Since experimental turntabilsm’s inception with John Cage’s “Imaginary Landscape No. 1” in 1939 most turntablism of this nature has been dominated by avant-garde artists who adopted the turntable and/or records as instruments because of their ability to provide unconventional and aesthetically intriguing sounds. Toronto’s SlowPitch, on the other hand, sounds instead like an actual DJ that has been schooled in traditional turntablism and who has now progressed naturally into experimental territory after mastering the tools of the disc jockey’s trade.
SlowPitch’s comfort with less esoteric (i.e. traditional) turntable techniques like scratching, juggling, transforming etc. is reflected by the overall smoothness and seamlessness in which REPLCMNT unfolds. And despite coming in at just over 18 minutes in length REPLCMNT is packed with sonic references that will test the most ardent crate diggers. And for the more meditative listener, REPLCMNT is rich in layered drones that vibrate against one another like snoring atoms, punctuated by crackling samples, with imaginative delay-drenched scratches.
It would be interesting to see more hip-hop DJs pick up the challenge that is REPLCMNT. After all it is perhaps a blueprint of sorts that could provide a way forward to an entire generation of hip-hop DJs that latched themselves to a once-dominant genre that has since exhausted itself both creatively and commercially.
Forgive me while I dream, but imagine if today’s many hip-hop DJs, who often possess unquestionably amazing technical skills, were liberated from the formulaic machismo of hip-hop to begin work on something more open ended, more imaginative. If that were to happen, REPLCMNT would undoubtedly serve as one of the crucial recordings to bridge the two worlds.
Review by Jamie Moore