01 October 2004

Turntablism 2

I know people don't always look at the comments so I thought I'd put this one up in the blog proper, just because, well, it taught me a lot:

These words are from Jemist (i think...apologies if I have the name wrong):

Turntablism is essentially part of the sub-genre defying push music continually loves to perpetuate. Throw an artist onto a soapbox, and they're more likely to try and describe their work as 'unique' and thus differentiate their experiences beyond the historical leanings responsible for their artistic upbringing.

At some point in time, the hip hop DJ oddly wanted to seperate themselves from the traditional notion of the DJ + MC mix, step up to the spotlight, sharpen up their skills, and present the music (note: the music) in a form that lay beyond those preconceptions hip hop had portrayed itself as (ie. James Brown beats mixed with the token scratch solo inbetween emcee verses). So, yes, it is a product of evolution, and it needed to step away from it's association with the emcees.

Turntablism is coined by the man responsible for Super Duck Breaks, itself a huge nod to Malcolm McLaren's Buffalo Gals/ Duck Rock effort. Here's what happened: DJs started looking for new sounds and redefine hip hop, and in order to do so, it (the DJs, really) started looking for new sources of inspiration. sounds/ what have you to draw upon. Turntablism is also sadly misrepresented --- any DJ with a Dirtstyle battle record scratching those World Famous Supreme Team samples now became a Turntablist. Is it all about scratching? Is it all about finding those vague dusty pieces of vinyl and constructing a deconstructed melange of samples? Beat juggling? This is again further confused by a new breed of crate diggers using those tools created in the 80s to produce 'instrumental hip hop', armed with SP-1200s and MPCs.

'Turntablism' was used by Babu to forge an identity for his work on the decks. A reminder that the turntable can be an instrument of its own with an infinite sound bank to work with. It really shouldn't be a genre as much as it is a descriptive element applied to hip hop (I've yet to find true and through examples of non hip hop oriented turntable work, and please notify me if I'm missing out!).

I think that the most concrete example of what Turntablism can create is D-Style's Phantasmagorea = yes, it's hip hop, but it's manipulated solely through a set of PDX-2000s. And the best examples of scratching ever are presented on 'Felonious Funk'. The turntable as an instrument, not as a glorified tool to segue one song into another.

And, in celebration of such blogging interactivity, here's some more turntablism to get your arms waggling:

Invizibl Skratch Piklz - word cut skratch

Mix Master Mike - ill shit

Rob Swift - dope on plastic

Locus Solus - the acquisition and control of fire

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