Best Purveyors of Thermonuclear Turntable Dynamics - 2003
The rock-band-with-DJ phenomenon seems to have subsided to the point where you no longer see some chump with headphones pantomiming bullshit scratches on MTV every 20 minutes, but fruitful underground experimentation between turntablists and traditional musicians continues unabated. Local sonic renegades Live Human have been stretching the boundaries of what people expect from improvised music since their formation in 1996. DJ Quest (of the pioneering scratch crew the Bullet Proof Space Travelers), bassist Andrew Kushin, and drummer Albert Mathias mix elements of improvisational groove and pure electronic sound. While the band often gets stuck with a "hip hop-jazz" label, Live Human's complete disregard for musical limitations has more parallels with the punk-funk experiments of NYC's no-wave movement and the Stockhausen extrapolations of Miles Davis and Can. The trio recently ended a criminally underappreciated two-month weekly residency at 26 Mix, but its members have plenty in the works. In addition to solo projects (Quest's new megamix, Mutationmann; Mathias' upcoming second CD; and Kushin writing and performing music for theater), the band is focused on a studio follow-up to last year's excellent limited-edition concert document, Live, as well as a break record for DJs featuring all-original Live Human loops and sounds.