Following directly in the footsteps of Jive Electro’s Old Skool VS. New Skool compilation (in which old-school hip-hop artists were remixed by new school electronic producers) comes Tektonics , a meeting of some of today’s leading breakbeat, drum ‘n bass, and house music producers with some of today’s leading turntablists.
As to be expected, this album has lots of cutting, scratching, and juggling to it, all prefaced by various (and I hate to use this word) “electronica” beats. There are predictable match-ups – the hip-hop influenced Freestylers meet DJ Z-Trip in “Check the Skillz,” a scratch filled breakbeat track that would have fit in perfectly in their We Rock Hard CD. The abstracted B-Boy Jungle/Electro of Ming & FS meet the Beat Junkie’s DJ J-Rocc in “Locus,” while “big beat” pioneers the Propellerheads meet Miami’s own world champion, DJ Craze in “Big Dog.” What ultimately proves more interesting, though, is matchups where the producer’s sound isn’t necessarily conducive to the turntablist sound. These are the songs where the scratch, or a cut, isn’t something being done on top of a pre-produced beat, but it worms it’s way inside to become one with the song itself. Drum ‘n Bass innovator Photek and the UK’s Scratch Perverts meet in the experimental, ingenious “The Water Margin,” while Tim ‘Love’ Lee meets up with Ex Invisibl Skratch Pikl DJ Disk in the jazzy breakbeat/house “One Word.” KUSF’s world famous J-Boogie hooks up with DJ Imperial in the bossa nova flavored “Brazilectro,” and Meat Beat Manifesto meets the Herbaliser in “Prime Audio Soup.” So, while Tektonics does serve as a great showcase for production and turntablism skills, that’s about all it does (with the few notable exceptions). There’s just not enough innovation, or incorporation.
OM Records, 245 S. Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94103; http://www.om-records.com