Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A hundred bucks don't get you very far these days, do it?

Meeting the Neighbors Special: Hey DJ

I couldn't help but hear monju bosatsu, when in response to the big ol' audioblog list he cried out, "Yes, but which ones are the *good* ones?" Corralling a new audioblog is a difficult enough task; if the type of music is one that you're unfamiliar with, it can be downright impossible... without a guide.

Herein, th' Hut will take hold of your hand and show you the sights from a select few of my favorite audioblogs, each one chockfulla downloading goodness for those willing to take a few chances... and who knows? Jordi sez you just might learn something along the way.

Today's theme is ONLINE DJs: remixers, mashers and mixers who ply their quasi-legal music on the great big intarweb. Many professional DJs put a lot of their work online to try and attract offers to gig; there's also a whole buncha auters and amateurs who love to post their efforts for review, but separating the wheat from the chaff can be tedious work. Here's two of the very best of what the Tofu thresher has reaped, complete with some descriptive testimony and a list of suggested grabs available for DL!

DJ Dopplebanger
Dopplebanger's stock in trade is mashes: elegant portmanteaus of songs that generally share little DNA at all, engineered into great, lively Frankensteins. Dopplebanger's diversity of taste and genre produces some great ideas that function much better than they sound on paper; both Aaliyah and 50 Cent improbably benefit from accompaniment provided by Sonic Youth, to say nothing of what Prince's "Gett Off" does to accentuate Missy's "Work It".

Dopplebanger's work succeeds in two different ways; first, as in the aforementioned examples, he reinforces the thrust of a song by finding a brother in arms. These kind of mashes are to the ear what a double martini is to your sobriety: more simply means MORE. Other tracks subvert one, or sometimes BOTH, of the original meanings in favor of some sort of musical blackbird pie. The addition of DJ Villeneuve's house music to Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" turns the two together into a delicate and sweet pastry; Mobb Deep is defanged by The Rapture, but not before they imbue the latter's double-dutch electro-pop an edginess that it could never accomplish on its own; the strange offspring of Khia, M83 and Aphex Twin (unimaginatively, but evocatively, titled "Pussylicker") is neither fish nor fowl, lurching wildly across the dancefloor like a wild beast.

DJ Dopplebanger is a mad beat scientist with a diverse and fabulous menagerie available at the click of a mouse; go forth and get down with the experiments.

Recommended tracks to DL: Don't miss the deceptively simple mashes of White Stripes with Biggie on "Hypnotize the Army", Vangelis with Grandmaster Flash on "Flash Runner" and A-Ha with the Jungle Brothers on "Take On Me Brotha"; the Usher over music from Clint Mansell's 'Requiem for a Dream' is a favorite that I've already hyped on th' Hut; there's also a brand new mash of Snoop and Justin's 'Signs' that ups the disco quotient considerably, leaving a potent ass-shaker of a track even MORE bootylicious than could be deemed possible.
A Poj remix is unmistakable; th' Masta likes to create "glitch" mixes, which is to say that everything is very finely chopped (and only lightly screwed). The final effect is that of an impossibly speedy and accurate digital dj, slashing songs into a thousand syncopated mini beats.

In theory, this sounds repetitive and unpleasant; but in practice, Poj's esoteric skills makes the spastic cuts amount to something more than just lost space. A listener familiar with the track will re-hear it again and be forced to reasses the music; a first time listener will discover an entirely different sonic landscape, filled with bumps and soundless valleys. This can be subtle, as on Poj's gentle doubletime beat mix of Massive Attack's "Teardrops", or revolutionary, as the violently jumpy reimagining of LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out" or the garage-meets-bebop remix Destiny's Child's "Jumpin', Jumpin'". Pojmasta mixes are often whimsical (the bouncing bass of the reimagined "Inspector Gadget"), hyperactive (the glitch-upon-glitch of the Madness' "Baggy Trousers") and imminently danceable (Kylie's extra slinky chopped-up "Slow"); the same holds true for his original electronic pieces ("D//E" and "Klapt" sound like early Richard D. James).

Poj's approach to DJing is downright zen: it's not what he adds to a track so much as what he takes away. By punching a thousand holes in a song, he has created a new readymade work of art. He also gets me up outta my seat; I think he'll do the same for you.

Recommended tracks to DL: The Poj take on "Toxic" long ago supplanted the original as my favorite, ditto for "Lucky Star" (the Basement Jaxx/Dizzee, not the Madonna). Even Diplo's 'Piracy' mix of M.I.A's "$10" pales beside Poj's. The long form "Scummer mix" provides thirty nonstop minutes of chopped and mashed excitement to liven up your run, party or bar mitzvah; I wouldn't want to live in a world without it.
Next time we'll take a peek at DJs Osymyso and FakeID.