Amoeblog

Five Year Anniversary of Passing of Pioneering DJ Grand Master Roc Raida

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2014 12:04pm | Post a Comment
On this date, September 19th, five years ago the hip-hop world was shocked to learn the tragic news that super-talented DJ Grand Master Roc Raida had died from cardiac arrest at age 37. The totally unexpected death, following a week of being hospitalized, was due to medical complications relating to an accident that the DJ encountered a few weeks previously while training in the contact combat self-defense system known as Krav Maga. Later today on my weekly hip-hop radio show on WFMU I will be honoring the legacy of the DMC world champion DJ who most got to know via his membership of the X-Men/X-Ecutioners but who, over his illustrious prolific career, worked with a wide array of artists that included MF Grimm, Big Pun, Pink, Linkin Park, Jungle Brothers, Nelly, Opio, The Beatnuts, Mike Patton, and Dilated Peoples.

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Sunday Spins DJ Series Begins June 1 With Allah-Las' Miles Michaud

Posted by Billy Gil, May 30, 2014 10:10am | Post a Comment
Miles Michaud
Miles Michaud of Allah-Las

Amoeba Hollywood’s Sunday Spins DJ series in June will begin this Sunday with Miles Michaud, the frontman for hazy L.A. garage-rockers Allah-Las. He’ll be spinning at the store starting at 5 p.m. The June series is curated by our friends at LA Record and takes place every Sunday in June at 5 p.m.

Michaud’s set is a perfect introduction to the new series—he and other members of Allah-Las got their start working at Amoeba Hollywood, so it’s a homecoming of sorts. The band’s excellent, self-titled debut is out now on Innovative Leisure. Check out my interview with the band here.

Here’s their video for “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind,” taken from Allah-Las:

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Shing02 + DJ $HIN's New Icon Series Dedicated to the Technics SL-1200 Turntable

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2013 08:21am | Post a Comment
"I think it's beautiful that we all contributed to this cultural movement of hip-hop, though some unwillingly, from the engineers to the marketing guys to the DJs, that's how instruments change history when they're taken out of the original context.. Just like how the Hammond organ was designed for church music and Leslie speakers came along to jazz things up, or when distortion was introduced to the electric guitar, and so on. The invention of mixing breaks and scratching transformed the idea of music as we know it, and it owed a great deal to Technics SL-1200s, which was only meant to be a high-end record player for audiophiles." - That's DJ/producer/musician and occasional contributor to the Amoeblog Shing02 talking to me recently on his clearly passionate feelings towards the Technics SL-1200 turntable and its importance to DJ and hip-hop culture. His admiration for the Technics turntable is so great that, along with fellow  SL-1200 fanatic DJ $HIN, Shing02 recently unveiled the webpage Wheels of Steel: Technics SL-1200 series folder icons dedicated exclusively to that  beloved DJ instrument that a few years ago, to the shock of many DJs, ceased being manufactured.

As both a fan and practitioner of hip-hop Shing02 says that he cannot but hold deep respect and love for the Technics SL-1200. It was this feeling of awe for the turntable as to why he and DJ $HIN decided to set up the the icon series dedicated to "one of the most impressive runs in modern design achievements." The icons in the image above were each assembled from dozens of pictures found online, and reflect every model upgrade including function, buttons, lights, and finish. The website also outlines the history of the model which began back in 1970 when Japan's Matsushita Electric (later to become Panasonic Corp.) introduced direct-drive turntables (SP-10), updating and upgrading the model throughout that decade. It was in 1972 when they introduced the SL-1200 MK1. The website notes how the 1210 series was the European counterpart to the 1200s as well as how the company continued to manufacture many direct drive models before the MK2 in 1979 which would go on to become "the de facto industry standard." The following three decades of models resulted in only minor alterations in design. The very last model would be the MK6 Technics SL-1200 model in 2008. Two years later, in October 2010, the company ceased all production of the beloved turntable. Below is my conversation with Shing02 about the turntable and the new icon series whose future updates will include interviews with some retired Technics engineers.

Amoeblog: What made you guys decide to do this icon series dedicated to the 1200's?

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DJ Traps Wins 2013 SF Regional DMC Battle

Posted by Billyjam, April 29, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment

DJ Traps working his winning routine @ last night's 2013 San Franciso Regional DMC DJ Battle

Proving that you really can make lemonade out of lemons DJ Traps - last night's winner of the  2013 San Francisco Regional DMC DJ Battle - shared during his acceptance speech that his personal life had not been going so good lately but that, via his craft, he had managed to turn all that negativity into something positive. "I been through a lot of shit recently," admitted the winner of the prestigious DJ battle without going into detail. "But I took it all out here," he said gesturing towards the two turntable and mixer set up on which he had just done his stunning six minute winning routine of the heated, high caliber DJ battle.

The competition - the second annual Bay Area DMC Regional in a row after a noticeable six year gap of any DMC battles in the Bay - was a fun and talent-packed turntable competition that was as much a DJ battle as it was a reunion and gathering of Bay Area hip-hop DJs of the past few decades. In addition to young DJ cats like Santa Rosa competitor DJ Lazy Boy (aka Gregory The Great) there were OG Bay Area DJs like DJ Apollo, Pos Red, DJ Quest, and QBert who all started out in the 80's as well as next generation DJs like Teeko, Snayk Eyez, and Golden Chyld who arrived on the scene in the 90's. The whole event, that ran from mid afternoon into the evening at Neck of The Woods on Clement St. in San Francisco, exuded good vibes and a shared love by all in the house for hip-hop DJ'ing and scratch music. DJ Lazy Boy, who placed third in the competition, said during his acceptance speech onstage with DJ Apollo - the MC of the night - that he had grown up listening to the Triple Threat DJ crew (the Bay Area supergroup featuring Apollo along with Shortkut and Vin Roc - another one of the night's judges) and that he used to practice his DJing to, using routines done by Apollo as his template, noting that "it was an honor" to now be onstage alongside his turntable hero.
 
Following a great warm up set by Mista B, who dug deep in his crates to spin lots of old school and golden era classics (Grandmaster Flash + Furious Five featuring Melle Mel, Run DMC, Audio Two, etc.) plus a bunch of throwbacks from the Bay Area including IMP/Cougnut and Rated X/C-Funk, the SF DMC battle started with the first round of each of eight DJs doing two minute routines.

Show Recap: DJ Nu-Mark at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, March 4, 2013 05:15pm | Post a Comment

DJ Nu-Mark AmoebaDJ Nu-Mark spun a set frontloaded with hits and gradually growing weirder Feb. 28 at Amoeba Hollywood. Through promoting his fine Broken Sunlight album, released last year, the DJ stuck with a more traditional set of blending well-known records into one another. He got the audience percolating with an “L.A., California” refrain, building a beat with booming bass and classic funk horns as a crowd of DJ Nu-Mark Broken Sunlightbeatheads nodded on. He worked in The Jackson 5's “ABC,” The O’Jays “For the Love of Money,” Men Without Hats’ “The Safety Dance,” Phil Collins’ “You Can’t Hurry Love,” the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.,” Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Ni**as in Paris,” a remix of Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun,” Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” Oasis’ “Wonderwall” and many other songs. The set started with big hits everyone knew and moved into more obscure sounds — an extended didgeridoo part, instrumental passages, “Kung Fu Fighting” with an underwater effect, a muzak version of “Satisfaction.” Nu-Mark worked with a minimal set-up of a laptop and two turntables, moving quickly between songs and grooving hard, keeping the energy alive even as the set grew more challenging. See more photos of the performance here.

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