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DJ Mixing and Scratching Without Turntables Or Records: The Art of the Tape-Jockey

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2013 08:08am | Post a Comment
        

These two early 90's video clips (above and below) explain and demonstrate the inspirational Soviet Union "tape-jockey" duo from Latvia featuring Pasaules and jeb Modris Skaistkalns known as Mr Tape. In the above 22 year old clip from the 1991 DMC Finals and introduced by DMC top man Tony Prince the two tape jockeys from Latvia (back then still part of the Soviet Union) demonstrate their craft. In the video below, from the same early nineties time period and produced in Amsterdam by Dutch TV, the two Latvian tape jockeys break down how they do what they do. Both loved techno house and hip-hop music with a passion. They also loved the concept of DJing (spinning & mixing beats, scratching, and beat-juggling etc.). The only problem was that, due to the market restrictions of their communist homeland, they literally had absolutely no access to the three main components that went into doing being a DJ in 1991:  Technics 1200 turntables, records, and a mixer. Most would give up at that point but not them. Instead in an inspired DJ McGyver like move they got two reel to reel tape decks, recorded songs onto individual reel-to-reels, and manually tweaked the tape machines to do some extra tricks: including building in a cross fader, and then then tapping their finger tips on the tape heads to get effects normally achieved on turntables and a mixer. In the DMC video they have no mixer but in the demo from Dutch TV they utilize a simple small mixer. I find this to be truly inspirational stuff because it proves that with a strong unstoppable passion for something coupled with a good imagination that you can overcome lack of resources and achieve your goals. 


Dutch TV interview with Mr Tape (1991)

Relevant Tags

Dmc (32), Tape-jockeys (1), Latvia (1), Tony Prince (1), Dj (27), Techno (34), Hip-hop (169), Reel-to-reel (1), Mixing (1), Scratching (1), Mr. Tape (1)