RapReviews DVD Reviews

[Product Placement on Tour] DJ Shadow * Cut Chemist: Product Placement on Tour
Label: Pillage Roadshow Productions

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

Torch bearers for the vinyl standard of the underground, DJ's Shadow and Cut Chemist are Olympic caliber turntablists who always seem to come up with gold medal performances. Individually their accomplishments rank high - as an artist and producer Shadow dates from the founding days of Solesides Records to it's rebirth as Quannum, as well as having success as an esoteric and soulful artist on unique solo albums like "The Private Press." Cut Chemist is best known for his work in the groups Ozomatli and Jurassic 5, especially the unique live performances he and DJ Nu-Mark give when J5 is on tour (if they come to your town DON'T MISS IT), but he's also a multi-time award winning turntablist going all the way back to being voted "Best Hip-Hop DJ of the Year" way back in 1998 by the Global DJ Mix Awards.

The bottom line is that you can't front on either one of them, so it goes without saying that the two of them collaborating together would have to be something REALLY SPECIAL. There's no question then that when the two conceived the "Brainfreeze" tour, a set played around the world using only 45's (you know, those 7" sized record singles you used to buy as a kid - if you're old enough to remember them that is), it was some ol' next shit. I'd like to note from experience that I tried to scratch with 45's a few times as a college DJ and found it was next to impossible to do. The records were too small to handle, so light that the needle always seemd to skip when they were manipulated, and always seemed to warp way easier than their heavier and more durable 12" counterparts. The fact the two could do an entire set together using only 45's and have it be musically and artistically seamless amazes me. Recordings of their set were made, released in limited quantities, and unless "Brainfreeze" has been reprinted since then it's hella hard to get.

You may have an easier time getting the "Product Placement on Tour" DVD, but I wouldn't count on it. I checked around at a few stores online and one by one they claimed it was sold out, out of stock or out of print. That's a damn shame. Truly a remarkable set, this audio CD and DVD combo captures the sequel to their "Brainfreeze" performances, and once again the talented tandem are only using 45's from start to finish to get the job done. Knowing how incredibly dope their performance was musically in advance, what I was really amped to see was how it looked live. The DVD seamlessly stitches together the set they played around the world, from Tokyo to L.A. to London and more. At one point Shadow starts to mix and blend with THREE INCH RECORDS, which quite frankly left my head blown. There's a hilarious musical performance in the middle of their set, a rap called "Cookin with Gas" that is quite literally about cooking food with gas flames, performed in a 1980's throwback style. What inspired it? Who knows, who cares! Shadow and Cut Chemist are clearly aware that a turntablist is still a DJ in the "disc jockey" sense of the term, meaning that it's not just about showing off your skills but playing music to entertain the crowd and/or listening audience. The 45 minute set is nothing short of entertaining, containing many classic breaks you'll recognize, a lot that you've never heard before, but all sewn up so flawlessly you couldn't find a stitch in the mix if you tried.

The DVD also includes a seperate feature called "Cookies & Milk: Around the World in 14 DJ's" and it's a must see in it's own right. Incredibly turntablist wizards like Shortkut, Marvski, Egon and DJ Spinna all rock their own sets with 45's, all on different days and in different cities, with the blessing/encouragement and/or physical presence of Cut Chemist and Shadow telling them to rock the house. The "Leftovers" section features audio commentary options, the main performance segmented by chapters, a trailer for the DVD itself and one promoting a live DJ Shadow performance captured on DVD called "In Tune and On Time" which I've definitely got to check out. Although more extras would have been stellar, the strength of the performance and the musical wizardry displayed in the main feature more than compensate for it, and the "Cookies & Milk" was equally refreshing. If you can find the "Product Placement on Tour" CD/DVD set (it comes in a DVD longbox) don't miss the opportunity to pick it up, as you'll definitely regret it later on down the road when the last copy is gone and it's going for big money on eBay. As for me you'd have to pry the copy I have out of my hands with a crowbar, because now that I've got it there's no way I'm parting with it. This is a musical and visual experience I'm going to enjoy again and again.

Content: 10 of 10 Layout: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10

Originally posted: July 12, 2005
source: www.RapReviews.com

© Copyright 2005 RapReviews.com, Flash Web Design Exclusive