Amoeblog

The State of Turntablism/Skratch Music in 2011: Part 2 with Christie Z Pabon, DJ Slyce, DJ Quest, Snayk Eyez, DJ ALF, DJ Needlz, ThatKidNamedCee, & Jimmy The Hideous Penguin

Posted by Billyjam, October 7, 2011 12:26pm | Post a Comment
Coinciding with the ongoing 2011 DMC World DJ Championships happening currently in London, England at the 02 Arena's Indig02 this is the second in a two-part Amoeblog series on the current state of turntablism/skratch music (here's yesterday's Amoeblog). Note that the results for the DMC World DJ Championship battles (which end by midnight Friday, Oct 7th, UK time = 4pm West Coast time) will be published tomorrow in the Hip-Hop Weekly Rap Up Amoeblog. As you know turntablism is a musical form born out of hip-hop by the DJ but not given an actual name until  the mid nineties when DJ Babu coined the term turntablism to describe the DJ as a turntable manipulation artist - one as worthy of respect as any other musical instrumentalist. By that stage I personally had already been a convert for a good decade and a half to this infectious component of hip-hop music. In fact when I first heard hip-hop in its formative days I was drawn more to the DJ than the MC. And ever since I've been hooked on the sound of scratching and spellbound by beat juggling and all the other skilled moves that the DJ as mixer & turntable master so effortlessly throws down. To me this musical style, unique to hip-hop and whose pioneers included Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Grand Wizzard Theodore (creator of the scratch), has always been deserving of its own genre or at least sub-genre.  And as a diehard fan and supporter of DJ scratching from hip-hop's earliest days when I first heard in the late 70's through all the years later up to and beyond including that point when QBert altered the spelling of the word from scratch to skratch, I have thoroughly enjoyed closely following its evolvement; warmly witnessing turntablim/skratch music's creative growth as it blossomed with a seemingly never ending array of new sounds generated by an ever-progressing arsenal of new styles and techniques been added to this vibrant art form. 

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2011 DMC World DJ Championships, Happening Today & Tomorrow In London, Generates Both Interest & Discussion

Posted by Billyjam, October 6, 2011 01:47pm | Post a Comment


Today and tomorrow (Oct 6th & 7th) one of the most important events in hip-hop and DJ culture takes place in London: the 2011 DMC World DJ Championships at the 02 Arena's Indig02 in which the top hip-hop battle DJs from 21 countries (reppin' the USA is DJ Vajra - full DJ battle details above) battle it out in this Turntablist World Cup in three major battle categories: DMC World Final, DMC Battle for World Supremacy, and DMC World Team. Additionally this two day scratch DJ event will present a bunch of great showcases including ones by last year's DMC World Champ DJ Ligone from France, the 2003 Supremacy Champ DJ Tigerstyle, three time DMC World Supremacy Champ DJ Switch (who'll perform the piece: Concerto for Turntables), plus an anticipated triple threat set from the revered X-ecutioners' Total Eclipse, DJ Precision, & Rob Swift.
 
This year's DMC battle comes at a time when turntablism or skratch music seems to be on a comeback in popularity on a global level. It's always been popular but after its honeymoon with the mainstream in the late nineties it seemed somewhat dormant (in actuality it had just gone underground). But lately there's been a noticeable increased interest in DJ battles like the DMC and turntablist events like Ireland's annual Community Skratch Games of the past few years or the recent Thud Rumble presentedFader Fest in San Francisco with the reunited Invisibl Skratch Piklz as trio (QBert, D-Styles, Shortkut) and showcases from the likes of US DMC representative DJ Vajra. There seems to be a flurry of new turntablist releases lately too including ones from DJ ALF, Teeko, DJ Needlz, ThatKidNamedCee, Jimmy the Hideous Penguin, and DJ Quest who is about to release this month his latest turntablist album Cosmic Parasite (a collaborative effort with the two former bandmates from his original DJ crew Bullet Proof Scratch Hamster (BPSH) - DJ Cue and Eddie Def).

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As He Prepares To Celebrate the Bomb Hip-Hop 20 Year Anniversary Dave Paul Looks Back At His Long & Varied Music Career

Posted by Billyjam, September 29, 2011 06:58am | Post a Comment

DJ, broadcaster, club promoter, concert producer, journalist, publicist, magazine publisher, music producer, record label owner, webmaster, and iPhone app designer are just a few of the titles that have applied to Dave Paul over the years. But the San Francisco born and bred Paul is probably best known for both his respected Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine, that began 20 years ago (hence the Bomb 20 Year Anniversary party tomorrow night at Madrone Bar in San Francisco) and his pioneering Bomb Hip-Hop record label that came a few years later, and would be instrumental in helping propel the global turntablist movement thanks to his influential Return of the DJ series.

I first met Dave back in the late 80's when he was at KCSF out of City College of San Francisco  doing a weekly hip-hop radio show called Beat Box Fridays (he'd already been DJing for a good five years at that point) and was immediately impressed with what an ambitious, hard-working, self-driven, and focused individual he was - but never in an overbearing or unpleasant way. Dave is just a genuinely nice guy: someone you want to be around and someone who is always upfront and always passionate about his work. He is also never one to rest on his laurels. 

Since I've known him he has been a hustler; up at the crack of dawn working hard on whatever project he has going on at the time. Key to his success is that he doesn't wait for things to have to be done - he projects ahead and initiates change in the present: like how one day he developed an iPhone app for Bomb Hip-Hop. And as times change (especially in the ever fickle music industry) Dave always seems prepared; constantly evolving and expanding his skill base.

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The Ever-Prolific DJ Swamp Shooting New Music Video Today in Riverside, CA

Posted by Billyjam, August 17, 2011 10:00am | Post a Comment

DJ Swamp "Invasion of the B-Girls" (2011)


Ever since DJ Swamp first arrived on the music scene in 1996, when the unique long-haired turntablist with an affinity for setting his turntables on fire in his performances took the national DJ battle title of USA DMC Champion (his first year in the contest!), he has remained both an ever-engaging figure and a most prolific artist. Over the past dozen-plus years, the Cleveland-born/West Coast-based turntable artist/producer/vocalist has been mad busy consistently performing live (both solo and with others; many first got introduced to him as Beck's DJ) and recording a slew of solo projects, including his excellent Never Ending Drum & Bass Loops album series and many other DJ skratch tools vinyl releases (all self-released on his own Decadent Records label). DJ Swamp has also collaborated with or made cameos for a long list of other artists including the likes of his old touring mate Beck,  Kool Keith, RL Burnside, Devo, StickY fingaz, Kid Rock, Crystal Method, BT, Hanson, Richard Humpty Vission, The Bloodhound Gang, Morcheeba, Ill Kid, The Dandy Worhals, and Faithless.

Most recently, the DJ has been especially prolific cranking out music videos and, having released the new album Vinyl Disciple earlier this year, a new series of videos to accompany this rock-tinged, hip-hop/electro/breakbeat driven skratch album. Just last Friday, he unleashed the above video for the new album's song "Invasion of the B-Girls," which comes hot on the heels of numerous other music videos he made this year, including "Rock Rollin," the new album's title track, and "Pyro," which were all completed in the past few months. Today (Wednesday, August 17th) he is shooting yet another music video! This one is for "Feast of Flesh," also off the new Vinyl Disciple album.

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Easter Weekend In Ireland Is Synonymous With Hip-Hop's Four Elements: Amoeblog Report On The 2010 Community Skratch Games & The 3rd Annual All City Tivoli Jam

Posted by Billyjam, April 6, 2010 04:16pm | Post a Comment
All City Tivoli Jam 2010

For the third consecutive year, two excellent, true skool hip-hop festivals took place over the long Easter weekend in Ireland-- the DJ themed Community Skratch Games in Galway in the West of Ireland and the graffiti & b-boy themed 3rd Annual All City Tivoli Jam on the opposite coast in the country's capital, Dublin. Both were highly successful and relatively intimate-scale events, drawing a few hundred die-hard hip-hop heads between the two bi-coastal gatherings. Of course, having two similarly themed events taking place in a country as small as Ireland, where hip-hop happenings like this don't occur often, presents a dilemma for fans who are forced to choose one over the other since they happen at the exact same time on opposite coasts of Ireland. Hence, to properly cover this past weekend's two events for the Amoeblog, I hopped on a bus and headed cross country to Galway to attend the Community Skratch Games while my man, and frequent Amoeblog Irish reporter, Tall Paul Lowe, stayed in Dublin for the All City Tivoli Jam.  Community Skratch Games 2010

Now in its fourth year, the aptly named Community Skratch Games (CSG), which features several DJ based showcases and a scratch DJ battle over the long weekend, is truly all about community with a genuine emphasis on fun & camaraderie rather than on competition & seriousness. In fact, the prize for the winner of the CSG's annual DJ battle is not a trophy (a la the famed DMC or ITF battles) but a big bag of Irish breakfast meats (rashers, sausages, black pudding etc., all supplied by the local butcher) that the winning DJ traditionally shares with the other participants in a big breakfast cookout on "Skratch Monday" after all events are over. At this year's DJ battle on Saturday night (dubbed the "Community Skratch Open Freestyle Battle Royale"), ten turntablists went head to head, scratching for 16 bars each. To help mark the end of each 16 bars, drummer Tony Higgins dramatically crashed two cymbals together to the obvious entertainment of the packed crowd.

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