Review: Cut Chemist’s “Sound Of The Police”

Aug 11, 2010 10:47am

“Sound Of The Police” is a two track, live set from Cut Chemist, the former Jurassic 5 DJ and well-respected turntablist.  It was recorded in February of last year. The back cover states that this is “A Live One Turntable Mix of African and South American Inspired Music.”  Little to no other information is given other than a very brief description in the liner notes.  There is no sample list.  When I put it into my iTunes, it wasn’t even identifiable in Gracenote.  It’s simply a whirling, groovy, funkified collection of African beats, horns, melt-your-face-off bass lines and some good old hip-hop ingenuity. It was recorded during an opening gig for Ethiopian musician, Mulatu Astatke, reportedly during his first Los Angeles performance.  The two tracks on this disc add up to a little over forty-one minutes, with part one being a minute longer than part two.  Part one is noticeably a little looser than part two.  It seems a little more free-wheeling.  The fact that this is a mix done with only one turntable, not only speaks to Cut Chemist’s skill, but it also keeps the flow at a more conventional pace.  There are fewer fits of scratching than one typically finds on one of these releases, making it an ideal record to introduce new fans to the turntablism genre.  The sound is defiantly scratchy.  You can feel every groove his needle touches.  Retro Afro-beat jams sit comfortably beside bossa nova chill-out sessions.  There’s even a more Eastern-sounding passage near the end of the disc.  Add in the occasional hip-hop snippet and a little inventive scratching and you get the feel.  Fans of Thievery Corporation’s DJ mixes and albums should find plenty to love here because Cut Chemist showcases a similarly overt eclecticism and internationalism.  The music played here may not be familiar to many mainstream hip-hop fans, but for those who enjoy the meat-and-potatoes beat-science aspect, this could be an interesting left-field excursion.  Otherwise, this is an exciting record to play at a hip summer party.  If you were to put this on in a crowded room, no doubt someone would ask, “Who is that?”  Cut Chemist saves the roughest bit for the end.  The last minute or so of the disc can get a little repetitive, but it’s no doubt a strategic move.  He’s already firmly made his point.  This is really an ipod-proof vinyl collection issued on CD.  It may not win him as many fans as his studio work, (namely his 2006 masterpiece, “The Audience’s Listening”) but it shows that the man knows his craft.  Armed with merely one turntable and a mixer, he easily sets the room on fire.   Behold, the sonic, global melting pot!

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