Title / Release Page: Prevail
Artist: DJ Racy A.J
Release Date: 2014 Sept 01
Genre: Downtempo / Hip-Hop
License: CC BY-NC
Label: Dusted Wax Kingdom / BandCamp
Dj Racy A.J (aka R.A.J) is a Ukrainian producer who is not new to the netlabel scene, This is his fifth release on Dusted Wax Kingdom, which he has also made available via his BandCamp page. But this release is a bit different given the events that have occurred in the Ukraine this year. In fact, between the revolution in January and ongoing conflict with Russia this release was put on hold for several months. However, DJ Racy A.J Prevails and has managed to bring this release into the world.
DJ Racy A.J Prevails
R.A.J is a DJ / Producer after my own heart with a preference for using turntablism and analog mixers alongside pads and digital techniques in producing his sound. The first thing about a recording like this: there is a lot of obvious tactile and organic feel that has gone into these tracks. Quite a few of them have the feel of DJ Shadow or DJ Krush.
And this is another thing that separates DJ’s in such a crowded field. I’ve talked about how some DJ’s have excelled in their production, or do all of their production using samples and pads on a laptop (like xQz). But the fact is, there are quite a few that don’t really do anything beyond programming a system, looping samples, punching more samples in and out, etc. The whole thing is so automated that it feels sterile and generic.
This isn’t the case with R.A.J — these tracks have a personal feeling to them. They aren’t just the product of someone sitting out and doing the logical thing with a bunch of samples, they aren’t merely the product of programming a computer. They are the result of a someone sweating through a bunch of tracks, building things up layer by layer, pouring a lot of their own perspective and experience into the tracks. There is a soul, a real person actually in this music. It’s a feeling you don’t get from many of the over-produced digital works today. (Not to say it can’t be done, but it doesn’t come through most of the time.)
To say DJ Racy A.J Prevails is something of an understatement. The turmoil that has been ongoing for the past year in the Ukraine has been a source of disruption of R.A.J as he worked on this release, But in the end he prevailed, and I’m extremely pleased that he did. This release sets itself apart by having real soul and feeling that only a direct human touch brings. Much like DJ Shadow, or DJ NuMark or Cut Chemist, Dj Racy A.J is a master of turntablism. It is gratifying to hear the result of R.A.j prevailing against the forces of the times in his country.