If you want to witness firsthand just what about their skills sets them apart from the rest, check out The Shiggar Fraggar Show, a five-volume series of raw footage from the Skratch Piklz. The shots are usually in one room, with the guys on multiple decks constructing hiphop beats and basslines on the fly, taking scratch phrases to unimagined depths. When you see all the wires, records, and equipment and hear what's unfolding, it's hard not to be amazed at how these guys manipulate technology.
Shortkut started out DJing in San Francisco in 1986. In the early '90s, with the innovations and competitiveness of turntable culture, he and his crew reached new understandings of how to bust out of the old musical codes and boundaries. "With a turntable there's endless possibilities... you can have that guitar sound, you can be a drummer," says Shortkut. "Like in the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, me and Apollo [one of the original founding members] are considered the drummers, and Mike and Q-Bert are considered the lead guitarists. Disk is like a lead guitar fill or bass. We have our own little parts, just like a band."
Shortkut has since moved on to work with acts including the Beat Junkies, the X-Ecutioners, and even Skinny Puppy. He collaborated with Cut Chemist on the 1998 release Live at the Future Primitive Sound Session, a turnablist/hiphop classic.
Shortkut's upcoming appearance in Seattle is in support of his album Inna Dance Hall Stylee, the third dancehall offering from the turntablist since he teamed up with DJs Apollo and Vinroc under the moniker Triple Threat. This set might not be a true DMC battle, but I'm sure it will be an experience on the decks and on the dance floor. NICOLAE WHITE