linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


al-haca sound and some rndm observations

al-haca soundsystem at beat research, halloween '05

this past monday al-haca soundsystem presented some beat research to a festive halloween crowd. (note the nose on the right.) my own shots seem appropriately ghostly, but al-haca have some clearer pics-and-ting up on their blog. the beat research boys brought out the special soundsystem once again, and al-haca did not disappoint in their use of the woofer. the berlin-based duo display a clear penchant for what ghislain poirier calls "HUGE ASSHOLE BASS," and their electro-infused syncopations struck a balance between trippy teutonic techno and downright dubby dancehall. at times rather reminiscent of the bug, al-haca also threw down some steady 4/4 stompers, though these tracks didn't have the heft of their 3:2 cuts. MC RQM's stream-of-consciousness flow frequently added to the dense textures, cutting across the beats with his over-the-bar rhyme schemes, while producer/laptop-selector MCC coaxed some killer sounds from ableton-live and a wicked effects-box--entirely his own productions, i believe, though perhaps a few by their colleague and collaborator, stereotyp. afterwards, i asked christian about how they fit into the burgeoning german reggae scene. he told me that al-haca is perceived as pretty "leftfield," which apparently suits them just fine.

rndm blending it up

following al-haca was boston's own dj rndm, a young DJ who's been making waves with his expert blends of hip-hop and pop-rock-etc. though his aesthetic fits right into the current craze for mashups, his approach is quite different from--and more demanding than--all of us software-employing mashers. rndm creates live blends on two turntables, using a keen ear for harmonic combinations and some deft skills on the 1s and 2s. restricted to vinyl and technics/techniques, rndm forces himself to find songs that can be made to match without changing them too radically, a constraint that produces some really creative and compelling mixes. somehow rndm is able to recuperate even those classic-rock songs that we could all stand never to hear again, often by dropping some serious crunkness on top.

i've been digging his blends for a while now, and it's always a treat to see and hear him do his thing in the moment. for this halloween session, he pulled out all the stops, blending the themes from "ghostbusters" and "teenage mutant ninja turtles" (he's a radical rat!), among others, into everything from contemporary hip-hop to some classic michael jackson cuts (of course "thriller" got a spin, much to the crowd's delight). rndm's hosting several mini-mixes and individual blends over at his site, so check 'em out and peep the kid's steez.

if you're in the boston area, you can catch rndm doing his thing in the flesh tonight at the indy in union square. his "special blend fridays" now alternate with dj BC's and lenlow's mash ave parties--reliable friday night entertainment for anyone in the slummaville area.


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