Thursday, March 15, 2012

The DJ

Christ Menist
4" x 4", oil on wood, 2012
A while back I was musing about instruments I had never painted before and with this miniature painting of Christ Menist I realized I had never painted "the turn table" before. Many a contemporary band has a DJ (or deejay, disc jockey, or turntablist) in their line up. The turntable as a musical instrument has its roots all the way back to the 1930s when composers such as Edgar Varese and John Cage experimented with the medium but was never considered as such until the advent of hip-hop in the 1970s. Hip-hop in turn owed a lot to Jamaican dub that started in the late 1950s. DJ Babu then coined the term turntablist in 1995 to describe the difference between a DJ, who spins discs, and someone who manipulates the turntable to create new sounds. Christ Menist together with Maft Sai are the "curators" of the East London Soundway label. They created a mix for the Quietus magazine that contains the track Mor Khaen Ha Ku by the Bangkok musician Prasai Jaegunkaew (with Piek and the Band). The musicians are completely obscure hence the choice for the DJs that played the song for an illustration of it. Christ Menist, an authority on the Thai music scene, was also the one who dug up the disc somewhere in Bangkok. The disc was a privately cut vinyl in an edition of not more than a few hundred copies. In an article (Paradise Found, Part 9: It's the Grooves that Count) about Thai records made in the mid 20th Century Menist explains the dynamics of the industry in Thailand.

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