Spinning ’70s Rock into Turntable Gold
In 1996, DJ Shadow dumped a bucket of freezing cold water over the shoulders of hip hop with a record of turntablism for the ages. Entroducing… changed the game. We may have been slapped in the face by the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, Afrika Bambaataa, Kraftwerk or even De La Soul, but pure sampling and scratching had never sounded this funky. Chinese-Canadian Eric San is the scratch-master behind Kid Koala and half of the brains behind his brand new project The Slew. What Shadow did, San took to a similarly scratched and pasted place in 2000 with Kid Koala’s brilliant Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Seven years later, he and Dylan Frombach (aka Dynomite D) were asked to soundtrack a documentary about the Seattle psychedelic blues rock band by the same name. They were so inspired by their recording sessions with the legendary Mario Caldato Jr. that they are taking The Slew and running with it on 100%.
100% is a Seattle-inspired grunge record made from turntables and it’s going to blow people’s minds. They’ve assembled a dynamic backing band to accompany the recordings live. Former Wolfmother percussionist and bassist/keysman, Myles Heskett and Chris Ross, are set to provide stage support behind six turntables manned by San and Frombach themselves. Wolfmother’s ’70s love gels nicely with the dirty, grungy, bluesy rock that gushes forth from tracks like “Shackled Soul” and “Robbing Banks.” What Koala perfected by tweaking single notes of horns on tracks like “Skanky Panky” and “Drunk Trumpet,” he’s doing here with dramatic, glammed out guitar chords and feedback.
From the first rock howls and heavy guitar sludge of album opener “100%” to the deeply groovy finale of “Battle of Heaven and Hell,” The Slew are close to outperforming contemporaries like Cut Chemist, Dan the Automator and Danger Doom. Only whereas some DJs are looking around the next corner for inspiration or recycling old soul sounds and hip hop ground-breakers, Kid Koala and Dynomite D have found something in an obscure Seattle psych rock band. Using primarily looped spoken bits, shouts, beats and riffs that were transferred to vinyl, scratchable 33 1/3s, they’ve accomplished something so rich, complex and funky that their live show will be undoubtedly sweaty and head-bobbing.