Movie Review by Kris Griffiths
Starring: Afrika Bambaataa, Yoga Frog, Mix Master Mike, DJ Q-Bert, DJ Shadow
Directors: Bonner Bellew, Doug Pray
SCRATCH, a feature-length documentary, charts the history of DJs or ‘turntablists’ as they are otherwise known as. Using live material, archived footage and a series of one to one interviews with the big names that got the ball rolling, the film goes far in presenting the case that DJing is actually an art form rather than just a bloke playing records on a set of decks.
I myself have questioned the fact that DJs are sometimes referred to as musicians – after all, playing a record is a world away from playing a musical instrument to a high standard. This film does well in enabling me to see the light, along with all the other doubters out there.
Explaining it all through interviews and performances are big names in the hip-hop world including DJ Qbert, Rob Swift and the X-ecutioners, Cut Chemist and NuMark, DJ Craze, Steve Dee, The Beat Junkies, The Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters, and the granddaddy of them all, Afrika Bambaataa. There are many more than this but these were the ones that made it to the top.
In doing so, they played at a lot of DJ battles and these are the highlights of the film, where the skill is laid bare for all to see. With lightning hands and precision control these maestros are highly impressive showmen and the sound in the auditorium was enough to get the seats shaking.
All in all, SCRATCH is an entertaining and enlightening watch that will appeal heavily to fans, and maybe convert a lot of non-believers.