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Dj QBert

Autore: Wilson Tai
Note aggiuntive: Sito ufficiale di Dj QBert
Today's Grandmaster Flash is a pioneer and living legend in the DJ world by the name of DJ QBert. He first attracted attention in 1985 when his skills of sound manipulation via records on the turntables were beyond comprehension. He wasn't the first to scratch a record but years of creating unique systems of scratching, practicing, and dedicating himself to the art of using the turntable as a musical instrument had created a specific sound - turntablism; was born. DJ QBert is considered the most skilled DJ on the planet and it has a lot to do with his skills, but more importantly, it has a lot to do with his use of technology in promoting himself and his sound to the mainstream.

To this day, turntablism continues to advance and diversify. Why? History established that QBert, a founding member of the legendary Invisibl Skratch Piklz (1995-2000), created a new era in the DJ/turntablist community, and helped raise the art of hip-hop to its new form, turntablism. At the origin and influence of the scratching sound that is the omnipresent foundation of hip-hop music. To follow the history of DJ QBert is to follow the creation of the musical genre and art. He is a very well documented DJ.

Fellow turntablists, Mix Master Mike and DJ Apollo, were founders of the first turntable scratch band called "Shadow of the Prophet". Mix Master Mike was a strong influence and inspiration on QBert, and together joined forces to create Invisibl Skratch Piklz. In the '90s, QBert dominated the DJ scene by claiming the coveted Disco Mixing Club (DMC) in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. Qbert's 1994 mixtape, "Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Musik" inspired the experimental skratch/mixtape revolution and is considered by many hip-hop resources to be the greatest mix tape of all time. In 1998, because of his contributions to the DMC and to the industry, he was inducted into the DMC DJ Hall of Fame along with Mix Master Mike. It's ironic to see both DJ's make it because both have had a strong sense of appealing to the mainstream. Mix Master Mike joined the "Beastie Boys" in 1998, influenced a new sound in the traditional Beastie Boys sound and brought skratching to a popular mainstream. Other forms of media technology have helped bring turntablism QBert appeared in two international films showcasing his skills in the turntablist genre: Hang The DJ, shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and Modulations, shown at the Sundance Festival in Colorado. Hang The DJ was picked up by Miramax Films and played in theatres in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Modulations is a film documenting the history and culture of electronic music, highlighting QBert and his skills on the turntable. The same year Mix Master Mike joined the Beastie Boys, QBert released his solo debut album, WaveTwisters. The album was a concept by QBert of creating a pure improvisational scratch soundtrack. It presents a story about an entire civilization residing in inner space, and the only form of communication is through the sounds of skratching. A full-length animated film that was the world's first hip-hop animated concept-album followed the soundtrack. It was presented at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001.

Records, albums, videos, have been produced and released to help promote turntablism to the mainstream, but is that enough to establish a new musical genre? Commercialism is behind the success of any idea and especially any musical genre. As stated, the phonograph emerged into the mainstream thanks to RCA. Likewise, turntablism emerged into the mainstream thanks to the commercial backing of Vestax, the world leader in DJ products. QBert's DJ band, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, became the first DJ band to be sponsored by a company. With the help of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, the then small company, Vestax, produced professional DJ products such as mixers and turntables, and became the largest DJ product company today. Invisibl Skratch Piklz and Vestax also released a video called Turntable Mechanics Workshop in which scratching was publicly defined and specific techniques were given names so that turntablists had a shared common scratch language.” The scratch language is very important in securing turntablism a place in mainstream. Scratchcon 2000 was a conference event that occurred on July 1st, 2000, to "continue the development of skratch music literacy.

Today, the art form and music genre of turntablism continues to grow through DJ's and mainstream music alike. Perhaps one day, turntablism will have the same appeal as hip-hop in the mainstream and spawn other genres of music. As for the technology of turntablism, an interesting fact that indicates the ongoing popularity of the analog phonograph is the fact that in Japan, the turntable outsells the electric guitar. To think it all began with the phonograph in 1877 is quite mind-boggling. The significance of QBert in my life is that he is a local talent (Daly City, California) that established his own place in the world. His mission was to make the turntable a legitimate musical instrument and make scratching a recognized art form. In the end, like Andy Warhol once said, everyone will have his or her 15 minutes of fame. If the fame can benefit a cause, then all the better. QBert is a pioneer in music creativity and inspires DJ's worldwide to crossover turntablism into all musical genres. Every DJ, whether a Hip-Hop, Jungle, Techno, or House DJ, owes DJ QBert for making DJ stand for musician.


DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and Rahzel - Live at Coachella 1999 pt1 9511 KB

DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and Rahzel - Live at Coachella 1999 pt2 9476 KB

DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and Rahzel - Live at Coachella 1999 pt3 9453 KB

DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and Rahzel - Live at Coachella 1999 pt4 9324 KB

DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and Rahzel - Live at Coachella 1999 pt5 8031 KB

DJ Shadow & Qbert - Side One (live) 12861 KB

DMC_1995 Dj QBert - Mixmaster Mike 64555 KB

Live DJ Q-Bert - Scratching 40083 KB

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