There's a new breed of DJ emerging in the subterranean. In the mainstream, you have these cats making their name off of mixtapes of the latest shitty, ringtone gangstaism nonsense, where they yell their stupid name every 3 seconds with some dumb-ass sound effect. (Hey, mixtape DJs: you know who thinks the sound of whooshing fighter jets is really cool? Six year old boys. And what's with the air raid siren? Is that like the only other sound effect you have? Are you reppin' the Blitz? What's the story?)
But underground there's a new breed emerging. Like C.H.U.D.s with Technics. Technichuds? Whatever, these cats are killing it. They're creating whole soundscapes out of other people's tunes, ones which are thoughtful, engaging, rocking, playful, explorative, fascinating, and just plain dope as fuck. What they're doing is long-wave sampling.
Originally DJs took just the best breaks to make records. Then you had a limitation on the early samplers of 8 seconds or something, so samples got shorter. Innovators like the Bomb Squad started taking minute slices and making songs with them; RZA took this to another level by using isolated shards of funk. By legal necessity samples got shook, shrunk, sliced and diced.
These cats do it galaxy-size. They make cohesive hour-long songs out of other people's breaks, songs, movies, what have you. They're not constrained by genre or style or legality. If it's dope, if it fits, it goes in. Just as old school DJs soaked the labels off their vinyl so no one could jack their breaks, these DJs mix it and lump it and don't show off their tracklistings. Just like when DJs use a sample or a break you recognize but can't quite put your finger on right away, these cats do it with songs.
They're jumping off from the mixes Steinski, Coldcut and Cut Chemist did, but using a wider variety of stuff, and using the newer, iller sounds that are around--the illbient, sneakergazer, dubstep, all that other unclassifiable shit.
They ain't doing compilations and this ain't your Spring Break Party Mix or your Mixtape For Girl I Want To Screw. This is DJ art in album-length. I will never be as good as these cats. I will study them. I will try to do what they do. I will ape them. I will fail.
I'm gonna talk about Dday One's new approach to jazz/hip-hop and Gaslamp Killer's fusion of hip-hop, eclecticism and serial killer stylee another time. But today it's DJ Pain.
Pain brings down a serious vibe, not as heavy as Gaslamp Killer but there's a definite hardness and weight to his beats. All of his shit appears to be free, so there's no excuse not to check 'em out. His scratching is Grade Fuckin' A. His mixing is seamless--you just can't hear quite where one song goes into another. He drops some seriously ill samples, mostly movies but just enough hip-hop signifying that you don't go, 'wait, this is a bunch of arty Ninja Tunes type of electronic crap.' I think he's dropping beats in there, too, because the beats are superb and hard-ass, and if he's actually crate-digging that much ill, moody stuff with such ill beats, well, I want those crates.
The Day The Earth Stood Still samples a bunch from the original flick, not the dumbass Keanu remake, on top of sick beats. It's almost exhausting, it brings you through so many moods. This is maybe the absolute strongest. Get it here.
The Road To Oblivion brings the nuclear heat, with samples from Wargames, Miracle Mile, The Day After, Bay of Pigs interviews, and other shit. Let me put it like this: He drops in samples from those Bush State of the Union remixes I ran earlier over what sounds like a Prefuse73 or Four Tet beat, then drops the beat for a Meryl Streep in Adaptation sample. Get it here.
Hermanos Del Pulpo (which means brüder der krake or 章鱼的兄弟, for my Chinese brethren) with DJ Chaps One. This one is the weakest, I think, much more eclectic in bringing in rock and more straight electronic type stuff. Enough good shit on there to curse the lack of a tracklist though... Get it here.
The Odd Side of the Sun is a megamix of Odd Nosdam beats. If you like Odd Nosdam, this is like fucking manna. If you hate Odd Nosdam, well, it's probably like sticking a dentist's drill in your ear for an hour. I have to say a lot of it I didn't recognize, which might be the weaker ON tracks I've ditched, but he does do some good mixing with it and brings in that large, distorted fuzz-beat sound. Maybe not the strongest outing though. Get it here.
You know what, there's not all that much I can say about these except drop a bunch of adjectives, 'cuz he doesn't do tracklistings and I can only pick out a few breaks here and there. If you like that weird, heavy instrumental shit with proper hip-hop flavor, check it.
In a lot of ways these DJs are hipsters of a kind, on the underground, totally eclectic and crate diggin', but there's something egoless and humbling about being a DJ: you can only be so egotistical when you only speak with your hands, only be so pretentious in crafting a good mix.