Mr. Scruff, Dubtronic Science, Birth
Saturday, Nov. 17
No one knows progressive electronic music like Ninja Tune. Focusing mostly on downtempo or hip-hop influenced “trip-hop” and sample based smorgasbords from the likes of DJ Food, Kid Koala and Coldcut, the British record label has been releasing great music for years.
When a Ninja Tune artist comes through town, connoisseurs of fine sounds and atmosphere should take note, get their ninja suits on and go shake it.
The latest Ninja to hit P-Town is Mr. Scruff. He’ll headline a solid lineup including J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science at an interesting and rarely used venue called Naked Sushi this Saturday. The venue is being used as an alternate to the original venue, B-Complex. Naked Sushi is more intimate and has a liquor license, the absence of which has been a thorn in B-Complex’s side. Many people appreciate the all ages option at Complex, but it’s likely damn hard to keep a large venue like that up and running without liquor revenue.
The vinyl-phile Brit Mr. Scruff, Andy Carthy to his mom, should be a great headliner for the supper club event. Like many good DJs, Scruff started his musical career in Manchester, England by making finely crafted mix tapes. He later started DJ-ing in clubs and composing his own tracks and the result has been positive.
His single “Get a Move On” doesn’t jump right out and say “dance music” while hitting you over the head with synth lines and spanking your bottom with four-on-the-floor bass. It does, however, make you want to dance. Early jazz and swing samples ride on top of a subtle somewhat housey break. The familiar four-beat bass finds its way into the mix but doesn’t get annoying or push too hard. The track rolls along like a spy comedy soundtrack and is, most importantly, fun. Scruff also lays down downtempo and break beats that all have in common great samples.
His great samples and fun music are likely a positive side effect of his addiction to vinyl. He samples vocal bits from who knows where and some scrapings from the kitchen sink for good measure. It seems that fun is in Scruff’s mission statement, although according to his press bio, the Scruff’s master plan is that he’s “not trying to do anything specific.” That’s probably a good thing because with a preferred set length of five hours (he’s turned down short gigs) he hopefully will be unspecific, go with the flow and toss in the whole damn kitchen sink.
At his Portland gig at Naked Sushi, chances are he will be able to stretch the time out a little. He is slated to spin from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and beyond, a treat for the night owls, and a chance to hear some gems his addiction has wrought.
Show up earlier than that (especially if you want dinner) however because openers Dubtronic Science, featuring California dance floor filler J-Boogie are damn entertaining with congas, sitar, flutes and of course, good beats. Local electronic “future jazz” group Birth will make a rare appearance before Dubtronic Science and DJ Roc will start things off at 8 p.m.
If you plan on going, take note: Admission for dinner and music is $40. Food and music starts at 8p.m. Twenty dollars will get you in after 11 p.m. for music only. From where I sit, it seems like it would be worth the extra green to eat some Sushi and catch three more hours of music. Whether or not the food and atmosphere will be worth the admission remains to be seen. The music should entertain, though, and there will be plenty of it.
Naked Sushi is located at 820 N. Russell (between Mint & White Eagle). Reservations are recommended as space is limited to around 100. Call 503-381-6331. Seating is between 8-9 p.m., entertainment from then on.