DJ Broken Window

Fri Dec 20

Delta Café

How many times have you thrown Stacey Q.'s "Two of Hearts" on the turntable, only to have the party erupt into a den of hellfire and booty? How about EVERY time you throw on "Two of Hearts" at a party. Because of stuff like plunderphonics (and 9/11!), we're at a weirdly post-ironic point where you can't go wrong when you play a kitsch radio hit that bumps and stirs cheesy nostalgia of shiny stirrup pants and hair with wings given life via Rave (the hairspray).

But what if songs like "Ice Ice Baby," "Hair & Nails," and "Roxanne's Groove" were rendered against a different backdrop? What if they were mixed with other lost hits, to fuse together as one new tune that, if not bumping, at least gave them new life? This is what Portland's DJ Broken Window does on his Parallel Universe #1 and #2 remixes. Released by Tigerbeat6's New Zealand imprint, Violent Turd, DJ BW conveniently sidesteps pesky American (cough) copyright laws by being printed in (cough) another country. (It's a smarty-pants move for the label that provided Kid606 with a tight remix record, in the form of Action-Packed Mentalist Brings you the Fucking Jams. Eat my fuck, RIAA.)

On Parallel, DJ BW lays out his mission statement: "Each of these tracks is a simple layering of two recordings--usually one a capella and one instrumental--into a product that hopes to be greater than the sum of its parts and hopes to recycle the music by giving it a new context." He spans genres, from soul to weird Scholastic, and early synthesizer records to hiphop, techno, and reggae. He splices Twise's dissatisfied, man-scolding R&B hit "Uh Uhh" with the instrumentals from Yello's "Oh Yeah"; Augustus Pablo provides a deep, dubby beat under a sped-up "Roxanne's Groove"; the Yes of yesteryear meets the Yes of today in the form of a haunting Boards of Canada remix. If not brilliant, it's all at least interesting, often sounding literally like pop culture colliding unto itself--the collapse of a collective subconscious into one rhythmic, often creepy party-banger. How DJ BW's recontextualizing differs from other mashup artists as DJ P, DJ Z-Trip, or even the historical cornucopia of RJD2 and dj/rupture, is that DJ BW acts kinda like a librarian of the strange and obscure. He illuminates his mixes beyond simple butt-humpers, as the cultural oddities they are. Of course, DJ BW has a reputation around town for being a musical encyclopedia. And with so much information in just the past 20 years from which to cull, "musical encyclopedia" as occupation is more essential and relevant than ever. (Especially when the encyclopedia inspires your ass to shake.)