Could not be happier to get this in my Google Reader today! Rob Swift is one of my favorite turntablists. If you question whether DJs are musicians, and scratching is an art form, I suspect Rob is one of the DJs who could change your mind. Turntablism is using the turntable as an instrument to create new notes and drum patterns. He actually worked on a system of musical notation for scratching. He has a record he did a few years ago called 'Salsa Scratch' where he's using the turntable as a set of timbales, scratching over a horn-infused salsa track. If I find it I will link it later on. Now to add this DVD to my Netflix queue......


The Underwire - Wired News: "Today is April 3, the day that Jesse James was finally killed and proceedings to imprison Oscar Wilde for homosexuality were commenced. It is also the day that Rob Swift's documentary As the Tables Turn is available on DVD, which has little to do with the aforementioned. I just thought I'd throw in some funky facts while I was on the subject.

Speaking of funk, Swift's DVD release is a bonus for turntablists and the sonic and tech loyalists that follow them. Rob Swift was perhaps the most popular of the reputable, NYC-based X-ecutioners, the all-DJ sensation that fractured over the last few years due to squabbles -- money, cred, crossovers -- that more or less kill every band that's worth a damn. The DVD spiels more on the issue, but is most electric when footage of the X-ecutioners hits the screen, especially during their legendary battle with West Coast turntablists Invisibl Skratch Piklz, a knockout crew of vinyl wizards made up of Mix Master Mike, DJ Q-bert and others. You probably will not find a more funked-up collection of DIY tech heads in one place. It was a battle royale.

Swift's doc also charts his ascendance as one of the world's most recognizable DJs. He's worked with everyone from art-punk icon and Ipecac label honcho Mike Patton to jazz titans Bob James and Herbie Hancock, who Swift performed with at, of all things, thof all things, the 2002 World Economic Forum. Just to show that turntablism and the hip-hop it has supported for so many decades is one of the planet's most potent economic forces. (As if we didn't know that?)

I've got a chat with Swift about Tables coming up, for those who are looking for deeper cuts, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, soak up my conversation with Rob and recombinant slicer DJ Spooky about the former's last effort War Games -- a densely sampled sound-and-footage indictment of Bush's hyperreal wars -- and the latter's own Birth of a Nation multimedia revision. And for those looking to go even deeper, dig my older chat with Rob about the murder of Run-DMC's pioneering DJ Jam Master Jay and more. Throw your hands in the air. Wait, keep them on the turntables, especially you wannabes.