Secondhand Sureshots

posted April 05, 2010 02:04:00 PM CDT | 1 comments

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Diamond D said it the best, “Buyin’ old records is a habit.” While every producer likely has his or her expensive audiophile purchases, most can also pinpoint some gems on a shelf that were purchases for pennies on the dollar. The Dublab collective recognized this, and gathered four celebrated Los Angeles groove-digging producers with different styles and offered up a challenge. Each may purchase up to five records with only five dollars, and without adding any additional instruments or samples, create a new record. As much as the results, the process of Secondhand Sureshots is fascinating. Regardless of genre, anybody that’s interested in the secret life of vinyl will adore this film, and likely find a new scavenger’s treasure map.

Hip Hop heads may recognize J. Rocc most of the quartet. The Beat Junkies co-founder was a crucial part of Jaylib's Champion Sound union, as well as a joint-eulogizer in the masterful Volume 5 and 6 of The Beat Konducta’s Tribute To… Dilla component. Rocc makes one of the most Rap-friendly beats with chopped vocals, and Bluesy-Rock elements. Ninja Tune’s Daedelus has been heard alongside Busdriver as well as his extensive solo catalog. The Santa Monica native buys a Disco compilation, along with several others to make a quirky and dynamic composition. Next Underground Los Angeles Ras G crafts out a versatile cut. Lastly, Psychedelic aficionado and Mars Volta remixer DJ Nobody cranks out a bugged-out record with inescapable nod-factor. Collectively, these creations come from Deep Purple, Barbra Streisand, Isaac Hayes, as well as the expected unknown records that occupy thrift store crates universally.

Looking at how and where these producers make their music is truly interesting. Ras G uses a “blunted in the bomb-shelter” aesthetic, literally crafting tracks in a sparse studio shed beside his house. Nobody begins with a portable turntable in his living-room, posted up beside his cat. J. Rocc smokes blunts in front of a wall of records, needle-dropping throughout his purchases. Daedelus has a cleaner approach – piecing things to computer monitors from a well-lit, organized room. The collective meets up at the film’s conclusion to hear each others’ makings. This is the only confusing part of the work, as the creations are not even played in full, and the discussion between the participants is limited. Perhaps the process deserves to be more emphasized than the results, however, the audience investment is certainly high enough to want to hear 12 minutes of Funk.

Although its less than an hour-long documentary, the film producers surprise fans at the film’s end. Without revealing too much, Secondhand Sureshots takes greater length to contribute back to the record stores. With brief interviews about record pressings and cover art, those aspects of music-making are honored in a way that excites even the eldest digger. Dublab has made a great film that not only is user-friendly, but so deeply revealing of how cool the Los Angeles record scene is – with the respect held for the craft and the artists.

Purchase Secondhand Sureshots

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