July 8, 2014


Chris Daly can go twenty rounds with you on Centipede

The concept is simple enough: The Galactic Skratch Federation held a contest to see who the baddest DJ in the stars was. Naturally, Qbert was in the mix, and two albums resulted–Extraterrestria and GalaXXXian. The latteris comprised of “Earthly beats,” while the formeris to be taken as the input from our interplanetary brothers and sisters. In other words, one album is from earth, the rest are from other universal participants. It’s the execution that’s impressive as hell.

Conceits aside, the other way to view this project, quite simply, is as a Doctoral Class on scratch DJing. Extraterrestria is all instrumental, though guests do pop up here and there. World renowned cellist and trombonist Dana Leong, Chad Hugo of Neptunes/N.E.R.D. production fame and drunkonica duo, Tipsy, give added depth to this sonic juggernaut. While the theme may be intergalactic, the vibe is heavy on the Low End Theory–dark, non-conformist and always funky. Source material tends to skew heavily towards Middle Eastern strings and horns, boom bap and enough kitchen sink extras to keep even the nerdiest of music nerds asking, “how the hell did Qbert make these sounds?” Let’s be honest, in lesser hands, a full album of off-the-wall beats and scratches could grow tiresome fairly quickly. Look no further than tracks like, “Moth-Ra,” Draconian,” and “Astro Frog,” and you’ll quickly discover that is not a problem here.

GalaXXXian expands the formula, adding MCs so underground they’re subterranean. Even passing backpackers should recognize names like El-P, Del the Funky Homosapien and Kool Keith, but it’s the rest of the crew that makes this a project for the ages. Qbert displays a mastery of matching his vocalist with the perfect beat, no small task. Tassho Pearce’s rubberband vocals are perfectly complimented on “Room Service,” and “Kooty Kat” allows P.E.A.C.E., Genie Love and Camille Velasco the opportunity to knock out their best Buster Rhymes flows. Hell, Buster wishes he was on this track instead of that Eminem train wreck, but what can you do?

I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit floored by the fact that this Kickstarter funded project hasn’t received more love on the earthly Interwebs. Shy some break dancers and graffiti artists, this is about as hip hop as you can get. I guess we’ll just have to see how it fares on intergalactic channels.

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