RapReviews.com DVD Review

[The Bastard Language Tour] The Bastard Language Tour
Label: EOF/Fat Sack Films

Author: John Book

Major labels have been a few steps behind in documenting hip-hop on the home video front, yet it is the music video that fans have a fondness for. Whether it's compilation videos or live performances, it's been only in the last two years that anyone has cared. Yet look into the independent side, and home videos are just as important as a full length album or single.

D-Styles has gained a reputation for himself in the world of turntablism, taking things one step further into the realm of the unknown with each project he touches. "The Bastard Language Tour" is a continuation of this path, where Mike Boo, Excess, Toadstyle and Ricci Rucker join him in a van and perform shows on the West Coast. These concerts are not in hip-hop clubs, but in any dive they could find. By placing this music in environments not known for hip-hop, D-Styles and friends are in essence making fans come to them.

The set-up is not just one or two DJ's passing beats back and forth. Instead, D-Styles and friends become a hip-hop band, using five turntables to create instrumental pieces that are very much rehearsed, but at times comes out as improvised as jazz fusion. Call it hip-hop fusion if you want, but it takes the simple premise of a group of DJ's scratching for a common cause, but coming up with something that's a lot more than spaced-out noise.

In this case, one DJ will play the bass line, one DJ will play the melody, one DJ will play the drums, one DJ might be a piano or guitar, the other DJ will create atmosphere. If you're not looking, one might find it hard to believe that the music you're hearing is coming from five DJ's. One of the great things about "The Bastard Language Tour" DVD is that the sound quality is excellent (sounds like it was mixed straight from the soundboard), so you don't have to squint in horror from something that comes off as shoddy.

The DVD is just under an hour, and you get to hear full complete songs, from shows in California, making its way through Oregon and eventually landing in Seattle. The purpose of this DVD is to watch and hear music, no Motel 6 after-show antics (other than to compose a song for the next show) or anything out of the ordinary. One of the highlights is in the van en route to another city, a conversation between D-Styles and Ricci Rucker. They say that they hope what they are doing will grow and influence others to try the same, so they can jam and communicate with each other, in order to further and expand the possibilities of turntablism. One idea involves the idea of having an orchestra of DJ's, and one gets the sense that these guys are in it for the long haul.

"The Bastard Language Tour" has the feel of a home movie, no major special effects of any kind. Some of the live performances consist of one continuous shot, but to watch these guys go at it effortlessly is sure to make many DJ's want to go back into their practice sheds and start all over again. The somewhat short-length of the main program is complimented with some nice bonus material, including a composing session for a song, Excess talking about the creation of a song for a lady friend he cared for, and then a new project D-Styles has put together, called Gunkhole. The future of experimentation and taking things further is revealed in the form of three DJ's and a live drummer. It's only a brief segment, yet one hopes there will be a full length project from them very soon.

Ol' Dirty Bastard once said that there was no father to his style. By calling this "The Bastard Language Tour", they're saying confidently that no one has ever done anything like this before. If this DVD is a seed, one can be optimistic about the forest of DJ'ing in hip-hop's future.

Layout: 8 of 10 Content: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: March 24, 2004
source: www.RapReviews.com

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