyshot Presents Solid Steel And The Hour Of Chaos

Mix 2

To be revealed.........

To listen live go to:

and the chatroom is:

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Hip Hop Is 40

Yes, today hip hop is 40 years old - as are most of it's fans these days ;-)

The birthplace of hip hop is generally regarded as 1520 Sedgewick Avenue , the Bronx, New York City. This of course was where Kool Herc held his first party which was to unveil to the world the process of spinning two copies of the same record to create a continuous loop for the dancers (b-boys). This party took place on August 11th 1973.

The "Cindy C" mentioned above as one of the "special guests" is none other than Herc's sister, Cindy who the party was actually organised by.

Some say hip hop is dead. I say they're just not looking hard enough. It's all around us, sometimes not appearing anything like it once was but it's there. The real hip hop will forever remain because we grew up with it and it is such a part of us that it will never die.

Further reading:

This is very recommended. From the Hip Hop & Politics blog

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Crucial 4 - An Honest Album Review

Okay. To begin I am taking off my rose-tinted specs because I want to be as open as possible here. I am not affiliated with Street Sounds in any way whatsoever and was not given a copy of the album for review purposes so this is wholly independant.

So, I recently listened to the whole of Street Sounds' hotly-anticipated CRUCIAL 4 cd.
Beginning with Mantronik's/Mantronix' own Who Is It this has been remixed exclusively for the album ("Crucial Electro 4 Version") with a 'modern-day' hip hop type beat which is thankfully only sporadically used although there is a bit of wobbly bass throughout. Extra razor-sharp edits are employed and being a fan of this technique (hell, I loved it on the first Mantronix album) I enjoyed the use. The main song hasn't really been messed with too much so no drastic changes here.

On the whole, the content of the first disc is great with some of my personal favourites included such as DMX Will Rock (essential), Knights Of The Turntables (brilliant faux-history lesson) and Marley Marl Scratch (a turntablist's delight). In fact the only let-down is the El Bruto's Bankster Edit of Divine Sounds What People Do For Money (the original is also included). The title is indeed correct here in which it is not remixed but rather edited (including some aforementioned razor-sharp edits) and seems a bit out of place in this collection.

Now, the actual Crucial Mix itself. Mixed by the man Kurtis Mantronik with what is suspiciously like a copy of Ableton or similar dj mixing software without a hint of vinyl being manipulated (i.e., scratching).
The trouble with digital dj-ing is that if you're not careful you can put together a mix with unnecessary embellishments and become over-reliant on technology thus making you become lazy. With the previous Crucial albums there was an onus on mixing - creatively - and what is happening here is that Kurtis is using looping, filters and other effects a lot more than is needed. However it is 2013 and as technology has moved on then perhaps then so has the need for this type of mixing.
There are some odd pieces in this mix it must be said, the first being a very strange edit in which Knights Of The Turntables mixes in out of Marley Marl Scratch where MC Shan is actually cut off mid-sentence which comes across as very amateur. There's a terrible part in Monster Beat where the tempo increases like an out of control runaway train - I didn't know how fast it was going to get but it sure as hell wasn't subtle. And then after yet more unnecessary looping in the mix it segues into the oddly-edited (by Chad Jackson) yet totally appropriately-titled Looking For The Perfect Beat which is only 4 BPMs slower than it's original 119 yet feels tortuously stretched - probably as a result of hearing the previously 'chipmonked' track.
Crucial 3 (1987)
I can't help but think of the beauty and jaw-dropping inventiveness of my favourite Crucial in the series, volume 3 from 1987. The segue from Alice I Want You Just For Me into Can You Feel It? Bassline into Bite This and then Megamix II? Or how about Hold It Now, Hit It into South Bronx where it seems that KRS is commenting on (the late) MCA?
Now that is some genius mixing courtesy of Mastermind on the GLI.

I don't want to come off as a Street Sounds hater here because that's not the point. But when you are kept waiting for much longer than is necessary for a proposed release (floods in Europe?) and then finally get to listen to what is quite frankly a poorly-executed mix by someone who has (had?) the intuition to know better. Considering there are probably hundreds of people who would've loved to have had a crack at doing this Crucial Mix I wonder what went wrong?

Of course you could never have EVERY track included on this album to please EVERYONE but from what is here I am happy with (re-edits notwithstanding).

So to conclude, hardly the "groundbreaking" album we were expecting as far as mixing goes. A pale imitation of its' namesake mates and probably best not to put it in such classic company. This album reminds me of an Electro album SS put out almost ten years ago entitled The Definitive Electro & Hip Hop Collection' which although had a great selection also had a rather dodgy mix. However that mix was still better than this even though it was done by an ex-Kiss FM RnB dj.

One has to ask though was this album necessary? When put up against the three other volumes it cannot compete. Was it strictly for the 'fans', the ones who blindly follow SS regardless of it's quality who command a freakishly god-like devotion to the cultish Mr Khan?

Maybe next time some more stringent quality-control wouldn't go amiss to make it a return to how essential and crucial listening these albums actually were.

Further reading:

Street Sounds Facebook page

Discogs Crucial 4 reviews

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Style Wars on the Big Screen

I received a nice email from Cynthia who runs OpineLA, a 'what's on' blog for anyone wishing to visit the city of Los Angeles. She linked me to a story she'd written in that LA had recently had a
big-screen showing of the documentary with a panel led by Catherine Keener (a key fund-raiser for the restoration project) comprising of various people including Henry Chalfont and also SKEME.

Sounds good, right?
Imagine you'd never seen Style Wars before and this was your first time. Yep, this was Cynthia.
Talk about a wonderful opportunity! She says she absolutely loved it - the lines, the people (Skeme & his mother!), the fans, the whole spectacle.
She was originally switched on via my home-made SW Soundtrack which can be found here.

To read the whole article on OpineLA just visit this link here and get ready to feel a little jealous.

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