This month I am covering the artistic endeavors of the DJ and the Record Collector. I am offering up insight into the world of the artist, giving reference to allow a better understanding to the obsession and passion of those who DJ and collect records. This conversation would not be complete without a solid head nod to the Hip-Hop DJ. I want to recognize and highlight the generation of artists who began sampling records to make loops, playing with the physical manipulation of the turning record creating new sounds. Let's take a moment to appreciate the artists who created the movement that has touched every part of the world.
The film Scratch, directed by Doug Pray (2001) offers a unique and intimate look into the evolution of the DJ movement, focusing on the Hip-Hop DJ. It is one of the most solid films I have seen on the subject of the DJ as the artist, covering a wide variety of styles, locations, and techniques. This film really digs into the motivations and passion of the artists involved.
"While rappers may be the most visible musical exponents of hip-hop culture, it's the DJs (or "turntablists," as some prefer to be called) who generate the funky beats and cut-and-paste musical structures that have made hip-hop the dominant musical phenomena of the past 20 years. Scratch is a documentary that examines the role of the DJ in hip-hop music, from the pioneering work of old school hip-hop artists like Afrika Bambaata and Jazzy Jay to contemporary masters like noted trip-hop musician DJ Shadow and award-winning turntablist group Invisibl Skratch Piklz. The film also explores how DJs turned the turntable into a musical instrument, the increasingly elaborate techniques involved in "scratching" (manipulating vinyl discs, turntables, and tone arms to produce different sonic effects), and how different turntablists dig up the rare and elusive LPs from which they draw the samples that they craft into new songs. Scratch was directed by Doug Pray, who previously examined a different musical phenomenon -- the Seattle rock scene that spawned the grunge explosion -- in his film Hype!. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Watch the entire film on youtube!