Reminiscent of Double Dee and Steinski’s seminal ‘Lessons’ series but with the added bonus of being done live rather than over painstaking months with a razor and sticky tape, Brainfreeze is the hip-hop tour de force from DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist.
Consisting of two 25-ish minute mixes entitled Uno and Dos, Brainfreeze started life as a recording of a practice session for a series of shows that the pair were to perform in ’99. It’s a masterclass in cutting,scratching and beat-juggling old funk and soul 45s, slicing sections of tracks in and out of one another whilst maintaining the overall flow of the mix, which in my opinion is something a lot of more ‘technical’ DJs can forget in an effort to flex their skills.
By way of making up for my poor show on the last Three on a Thursday, I though I’d shower your ears with some more audio loveliness in the form of the next installment of the Mixtape Madness series, and give you another ‘so-good-it-changes-what-you-think-a-mixtape-can-be’ mix, to chase away the dreary weather outside.
Now this is the real shit…
Personal Golf Instructions is probably the mix that made me take up DJing, so these boys have a lot to answer for. Up until the point that I heard this mix I thought DJing was all about playing crap trance, and whanging half of Columbia’s National Product up your nose, but this mixtape showed me it was possible to do something different, taking a big batch of genres and odd samples stir ‘em all up and come out with something, and not only manage to make it work but to make it sound utterly awesome. For that, I’m forever grateful to The Nextmen.
Brad and Dom show some serious skills covering the bases from hip-hop, via the dancehall , electropop , reggae, disco, funk, soul and some drum and bass all tied together with a series of samples lifted from what sounds like old Arnold Palmer golf instructional record. For a good few years this was only available on CD, and was a bugger to get hold of, leading to it costing a small fortune, but now, thanks to the internerd, it’s available to all. Despite being released in ’04 this has barely aged a jot and is still a ‘go-to’ mix for me for warming a houseparty up …
Was discussing the blog with an mate of mine over a few beers at weekend, and we starting pondering over what mixes should be given the dubious honour of being featured as part of the ‘Mixtape Madness’ series. A fair few names came up and will show up on the blog over the next few weeks and months, but the first one that both of thought of was this beaut, and I got an understandable barracking for not having put it up yet. This is a terrible ommision and will be sorted forthwith.
In some sort of vague attempt to make up for the lack of a Ctrl:Alt:TheBeat recording for you this week, I was going to give you some classic Nextmen shizzle as the next in my Mixtape Madness series. Then as if to taunt me, another spanner was thrown in the works when the mix I was going to point you at was taken down so at short notice I’ve selected another for you, and it’s an absolute corker.
To be frank, I’d be slightly surprised if you didn’t know Coldcut / Journeys by DJ – 70 Minutes of Madness, as it’s probably one of the most influential mixes of the last 20 years, spawning many imitators but to my mind, never being beaten.
Looking at the track list it seems almost wilfully schizophrenic, covering genres as from dub, drum & bass, house, techno, hip-hop, poetry, experimental electronica, jazzed up breaks and Dr Who, but somehow Ninja Tune founding fathers Matt Black and Jonathan More manage to not only make it work, but also raise it to an artform, with the tracks forming an almost continuous whole shifting between moods and styles effortlessly. It really is that good.
I spend quite a lot of time digging to find new tunes for my shows, and quite often this involves listening through tons of mixes. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can get away with sitting at my desk plugged in to my iPod ploughing through the reams and reams I download, picking up the odd gem here and there, but most of them are a bit ‘meh’.
Sometime however you pick up a belter, and I thought that in order to save you from the dross, I’d throw up some of the good ones I’ve found over the years up on the blog for your enjoyment. So from today, every few weeks I’ll try to post a new one for you – it might be new, it might be old , but it’ll be a cracking selection of tunes.