MUSIC BOX: Beat Science

By on January 17, 2017

Legendary hip-hop deejay Cut Chemist headlines Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine party along with the electric soul of Late Night Radio.

Cut Chemist

Cut Chemist

JACKSON  HOLE, WY – The 12th issue of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine encapsulates the unnerving resilience of local snowboarders and the journeys that have cemented their love for snow. When it comes to enduring hip-hop and its architects, that same type of spirit can be used to describe iconic turntablist and beat maker Cut Chemist, who will headline the magazine’s annual throw down this Friday.

JHSM parties have sown a legacy for bringing hip-hop’s finest players to the stage, from De La Soul to Talib Kweli, and Cut Chemist keeps with the tradition. Scratching, mixing and producing, Cut cut his teeth during a time when DJs spent hours digging through vinyl masterpieces, sampling and splicing together different beats to create fresh musical gems.

For fans of hip-hop heavyweight Jurassic 5, Cut, born Lucas MacFadden, is a household name. He founded the group along with his teenage buddy Chali 2na, though many know him through the Grammy-winning Latin funk outfit Ozomatli, which headlined Rendezvous Fest in Teton Village back in 2009.

Cut has also collaborated with fellow turntablist and beat extraordinaire DJ Shadow on a number of projects including the underground smash Brainfreeze and its follow-up, Product Placement. In 2014, Cut and Shadow had another brilliant idea—the Renegades of Rhythm tour. The duo traveled the country playing only vinyl from Afrika Bambaataa’s massive original record collection. The tour has become the stuff of legend as the two DJs/producers managed to deliver a lesson in the origins and essence of hip-hop at every show. JHSM/PJH editor Robyn Vincent happened to be at the duo’s Los Angeles stop.

“In a time when a lot of DJs press buttons on their laptops and don’t quite know how to connect with a crowd, this show was so unique,” Vincent said. “Dropping funk, disco and classic breakbeat records, they had thousands of people under their spell who all seemed to recognize they were witnessing a historic performance.”

Whether producing, remixing, film scoring, or performing, Cut has helped create a benchmark for DJ diversification. He has developed a taste for music and rhythms from around the world while keeping his ethic for the hip-hop tradition.

It’s important to widen people’s musical vocabulary and I feel it’s my job as a DJ to do so,” Cut told Dublab last fall. “When I was coming up, my favorite DJs were the ones who skillfully played the most obscure music while still making people dance. Hip-hop is not a specific type of music, it’s how it’s presented. I feel I’ve always proved that and will continue to do so.”

Also akin to the snowboarder mentality, Late Night Radio heats up the show with the mantra “emotion over energy.” The DJ/producer has been touring the theater scene with his friend Michal Menert of Pretty Lights, among others. While Pretty Lights is the godfather of the electric soul/space jazz scene birthed in Denver about 15 years ago, the godfather himself, Pretty Lights creator Derek Vincent Smith, points to Late Night Radio as the most promising of the next generation of beat makers and DJs. That should be the only encouragement you need to show up early for this one.

Late Night Radio

Late Night Radio

12th annual JH Snowboarder Magazine party with Cut Chemist and Late Night Radio, 9 p.m. Friday, January 20 at the Pink Garter Theatre. First 100 people through the door will receive a limited edition Avalon 7 faceshield featuring this year’s cover art by Bryan Iguchi. Snowboard silent auction with decks from Never Summer, Lib Tech, Arbor and more begins at 8 p.m. $32.50-$35., 733-1500.

Boogie with Lager at MOM

For a guy from America’s Breadbasket to fall in love with the soul music of Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Van Morrison, and Wilson Pickett is not out of the ordinary. But to tour out of Nebraska for the last decade and build a fanbase through the middle of the country with “boogie trance” and “heavy soul” is pretty surprising. Kris Lager Band delivers a legitimate rock ‘n’ roll revival complete with feel good dancing, singing and hollering. It’s an intensity that rings loud and funky through a pair of cool shades on the band’s latest effort Rise and Shine, which brings a raw Black Keys vibe with vintage keyboard textures, a swamp-pop sensibility, and monster guitar riffs.

I’m huge into boogie artists like John Lee Hooker and Magic Sam,” Lager told Lagniappe Weekly last month. “They’ve both been huge influences on my guitar playing. I kinda tip my hat to those old boogie guys that know how to play a good swanky guitar.”

Kris Lager Band 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, January 20 and 21 at The Trap Bar at Grand Targhee Resort. Free.

Flowering Front Range folk-grass

Three-part female harmony and the delicate delivery of The Sweet Lillies have been fully embraced by Colorado’s progressive grass-Americana scene. Following in the footsteps of fellow Coloradoans Elephant Revival and Paper Bird while also bringing to mind string band Crooked Still, it boils down to quality songwriting for the quartet. The Front Range outfit released its self-titled debut in October. It’s a solid collection of tunes recommended for lovers of down tempo string music with heartfelt lyrics.

The Sweet Lillies, 10 p.m. Thursday, January 19 at Town Square Tavern. Free. 733-3886.  PJH



PTO (Mangy Moose)


The Sweet Lillies (Town Square Tavern)


JH Snowboarder Magazine Party with Cut Chemist and Late Night Radio (Pink Garter)


Tasha (Silver Dollar), Nappy Roots (Town Square Tavern), Lounge on Fire (Mangy Moose)


Freda Felcher (Silver Dollar), Stagecoach Band (Stagecoach), Open Mic (Pinky G’s)


BOGDOG (Mangy Moose)


Andy Frasco (Town Square Tavern), One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar), White Lightning Open Mic (Trap Bar)

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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