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DJs/Turntablists etc....

>>>I know in my case my prejudice in viewing turntablists as less creative
than "real" musicians was simply because for a long time my only exposure
to this technique was seeing really bad amateur scratchers ripping off the
same bunch of beats, while someone tried to break-dance.<<<

But was that just because, as a style it was underdeveloped - early Rock 
Roll sounds incredibly unsophisticated now - there's a certain naive charm
to Bill Hailey and The Everly Brothers, but it's not the height of
creativity now, even though at the time it was considered rather risque :o)

the turntable stuff that came out in the late 70s/early 80s was, as far as 
can, the most radical and empowering shift in popular music culture 
well, probably in the history of pop... The shift that has taken place in
so-called 'art' music, from note-autonomy to a sound-based musical ethic
that validated ambience, tape music, natural sounds and synth sounds hasn't
really impacted 'pop' music - the progsters and such like who did make
advances in this way were as much a part of the 20thC 'classical' tradition
as they were pop. 

But hip-hop and the sampling revolution, and the use of turntables as a way
of recycling prerecorded material to make the building blocks available to
rap over the top of was a radical rethinking of pop music, and it was a
street level thing, borne as much out of neccessity it seems - kids in 
city new york with a whole heap of creativity but not access to the studios
that were required to make the music they were listening to (this wasn't
really a 'guitars round the campfire' culture!), worked out a way to use
records in a creative way, recycling and recombining pre-recorded sounds in
a new way, giving the world a new approach to rhythm (drummers play so
differently now in this age of sampling and cut 'n' paste music), and a new
way of looking at the importance of harmony. One of the wonderful things
with turntables and sampling is that the strangle-hold of 'functional
harmony' in pop had gone - samples that clashed harmonically were still
combined if it just 'worked' sonically - sound won and theory took a
beating. I know that my own looping philosophy is hugely influenced by that
whole elevation of sound idea...

there are some unbelieveably creative turntablists out there, and some
rubbish ones. Some DJ Shadows and some muppets who crap on great records
(though whether or not what Puff Daddy and Will Smith do is 'valid' or not
is really not for me to say - I do like Will's moves though... :o)

musical revolution started by inner city black kids? surely not!