Digital, 6Blocc, Calculon, Shamanga, Fanu, Agzilla – Rogue Style 2 EP [Defrostatica Records]

Defrostatica Records doubles down on its Rogue Style series, which returns to pay tribute to the b-boy scene and its many strains of influence for a second time.

The first entry in the Rogue Style series saw Sinistarr, Kiat, Kabuki and HomeSick providing tracks inspired by b-boying and the lineup for this EP is just as international. Digital (UK), 6Blocc, Calculon, Shamanga (all USA), Fanu (Finland) and Agzilla (Iceland) are those responsible for the tracks, which kick hard and deep in all different directions, fanning out from the common ground of a respect for b-boy culture.

Digital provides a straight-up stomp through drum & bass for ‘Uprock’, a no-nonsense introduction to the four-track EP. He said: “Myself and my older brother have been into hip hop and b-boy culture from an early age. It showed me music wasn’t just something you danced to, it demonstrated togetherness, passion and the amazing life you can have through music.” 

At the other end of the record, Agzilla tortures breakbeats for fun, ramping up the bassweight on ‘Tesselation’ before a blunt-force bassline closes the track out. The Icelandic producer said: “The disciplines of hip hop, graffiti, turntablism, and breakdancing have been subtle undercurrents throughout my design and music. The era of discovering groundbreaking sounds, dancing, and style in the 80’s left a deep imprint on me. And out of that wellspring grew my journey into the liberating universe of electronic music. The aura of b-boy culture has been with me ever since and remains both fascinating and deeply inspirational.”

Sandwiched between these tracks is Fanu’s atmospheric tribute to the mechanics of the old-skool scene, ‘Machinedrummachine’, and the USA trio of 6Blocc, Calculon and Shamanga’s footwork-referencing breakbeat monster ‘Call Out’. Both tracks throw in vocal sample snippets for good measure.

Speaking about his track, Fanu said: “No-one can deny that drum machines did play a big part in creation of hip hop. In my song for Defrostatica, I wanted to employ my Machinedrum for the job. Those who know hip hop may spot a familiar sample or two there as well.”

And speaking about the scene as a whole and its influences on their musical upbringing, the American trio had a lot to say. Calculon, who has fond childhood memories of watching the Breakin’ movie, said: “As a teenager in San Diego I was later exposed to underground hip hop Kool Keith/Dr Octagon and DJ Shadow, and it was scratching that inspired me to save up and get my first set of turntables. I remember buying an Invisibl Skratch Piklz VHS tape from the local record shop and watch it at home, impressed to this day by their skill and dedication to the craft.”

6Blocc added: “The b-boy movement inspired me to push myself with my DJ skills and music production and mentally I’m still the same kid I was when I first started! I can’t imagine doing anything else in life than making music and adding to my huge vinyl collection. In the late 90’s I produced hard jungle vinyl releases under the name B-Boy 3000 because to me jungle music was hip hop fast forwarded 1000 years ahead in a time when lyrics no longer exist and all is just sample sounds modified by computers.”

And for Shamanga, B-boying has been a huge part of life since he was nine years old. He explained: “My older cousin was a DJ… I remember vividly when he played me this new sound. “This is scratching” he said to me. The tune was ’Looking for the Perfect Beat’ by Afrikka Bambatta and the Soulsonic Force. I was instantly hooked on hip hop. This was 1981. I went on to collect any rap record I could find.

“Throughout the 80’s, I would obsess on the beats, trying to get the hot tracks before the other kids in my neighborhood. Growing up in Southern California, I would go to the swap meet and get Rodeo Mix Tapes by DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, etc. I learned about Rodney O and Joe Cooley, KRS One, Mixmaster Spade, King Tee, Eazy-E, Toddy T, and more. I began DJ’ing in 1988.”

“One particular crew, 7A3 (produced by a mostly unknown DJ Muggs) inspired me to take my abilities to a new level. I purchased an HR-16 drum machine and bought a bass guitar. A few years later, a couple of the gangsters in my neighborhood wanted to become rappers, so they bought an Ensoniq EPS16+. Once they realized they didn’t want to learn how to program the machine, they gave it to me, with one stipulation… I was to produce beats for them to rap over. This was 1991. I have not stopped since.”

Rogue Style EP 2 is out now – click here to buy.

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