DJ Yoda
London Scala
Live Review

DJ Yoda

DJ Yoda is a fascinating turntablist and adventurous, to say the least. He doesn't limit himself to any one genre of music, as evident on the "how to cut and paste" volumes on release. Instead he takes a more eclectic approach, combining genres, eras and techniques, which he utilises to produce a show that sets him apart from dj's who purely play records interlaced with cuts and scratches.

There aren't many dj's that I could truly say have mastered the progressing art of mixing or turntablism, short of DJ Shadow (for production and performance "live and in tune"), DJ Q-Bert (whose superlative "wavetwisters" came ahead of its time) and Coldcut for their diverse 70 minutes of madness and regular interlacing of DJ and VJ sets. However, DJ Yoda is a dj in the truest sense of the word. He mixes recognisable breaks, tracks, even TV theme tunes from various decades with verve and enthusiasm, not forgetting to enthral the audience with his exceptional turntablism proficiency. It's for this reason that I was completely surprised to walk into a well know hip-hop venue "The Scala" and see a youthful orchestra tuning their instruments on stage.

Cameramen and photographers prepared while the conductor introduced his team "The Heritage Orchestra" (only 18 months old) and DJ Yoda to the stage, to an uproar of loyal supporters (some of which, including myself had bared witness to a more traditional Yoda experience at the Benicassim festival a mere 3 days prior).
The audience was silent, knowing that something quite unique awaited them from this one-off showcase.

For the next 45 minutes, the 350 strong viewers were motionless, captivated by the fusion of a turntablist and a 5 piece orchestra producing a very moody orchestral hip-hop soundscape.

The build up, centre and climax of each of the 3 performances was cinematic in its delivery and rife with emotion, which is precisely the tool that dj yoda used to his advantage when taking real time samples of either the string, horn or percussion section. With these samples he proved that cutting & pasting and scratching could be applied to anything, if used wisely.

DJ Yoda's employment of the samples he acquired was scientific in its employment to the point that, from my stand point I wasn't sure whether he was executing the string jabs or the orchestra. The orchestra quite clearly enjoyed Yoda's talent as some of them rocked back and forth in appreciation.
I began to wonder, how long Yoda had been preparing for this showcase, as it was the polar opposite of the performance in Benicassim. Is there an incredulous amount of preparation involved combined with severe sleep deprivation, or is it that he is a natural talent; my thoughts lead me to believe that's it's an incorporation of the two (like Madlib's prolificacy).

In any case, I was a bystander to something extraordinary, that I believe DJ Spooky did in recent times.


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