Friday, May 06, 2005

I met him in a swamp down in Dagoba...

Ok, so a couple of years ago, I decided to buy some turntables and learn how to DJ and scratch and whatnot. That little experiment didn't last terribly long, and my turntables are now collecting a nice layer of dust on top of the old layer of caked-on dust. But as a result of this short stint as a DJ (my DJ name was going to be either DJ Litigation or DJ Bitch), I started really enjoying DJ-related music such as techno/dance/house stuff, mixtapes, turntable scratching (The X-ecutioners are fantastic), etc. This new musical interest is how I stumbled upon the disc I'm about to talk abou, DJ Yoda's How to cut & Paste 80's Edition.

The most basic description of this this is that it's a mixtape. While this is on CD, the term "mixtape" has stuck for discs such as this. Most of the mixtapes that are out there these days tend to be hip-hop, and come in several varieties. There are the DJs who are friends with various well-known or semi-well-known artists and get exclusive or reworked tracks (my favorite of these guys is probably DJ Green Lantern - we'll probalby visit him on a different Friday). There are also one which feature new, independent and unheard of "street" artists. And, there are ones which try to make themseleves look something like these, but which are really just a fairly transparent marketing attempt. Typically, these mixtapes include extended portions of the featured tracks, but not necessarily the whole track. Unlike the mixtape you made for that eighth-grade special-someone, the individual tracks are usually masterfully and seamlessly blended together, creating a non-stop 70-80 minutes of music.

What we have here is, to some extent, that type of mixtape ideology applied to 80s tunes. However, the songs themselves are not really remixed or reworked. Instead, DJ Yoda gives us smaller snippets of many more tracks - there are 39 tracks in all, covering such 80s tunes as Rapture, Mickey, White Lines (Don't Do It) and one of my own all-time faves, The Final Countdown. Again, most of these are just fragments/segments of the songs, mixed up and shuffled together. As with the mixtapes I described above, everything flows seamlessly. However, don't expect a VH1 80's type of disc, because this isn't it. For one thing, playing sometimes-over and sometimes-under many parts of the disc are various quotes from movies and TV (Ferris Bueller probably makes the largest showing). The other thing about this disc, and the thing liable to turn many people off of it, is that it has a lot of scratching. Typically, it's the movie/TV quotes getting scratched to the beats of the songs, but not always. If you're not into DJ scratching at all, you could very easily grow to hate this CD.

Now I love this disc, and it's been playing in my car pretty much non-stop all week. However, to be fair, I've read some reviews of it online (I was curious to see what others think) which panned this as not being a real mixtape, as being lazy in choosing mostly common 80s tunes, etc. I, for one, don't care, because it's just fun to listen to. And if you dig some scratching and similar hip-hop elements, and also dig the 80s, I think you'll also find this disc to be quite fun.


At 7:00 PM, Blogger EmoRiot said...

I love the people who will criticize this for picking the most popular 80s tunes. I mean, that's what this tape is all about. Sure he could have filled it with B-sides of obscure Kraftwerk vinyl remixes and quotes from Beaches... but it's not about finding obscure 80s cuts. It's about giving people something they apparently can't get enough of... the same 80s tunes that are played on the I Love the 80s shows on radio and TV.

The people criticizing him are the same people that have college radio shows playing noise rock and think the only thing keeping this shit off of mainstream radio is "the man."

People want pop music and they want their 80s retrospectives to include Falco, Human League, Divo, and Ferri Bueller!

You can have my indy radio station but leave my 80s CDs alone critic people!

Oh, and this sounds awesome. I have to get this CD.


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