JUS’ A Swamp Thing: Schematic and Dizzee rep during WMC week

Swamp Thing

I/O Lounge – March 7, 2004

I/O hosted the Schematic Music Company party called Swamp Thing Sunday night, a collection of more than twenty artists that approach electronic music from various innovate digital signal processing approaches but all in search of the common theme of throwing a raging, volatile party.

“I try to make everyone put their meanest face on and have the audience stay rugged while keeping their individuality as I try to be real physical living out my rock fantasies on stage,” said Frankie Musarra, 22 of Cleveland, also known as Hearts of Darknesses.

The entire night was a bit overwhelming with so many artists but it made for an eclectic showcase of talent. From the groove oriented minimalism of Styrofoam, the harsh industrial sludge of Doormouse and Baseck, the pop inclination of Girl Talk, to the Electroclash spectacles of Finnesse + Runway and Otto Van Schirach, there was something for all tastes.

“Fantastic chaos is Schematic’s approach. Artists that are the symphonic avant-garde that have nothing based on anything planned but just go on the fuel of the environments and the creation of one of a kind parties,” said Phoenicia member and Schematic creator Romulo del Castillo.

While the night progressed into the early morning hours, headliners Phoenecia and Richard Devine did not end up playing due to time constraints. However, over coming their frustrations with the sound system, the newly formed Airborn Audio, consisting of Priest and Sayyid of the now defunct Antipop Consortium, showcased their new material from their yet untitled album due out this Fall. The groundbreaking underground rap artists gave the crowd a taste of their intense, confrontational break beat style.

“Our main agenda is to keep the beats thick since there is so much space and room to create,” said Sayyid. He revealed that they will finish up their album at the notorious Hit Factory, with him and High Priest controlling all aspects of the production. While never reaching mainstream status, the legacy of Antipop is undeniable.

“Priest is the one who invented playing beats live-he’s the one who brought this into the game. Everyone was just bringing CDs and vinyl but he was the main cat that brought the equipment to make the beats live,” said Sayyid.

Dizzee Rascal

Surfcomber Hotel – March 8, 2004

Miami was given their first taste of British hip-hop sensation Dizzee Rascal, whose Mercury Award winning album was released domestically on Matador at the end of January. With warm-up performances from Peanut Butter Wolf, Amp Fiddle, and the deejay sensations Shortkut and J. Rocc, also known as the Beat Junkies, the Technics M3 Sunset Session on the beach was a low-key way to enjoy a show yet still utilized the over-indulgent, decadent fashion that is South Beach.

Making it to the stage at 9:45, Dizzee spouted out his thick accented rhymes with a quickness and precision that few rap artists carry in the game. Kicking off with “I Luv U,” he quickly dove into his library of brooding, somewhat unsettling yet always urgent and rowdy rhymes. He rapped songs from his album like “Live O,” “Jus a Rascal,” “2 Far,” “Wot U On,” while occasionally using breaks to freestyle accappella, asking the audience, “What’s your mission in life?”

The audience nodded their heads and some attempted to move to the beats, but for the most part the crowd did not know who to dance to less structured beats of the British 2-step garage sound that Dizzee raps over. Definitely a hype man is needed, like Bez in the Happy Mondays that rallies up the crowd and gets people moving. The closer was the one real exception to this, with the hard hitting break beat of “Fix Up, Look Sharp,” crowd finally started to really dig on it as Dizzee enlightened the audience with his own cultural slang.

Ross Whitsett can be contacted at r.whitsett@umiami.edu.