Red Bull Music Academy DJ Crew Battle - Exchange L.A. - 12/5/12
Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash
Katie Bain The Smog Crew
Feat. Friends of Friends, Smog, Dim Mak, Jeffree's
It was beatmakers vs. beatmakers as a bunch of dudes in flat brimmed hats competed for bragging rights at last night's Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash. The L.A. incarnation of the international event pitted four local music collectives -- Smog, Dim Mak, Friends of Friends and Jeffree's -- against each other in a high-energy four round face-off at downtown's Exchange L.A. It went like this:
Round 1: Introduction: Each crew got ten minutes to familiarize the audience with their respective sound.
10:00PM: Introduced as the crew responsible for introducing dub and trap to L.A., Smog wastes no time getting into an aggressive dub and trap heavy set. It's shepherded by charismatic crew member MC Kemst, with 12th Planet taking charge on the decks. Nasty in all the right ways, the mini-set is a tough act to follow and sets the night's bar high.
10:15PM: Jeffree's, the new Mad Decent offshoot focused on presenting up and coming producers, features a crew including Astronomar, Paul Devro, and Djemba Djemba. They all seem slightly nervous and look hella young. Their primary tactic is blasting Diplo's "Express Yourself" while holding a bunch of vuvuzelas up in the air.
10:25PM: Friends of Friends immediately scores points for cockiness when they announce that they "took over L.A. this year." The collective's loud, ominous and sophisticated set makes it clear that these guys are indeed a force, with Salva, Shlohmo, Groundislava and Daedelus all representing.
10:35PM: L.A. mainstay Dim Mak goes very Aoki out the gate with a club-ready set drenched in synth sirens that pulses along at 134 BPM and includes Knife Party samples and some legit scratching from neck tattooed turntablist Klever, along with Dim Mak's Fashen.
10:57PM: The round one winner is a judged via a decibel level reading. Based on the screams, it seems Smog or Friends of Friends has taken this one.
Round 2: In this round each collective takes on the sound of another collective.
10:55PM: Jeffree's does Smog, although with the continued presence of the dancing girls and vuvuzelas, they seem to just be doing Mad Decent. It was only a matter of time before someone did a dub remix of the "Macarena" but what the hell, it's pretty fun.
11:06PM: Friends of Friends does Jeffree's better than Jeffree's does, with a set that's a harder, meaner, bigger version of the loose booty pop sound.
Katie Bain The party falls off the Friends of Friends stage