Thursday 4 December 2014

DJ D.Beam Showcase @ Scratch Invaders, Barcelona, Spain 16th Nov '14

I was quite excited (to say the least) about this event, from the moment the organizers of Barcelona's monthly open-turntable scratch sessions @ Scratch Invaders announced it - D.Beam is definitely one of the worldwide Scratch Elite, I think I'd be hard-pushed to find anyone to challenge me on that!

What makes him so good? Well, in my opinion it's mainly (but not exclusively) down to his incredible record hand control. His tears are so clean so he gets a very "crisp" sound, and when tears are applied to other scratches it also enhances the sound (check the 3 or 4 backwards tears he does at 3:07 for example!) He also rarely puts a note out of place - I've been fortunate enough to witness him at a few sessions locally and each and every time he's been right on the money. Check him with DJ Swet at this showcase in 2012 -

Anyone who has got into scratching to a certain degree will have heard many times phrases such as "let the sound breathe","its not all about 3 clicks" or "scratch to the beat, not as fast as you can", and this clip is a great example of that. It's so easy to concentrate on complicated techniques and showing what you can do that we forget to listen to the beat, but here D.Beam is right on it, leaving pauses and not overloading the listener with 100mph scratches, but just teasing them with enough complexity to leave you saying "what the F was that?!" a few times! D-Styles is also a master at this... (of course!)

It's fair to say the "breaths" or pauses enhance the regular scratches, they give the listener that little bit of anticipation, and here he chooses a beat with perfect tempo for that.

Another trick D-Beam showcases, that, whilst he probably didn't pioneer it, he does do it to great effect and it's one of his signature "moves". In fact, to this day I've not seen anyone do it as well as he does (actually its a close call between him and the other master from Barcelona, DJ Swet). That is scratching on the "other' side of the vinyl, (watch from 1:50 onwards) so still using his left hand on the left deck but on the other side of the vinyl. It's something I've never dabbled in much but I'm told you can get different pitched sounds this way.  He also throws in a lot of nicely-crafted really quick baby scratches between 2-clicks (1:27 for example) and very sharp tazers (1:32), and has a nice timing variation on the delayed 2 clicker (3:18 - 3:20) (or first part of the autobahn - I've heard it called conflicting names)

What's great about what he does is the quick alternation between scratching on both sides of the record, using the record's motion to slow it down where needed (2:03 - 2:08). I'd be curious to know who was the first person who started scratching on the "wrong" side of the record - For my money it was UK pioneer Cutmaster Swift, as my earliest memory of seeing it done was when he did it on Turntable TV "Reverse Oyster Beard" (approx 6:41) and I think, judging by who's in attendance here that was filmed in their hotel room at "The Summit" in Rimini, which i believe was '98.

If you've only seen D.Beam scratching in videos or battles you might not know he's also a very accomplished producer as well. One of the best surprises I came across in 2011 was a free EP he released called "Next Time." This stayed on repeat for me for a good while! I probably listened to this one with Deska (prod. by MLP) about a 100 times!

D.Beam is a former multiple Spanish DMC champion and 2012 Spanish Red Bull Thre3style  Champion, follow him on Facebook , Twitter and Soundcloud

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