Sunday, August 17, 2008

8 Gold Medals later

If it weren’t for the river driven fresh air permeating Strasbourg (aka Bourgstras), I would be having a difficult time catching my breath. A whirlwind-crab scratch-freestyle cyclone touched down when we hit the cobblestone, and finally whirs to a slow hum tonight.

We hit the ground running on Wednesday night, chilling with the incredibly hospitable Turnableast Crew. Farbeon has been crashing with DJ Q, while I’ve been kicking it at DJ Rectape’s. The whole crew lives in the neighborhood Neudorf, within walking distance of each other. We woke on Thursday to plaster the town with party flyers and take the walking tour of Strasbourg, courtesy of l’homme extraordinaire Perco Loco. Before we knew it, it was time to pack gear for the soiree a La Grotte. And it ain’t called the Grotte for nothing. One of those straight dungeonous European clubs, underneath the street and sweaty as the man in the iron mask. The crowd filled in pretty quickly, and Turntableast rocked the party silly. We hit the stage at around 1:30am and did a full blast 40 minute set. Worked out some kinks, had Rectape hold us down on the decks, dealt with some sound issues… and tore it up. It was mostly a relief to get the first show out of the way, figure out how to read the foreign language crowd and test-drive some new routines. But enough about us…

The real treat was the turntable tactics on display by the fellas. One of Turntableast, DJ Nelson, is a 2007 & 2008 French DMC Finalist, and winner of France TKO Battle. Basically, this cat has the illest scratches I’ve ever laid eyes on. I mean, like, Q-Bert status. Riveting stuff. So, the crew rocked the crunk/club/booty bass dance party as we proceeded to get, um, toe up. Once the club closed at 4am, we kicked it backstage boozing, beatbox karaoke-ing, freestyling and building. After packing up and sneaking out through a back door (to avoid le police posted out front), we made it back to Rectape’s at 6:30am. And then hauled all the DJ equipment up the 3 floors to his apartment:) Good vibes go out to DJ Swa, whose car was towed and impounded by le flics. Po-po’s wreaking havoc everywhere…

So, rising Friday at 3:00pm, we met up with Rec’s homey Niko, aka Hon. Hon is a producer/AV engineer at a high-end studio in Keil, just across the Rhine River in Germany. We went to check out the lab and made studio plans for Sunday. And then just like that, it was time to re-pack all the DJ gear and hit the highway to Colmar, where we were booked to rock “Cimarron Lakside Soundsystem 2008.”

About 40 minutes into the countryside drive, it got a little nervous. Sort of like driving into the woods a la Brothers Grimm. The only directions instructed that the party was “avant le maison d’eau” (before the water tower). Okay. So we arrived to a pretty disheartening scene. It had rained all day, the party was not even close to set up, and it was 9:30pm. I will make a long story short and let the soon-to-come pictures and video do the talking. DJs didn’t start playing till midnight, the other live act was a French folk guitar rap act, and the keg tap was busted. Finally the beer started flowing, the merguez sausages were grilling and the peoples partied. By the time we hit the stage at 4:30AM heads were either slumped near the bonfire or hepped up on dancehall. Far and I hit them with a reggae-centric half hour that had the woods howling. After blowing the roof off of the outdoor party, the organizer walked back up to us with two microphones, nodded to the soundman, handed us the mics and simply said, “Freestyle.” So the cypher blazed until le matin, and for the second straight day, we saw the sunrise. The only difference was that we were 60 kilometers from home, and had to be at DJ Q’s radio show at 10:00am!

We pulled into Strasburg at about 8:00am, caught a shower, hit the boulangerie and rolled over to RBS Radio 91.9. Still 5 deep (Q, Rectape, Far, Perco Loco, Fred aka DJ Deriv and myself), we took turns passing out on the “couch of mysterious stains” until the needles dropped. Then Far and I did an on-air interview, rocked the freestyles, and I DJ’d a 30 minute set. Hotness for the underground broadcast radio. Afterwards, there was no option other than passing the fuck out.

Saturday night was our chance to give back to our divine hosts. I cooked a feast for the crew, and we chilled at Q’s, listening to jazz, eating, drinking and moroccing. Then we hit the Strasbourg streets deep along with Lyrics, DJ Nelson and Rom One (ill beatboxer) for a Hip Hop stroll. Strasbourg is a city with small town vibe, so every 4 blocks we ran into someone who someone knew. Without even trying, we found ourselves up at 4:00am again. But our timing was perfect to return to Q’s, eat leftovers and watch Michael Phelps win gold medal #8.

Semi-caught up on sleep today, waking at 1:30pm in the afternoon. We promptly met up with Niko and hit Time Code Studios. In a 6-hour session, we knocked out 3 tracks. Took an intermission to Niko & NoNo’s (his lady) house, where we were fed, overfed, and sensory satiated entirely. NoNo even called ahead to Berlin to hook us up with a hotel she recommended. Seriously, this girl cooked a fantastic feast, speaks fluent French, German, Spanish and English, and politicked U.S. foreign policy with us for 2 hours. Magnifique. When you guys come to New York, you are getting royal Rabbi D backyard BBQ treatment.

Back to the lab to catch the rough mix bounces. Outstanding session. Far and I did two tracks together over beats by Hon, one (tentatively) called “Timecode” (aka “Currency Exchange”) and another called (tentatively) “Yes He Is.” The first, we had been writing on for 2 days. The second, I devised the hook on Friday, and we full-on freestyled the verses, trading off and punching in on each other. Far also laid down the beautiful ode, “Shape My Life,” over a sensational sentimental track by Rectape.

So as I bed on Sunday, we have tomorrow to relax in picturesque Strasbourg. The plan is to edit some photos and video, and ready the multi-media tour update. We’ve got some incredible footage thus far, and I’m sharpening my chops on imovie:)

Nearly off to Berlin…

Bon soiree,

Schooly D

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