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Ninja Tune Tour
Just across the border from the current state of underground hip hop, a mentally deranged lot of characters with names like Chocolate Weasel, Vadim, Herbalizer, Food, Neotropic, and Funky Porcini lurks in exile. These DJs, better known as members of the Ninja Tune record label, are the mad scientists of beat manipulation. In their cracked-up world, beats are test tubes for reactionary experiments between three basic elements: hip hop, dub, and found sounds. When mixed, new auditory creations flow from the turntables.

Although there are several architectural similarities, each Ninja builds his own temple. DJ Vadim, one of the oldest members, leans toward the creation of dark soundscapes littered with surrealistic dub-heavy beats and microcollages of urban noise. Chocolate Weasel merges early '70s psychedelia with outer-space textures in a futuristic funk spin on traditional hip-hop beats. About once a year a few of these DJs/producers gather their extensive collection of beats and cuts to showcase all that's new and weird in the Ninja Tune world. The '98 tour will feature old favorites like Herbalizer and Vadim but, more notably, newcomers Chocolate Weasel and Neotropic. This show offers a good chance to catch the cutting edge of underground hip hop.

— Robert Arriaga

Herbalizer, DJ Vadim, Chocolate Weasel, and Neotropic appear with local DJs Paul Craven, Darkhorse, and VJ Hex on Saturday, April 4, at 9 p.m. at the Justice League, 628 Divisadero (at Hayes), S.F.. Tickets are $10; call 440-0409.

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