From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism

vinyl record stickers experimental tuntablism

I’m in the final stretch of a practice led PhD developing approaches to turntablist composition and performance. I’ve been reflecting on how my approach has developed over the years from experiments with junk shop records to becoming a vinyl mastering engineer and cutting my own records for use in composition and performance. I recently unearthed a live set which was broadcast on Demon FM in 2006 and I can hear quite clearly how my turntablist aesthetic has developed over time.

When this performance was recorded, I was experimenting with turntablist improvisation using two turntables with a Vestax PCM 05 Pro DJ mixer that had an inbuilt delay unit. I had been working on hip hop turntablism for six years with the Pedestrian crew, inspired by artists such as Ricci Rucker and Qbert. I was interested in seeing how these influences could be incorporated into the experimental turntable music tradition of artists such as Christian Marclay and Phillip Jeck. Perhaps a closer connection with this work would be with artists like DJ Olive, DJ Spooky and Kid Koala who combine elements of hip hop tuntablism with experimental music. I was also interested in the use of improvisation as an approach to music making and inspired by jazz improvisers Derek Bailey and Evan Parker who both developed approaches to free improvisation.

In this live set there are three records used and the sounds are remixed using scratch techniques with a liberal amount of delay. On one turntable there is a record with an ambient drone borrowed from Soft Machine’s album Third Third Third and on the other a live recording by King Crimson which includes a drum section followed later by a section of electric guitar. Most of the set is a dialogue between these two records. The mix has contrasting sections going from gentle ambience to extreme noise in places as layer of sound are built up using the delay. The granular processing of the drums created using the DJ mixers delay reminds me of DJ Sniff who I later met and collaborated with at Steim in Holland and De Montfort University in Leicester. While Sniff’s use of granular delay allows for more complexity, there is a similar aesthetic. I can hear the blueprint for my current work in this set, I’m still exploring ambient textures which are contrasted with more extreme noise. However my focus has moved away from crate digging and plundering other peoples records, becoming more about creating the sounds which I then cut to vinyl. This allows me to have more control of the harmonic relationship between the records that I’m mixing. The video below is a performance example from January 2016.

More experimental turntablism on this blog:

Turntablist Performance at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

Experimental Turntablism Interview with Eleven Magazine

From The Archive: James Kelly and Adam Weikert – Green Ep

Live Electronic Improvisation with Adam Weikert

Janek Schaefer Performance, Leicester

Dirty Electronics Ensemble with DJ Sniff

Stench 4

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

11 Responses to “From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism”

  1. Live Electronic Improvisation with Adam Weikert | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  2. Live Electronic Music Improvisation with Adam Weikert | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  3. James Kelly Experimental Turntablism Interview with Eleven Magazine | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] and composer « From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism James Kelly Performance at MK Gallery […]

  4. James Kelly Experimental Turntablism Interview with Eleven Magazine | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  5. James Kelly Performance at MK Gallery | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] and composer « From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism James Kelly Experimental Turntablism Interview with Eleven Magazine […]

  6. Turntable Music Symposium 2017, University of Northampton | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  7. Record Cutting Guest Lecture at Goldsmiths University, London 2016 | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  8. Archive: James Kelly and Adam Weikert + Turntablist Philip Jeck at Summer Sundae 2008 | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  9. Mathieu Briand’s Spiral Installation. Tate Modern 2007 (From The Archive) | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  10. Experimental Turntablism on Tour. James Kelly + Robert Curgenven | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

  11. Turntablist Performance at Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester March 2017. | James Kelly's blog Says:

    […] From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: