(Ed. Note: Finally got to speak with one of my favorite DJs, Cut Chemist. His new project, Sound of the Police, is out now, as is this dope internet-only mix, The Death of Disco. Check both those out and peep our talk below. -DM )
Originally Published on www.waxpoetics.com
Cut Chemist’s selection has always worked in lockstep with his techniques. On Sound Of The Police, his latest project, he uses a foot pedal and one turntable, looping breaks and portions of rare African records to make the mix. Like past work with DJ Shadow (Brainfreeze, Product Placement, and The Hard Sell) it’s more of a live set than an official follow up to his studio album The Audience’s Listening. The routine in fact debuted last year at a concert with Mulatu Astatke, a towering figure of Ethio-jazz, and the release itself was recorded live; no post production, just records and swaths of detail. The response was “so overwhelming” according to Cut, that he thought he’d make it official and release it.
Sound Of The Police is in line with recent explosions of interest in African records, evidenced by books, reissues, and the Broadway musical “Fela”. Since Wax Poetics first spoke to Cut in issue #16, he’s done cameos in films and still shows interest in different genres. The Death Of Disco (1973-1979), a recent internet only mix, sounds like a drunken dance party—highs, lows, sloppiness and all—and has been incesantly downloaded.
When asked what he’s been into lately, he said, “Can’t go into specifics, but I’ve been digging early industrial cassettes from France circa the early 80’s, really great music with primitive drum machine textures.” Here’s my recent talk with Cut Chemist; still on top after all these years.
Were the records on Sound Of The Police accumulated from your collection over time or were these recent finds?
These were records I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve been into African and South American music ever since being in Ozomatli. Being in that band made me explore different sounds from around the world, as that was the group’s mission.
What are some of the technical things you did on this that possibly may have been lost on the average listener?
As a listening piece, not a performance, the listener may not realize that the mix is live with one deck. It still holds up as a nice mix of music, but everyone might not appreciate how difficult it actually was to record it. This is why I would like to perform the set live.
What was the first African record that got you hooked?
I collect everything. I chose to release this collection of music because I intended it to be just a performance opening up for Mulatu Astatke at the Timeless concert series. The first African record that really moved me was the Mulatu Of Ethiopia LP. The chords were very different from anything I heard in the past. Continue reading “New Cut Chemist Piece”