First DJ Wally, now another from my mid-’90s rotation… Not just a clever moniker, Sub Dub is fairly descriptive of the musical niche that Raz “Badawi” Mesinai and John “J-Dub” Ward carved out for themselves. Though laced with dub’s signature buoyancy, their sound is inspired by the grit and murk of urban life — as opposed to the cosmic influence of some of their neo-dub contemporaries. And speaking of Wally, there’s a possible thread here: the strange caterwaul sample that emerges with about 1:00 left in “Dawa Zangpo” sounds uncannily similar to the one found in DJ Wally’s “Outta My Head.” I could be wrong though, as I don’t have the latter track with me as I write this. I’ll get out my forensics kit and get back to you…unless, of course, someone out there beats me to it.
Maybe I always felt a kinship to DJ Wally because his ferret is (was?) named Sam, too. More importantly, Keef DeStefano, as his parents named him, holds a place in my heart because of the role he’s played in the soundtrack of my life. See, in the mid- to late-’90s, Keef was a double threat — as DJ Wally, he’d record abstract beatscapes with a hip-hop undertow; as Pish Posh, he’d fire off rounds of infectious Big Apple drum ‘n’ bass. So I could turn to him to bring me up or chill me out. And I did. Often. These days, DJ Wally’s writing a new chapter in his discography, making music for TV shows and producing/DJing for NY rappers Proximity Minds (check Wally’s MySpace page for an audio taste). For those who haven’t had the pleasure of making his aquaintance, I introduce you to a man and his ferret…
Lately, while certain technological gadgets of mine randomly play my music collection for me, I’ve heard unfamiliar, electronic, yet warm compositions capable of producing pleasant states of relaxation and reverie. It’s occured several times. Each time, as I’ve awakened from from this other world in which I’ve found myself, I glance down at the guilty party, and it’s been Nnnj. Nnnj (pronounced “inch”) relies on many sounds: global rhythms, glitchy programming, and trip-hop, but is beholden to none. Neither his name, album title (Monkey Straddle) nor its cover art is pretty, but the music itself is gorgeous.
Is there such a thing as dumbed-down IDM? Not inferior, but approaching it from a slightly different angle is David Last, less brainiac and more booty-shaker, moving away from digital detritus and towards more organic dancehall rhythms. Perfect for intimate gatherings. Served to chill. I’m jonesin’ summer BBQs. Can you tell?