Mix Master Mike is still spinning Beastly rhythms

Jean Ellen Gismervik

While the Beastie Boys are still in the studio working on their next release, DJ Mix Master Mike, who has spun for the Boys since 1998, is hitting the road. After dropping his fourth solo album, “Return of the Cyklops” at the end of August, the Mix Master is welcoming Guns ‘N’ Roses to the “jungle” as he opens their “Chinese Democracy” world tour with some of the heavy scratching that sets “Cyklops” apart from recent hip-hop trends.

And how are the hard rock GNR fans swallowing the sound? “It’s something that they’ve never heard and that they’ve never seen before,” says Mike. “It’s like showing a baby how to walk and they get excited about it that it’s not just a DJ or turntables, but a musician. The response is out of control.” So with this kind of reaction can we predict that scratching is the future of music? Mike certainly thinks so. “What the Neptunes and Missy do, it’s all computerized music, but with our art — we do scratches live. The turn table is like a percussion instrument. Anything I have on vinyl can be manipulated whether it’s a piano, a guitar, it can be manipulated into the mix,” he said.

With his latest release, Mike seems to have one foot in the old school and the other looking for a space in hip-hop future unoccupied by the Neptunes. What “Cyklops” ultimately promises is not a bright and brief comet tail across the face of pop culture, but a celebration of scratch for those who can appreciate the effects. Mike describes the sound as “futuristic, psychedelic, mind-boggling and intelligent.” For Beastie fans who are curious, “Cyklops” sound plays like “Intergalactic” minus the “Bea-STIE-Boys!”

Bottom line, “Cyklops” remains unadulterated by the stripped-down and re-mixed beats of producing teams like N.E.R.D. or Elliot/Timbaland who are dominating the hip-hop scene. What this means is that it’s fresh, it’s fun, but unfortunately it will probably go unappreciated outside D.J./house fans or Beastie’s boyz who enjoy the sci-fi static electricity revved up on the Mix Master’s tables.

But for those of you who are interested in expanding your hip hop vernacular or just want to look like you know what you are talking about while picking up the latest beats, we had Mix Master Mike create his very own “Mixionary.”

Mix Master Mike’s “Mixionary”

“Backspinning” — Chewing up the record to find a certain sound.

“Chirp” — A scratch kind of mocking the Tweetie Bird sound.

“Crab” — Hitting or plucking the cross fader with all five fingers in a fluid motion causing the fader to vibrate.

“Flare” — A reverse art of scratching, a strategic way on how to move the crossfader sounds kind of a like an illusionary scratch.

“Jungle” — A drum and bass sound that came from the jungle.

“House” — Plays the same beat constantly; the bump, bump, bump, over singing, slower than techno. Every song has the same beat.

“Trip Hop” — A mixture of hip-hop and drum and bass.

“Trance” — Music that speaks so much for itself. It puts you in a trance.

“B-boying” — Someone heavily involved in the hip-hop culture; somebody who is part of the four elements of hip-hop which are break dancing, MCing, graffiti, DJing.

“Uzi scratch” — scribbling the cross fader.

“Bugged out” — Different, out of control, out of this world.