Live Concert Photography: Cut Chemist with Edan, El Dusty, and Shortkut at Music Hall of Williamsburg 4/26/18
Born Lucas MacFadden, the Los Angeles, CA-based producer and DJ Cut Chemist is best known as a founding member of renowned hip-hop act Jurassic 5, the Grammy Award-winning Latin funk act Ozomatli, a lengthy career as a solo artist and a series of collaborations with DJ Shadow and interestingly enough as the story goes, MacFadden can trace the origins of his music career to his teens — he started DJ’ing when he was 11 and by the time he was 14, he became known as a member of Unity Committee, an act that eventually merged with Rebels of Rhythm to form Jurassic 5.
Amazingly, MacFadden split his time between Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli, developing an interest for diverse sounds and rhythms from across the world while retaining his love of hip-hop’s tradition. Unsurprisingly, his mixtapes and remixes have been critically applauded, and he further cemented a reputation for forward-thinking work through a handful of highly sought-after collaborative mixtapes with DJ Shadow — including Brainfreeze, Product Placement, and The Hard Sell.
In 2004, the Los Angeles-based producer and DJ left both Jurassic 5 and Ozomtali to pursue a solo career, which resulted in his 2006 solo debut album, The Audience’s Listening. Adding to a growing profile, the album’s title track was featured in the ad campaign for the first Apple Nano iPod with Cut Chemist performing at all major US and European Apple flagship stores. Album single “The Garden” became a favorite among tastemakers globally, and “What’s The Altitude” was one of the most viewed videos on YouTube after its initial release.
2007 saw the Los Angeles-based producer and DJ open for Shakira during her Oral Fixation tour, and his set included a globe-spanning, genre-defying selection of world music accompanied with a cut ‘n’ scratch audio-visual presentation, which further cemented his reputation as a forward-thinking, boundary pushing artist.
Cut Chemist has managed to be both productive and fairly prolific, releasing remixes of Nat King Cole‘s “Day In Day Out,” Quantic and his Combo Barbaro’s “Un Canto mi Terra” and TuNE yArDs’ “Gangsta” in 2010 before ending the year with a concept mix “Sound of the Police,” which was originally intend to be a one-time performance for Mochilla’s Timeless concert series opening for Mulatu Astatke back in 2009. And instead of using the conventional two turntables, Cut Chemist created a soundscape using one turntable, a mixer, a loop pedal for live sampling and all original vinyl pressings. Adding an extra challenge, MacFadden dug deeper into his record collection, driven by a passion for the sounds and rhythms of Ethiopia, Columbia, Sudan and Brazil — with some familiar classics. He’s been known to occasionally perform it live. “It’s like walking a sonic tight rope and the audience gets to see me fall if something goes wrong,” Cut Chemist says. “The interesting parts are when I mess up and fix it. The audience goes crazy and appreciates what a difficult balancing act this actually is…It’s important to widen peoples musical vocabulary and I feel its my job as a DJ to do so.”
2012 saw the release of a surprise effort with “Outro (Revisited)” which found the Los Angeles-based producer and DJ collaborating with Blackbird, The Mars Volta‘s Deantoni Parks (drums) and Lonnie Marshall (bass). “I had a strong urge to run,” Cut Chemist says of the song, “so I made a song that made me feel like I was being chased. He was also invited to DJ at the United Nations on Earth Day, thanks in part to his contribution to the film, One Day on Earth. Since then, MacFadden has toured with a curated show called Tunnel Vision, which has featured Edan, Paten Locke, Mr. Lif, Myka 9 and Deantoni Parks, toured with Jurassic 5 and a tour with DJ Shadow in which they played music directly from Afrika Bambaatta’s record collection.
This year’s Die Cut is the long-awaited follow up to his 2006 solo debut, and Cut Chemist has been touring to support it, and it included a Music Hall of Williamsburg stop back in April with Edan, JOVM mainstay El Dusty and Shortkut. Check out photos from the show below.
Born Edan Portnoy, Edan is a Rockville, MD-born DJ and producer, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he brought his first turntables and started mixing beats while in high school. Inspired by is classmate’s rhymes, he started writing his own songs. After graduating high school, Portney attended Berklee College of Music for two-and-a-half years before dropping out of college to focus on music full-time. With the release of his critically applauded 2002 debut Primitive Plus, the Rockville, MD-born DJ and producer quickly became a highly sought-after producer, as he’s collaborated with Mr. Lif and Insight on his 2005 sophomore effort Beauty and the Beat, and an impressive array of contemporary emcees and artists including Souls of Mischief, Akrobatik, Time Machine, Homeboy Sandman, Your Old Droog, Cut Chemist and others.
Born Horacio Olivera, El Dusty is a Corpus Christi, TX-based JOVM mainstay producer, DJ and electronic music artist, who has seen attention across the blogosphere as a pioneer of a sub-genre he’s dubbed “nu-cumbia,” which features elements of hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass and house music and samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs — with the end result being a swaggering, club-banging take on Latin music that has resulted in a Latin Grammy nomination. Adding to a growing profile, the Corpus Christi, TX-based producer, DJ and electronic music artist has bee named one of Rolling Stone‘s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, Billboard‘s New Latin Act and to Watch and was placed on Pandora‘s Latin Artists to Watch. He’s also played at EDC Las Vegas, EDC Mexico, Ciudad Sonido Festival, Fiesta De La Flor, Universal Records‘ Latin Grammy Showcase, Brisk Bodega Tour, the Mad Decent Block Party, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and others. Olivera’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Cumbia City was released last month, and while the album continues upon the sound and approach that has made him one of the world’s up-and-coming and highly sought-after producers, collaborators and artists, the album also finds the Corpus Christi, TX-based artist adventurously pushing his sound in new directions, with material that frequently crosses and mashes genre boundaries, trends and cultures, actively redefining what both Latin music and electronic music could sound like; in fact, Cumbia City is deeply influenced by Olivera’s musical upbringing, which included Tejano anthems, Chicano soul music, classic rock, boom bap hip hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, turntablism, but mashed up and re-imagined for a new generation of bass-heavy and soundsystem music.
Opening the night was the Daly City-based DJ and producer Shortkut, who’s best known as a founding member of several iconic and influential DJ crews — Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Beat Junkie Sound and Triple Threat DJs. He’s a multiple time West Coast/USA DMC title holder, and has been credited as creating some of the most influential DJ routines, essentially devising new techniques. As a touring DJ he’s toured with De La Soul‘s Maseo, A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammed, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Tony Touch among others.