Lazer Sword: “Batman” (s/t, Innovative Leisure, 11/2/10)
Lazer Sword is the DJ duo of Lando Kal (Antaeus Roy) and Low Limit (Bryant Rutledge). Together, these two dance-floor destroyers pump out hip-hop/electro burners heavy on bass and mile-a-minute mixing. The forward-thinking group creates its eclectic sound through a general disregard for genre, straddling styles with a diverse range of samples. Unsurprisingly, many of its influences are pioneers that sounded out of place in the musical landscape of their respective eras. Lando Kal and Low Limit shared some of these futuristic artists with ALARM.
Low Limit’s picks:
The brilliant Frank Zappa — producer, shredding guitarist, anti-censorship activist, and ringleader of The Mothers of Invention — is without a doubt from either the future or outer space. Zappa was an incredibly talented composer with the most impressive, satirical sense of humor, who was never afraid to challenge his listeners with experimental outbursts, political commentary, or other weirdness. He named his children really bizarre names like Moon Unit and Dweezil…and I heard he appeared in an episode of Ren and Stimpy, as the voice of the Pope.
I have to admit I was sleeping on the first wave of electro/hip-hop artist Egyptian Lover (oh wait, I was like three). But I caught him a few years back at an Amoeba in-store performance, and that’s all it took. I did my homework. He originally entered the game as a dancer but went on to be a club DJ, producer, and master of the 808 — a true renaissance man. The Lover is a mega-positive dude, and the only DJ I’ve ever seen have a wing-man beside him, putting his records in and out of the sleeves so he could focus on juggling like a beast. Look on YouTube for him rocking the 808 live in the club, a must-see.
Alright, so this one is technically from the past, present, and future, because he’s still going strong, but I gotta mention Mr. Otis Jackson, the man behind Madlib, Quasimoto, Yesterday’s New Quintet, and nearly 400 other projects, ranging from more straightforward hip hop to electronic weirdness, to free-jazz shit — whatever. Everyone knows Madlib already, so he really needs no introduction at all. The man was a massive influence on Lando and me since I can remember, and although a couple other greats are more commonly cited as the “grandfathers” of the beat-scene movement, to me he really laid the foundation for what’s going on right now with a lot of that stuff. Add to this [the fact that] he consistently releases several albums a year (rumored 12 albums by the end of the year?) and smokes more weed than Ras-G? Something’s not adding up.
Lando Kal’s picks:
Bruce Haack was the electron don of his time and a true pioneer of weirdo electronic synthesis composition. [He was] a bit odd and questionable at times, but his technique and use of quirky arpeggiated melodies, fucked-up vocoder vocals, and innovative riffs was a style of its own and a sound that wasn’t quite introduced yet in the ’70s during his golden years. Particularly on his Haackula album recorded in 1977, but never really released (though finally issued in 2008) because of its vulgar nature, you hear certain sounds and synth arrangement that are similar to that of today — some of which, if you put a hard 4×4 kick and snare over, you could call it “new-wave electro” and fist pump to, if that’s your thing. Big influence indeed.
Anthony “Shake” Shakir
Wow, where do we start? It’s well known that Anthony “Shake” Shakir, along with highly regarded Juan Atkins and Derrick May, is the Osiris of this shit, as ODB would say. Though claimed as one of the founders of techno, he never really liked to label his music as that, and his versatile, genre-hopping techniques back him up. Shake’s use of samples and textures in his production, particularly during the mid-’90s, was definitely one, if not two or three, steps ahead. Though many of his tunes vary, certain selections like “Sonar 123 ” or “Life Of A Planet Raider” are dense with stacked sampling (sometimes in the wrong key even, but still worked beautifully), unpredictable pattern changes, bendy, off-kilter pads and synth sequences, and woozy, ever-changing effects that remind us of styles now used or being reintroduced today in electronic music. A clear risk-taker but one ahead of his game, no doubt.