It's the CD that made many music fans, male and female, urinate in their underwear for the world to see. It caused (and still causes) a hysteria on eBay when you do a search, and the magic "word" somehow makes records sell twice or three times their value. It has caused stress and amazement among long time collectors of funk and soul records, records that never moved or were unknown suddenly became famous with the release of the underground favorite, Brainfreeze (Sixty7). The recording by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist was an uncut practice session for a show in February 1999, as part of the Future Primitive Soundsession in San Francisco. Turntablism fans loved the CD by Cut Chemist and Shortkut, and when word of this show surfaced, people were hopeful for some amazing music. When it was heard that the entire set would be done with 45 rpm records, there was a silent but collective "oooooh!"
The show was formally recorded by the Future Primitive people. A bootleg live recording does exist (where both are obviously nervous and a bit sloppy), but fans had hoped the live recording would be released. Then it was heard that there was a "secret practice session". Then the rumor came out that it would never be released. Then it came out. It was sold by word of mouth for $15 each. The initial 1000 copies sold out. That was going to be it, but another 1000 were pressed up. It was with this second pressing that started the fricken ruckus. No one knows what happened, but suddenly these dusty old funky tracks that no one really cared about were being absorbed. In many ways these classic sides were being rediscovered by fans who weren't even alive or thought of when they were recorded. Just as the sampling of James Brown caused hip hop to sample everything and everything by him in the late 80's, Brainfreeze pretty much did its own form of damage.
The recording itself also allowed DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist to show off the original records that they either both sampled in their own respective works, stuff that were familiar to most hip hop fans, or to show their true love of funk and soul, both known and obscure.
When DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist would tour together in October 1999, Cut Chemist found his records stolen after a show in Portland, Oregon. When a fan bought 15 copies of the CD from an L.A. record store, it forced Cut Chemist react with a post on eBay. It was too late. When supply was gone, the CD could easily sell for as high as \$85. Someone bootlegged the CD and even came out with it on vinyl. It seemed to come full circle in an odd way, the CD that was supposed to be kept on the hush was now selling more than a Flavor Flav 12". The CD that was released to look like a bootleg was now being bootlegged itself.
Regardless of the drama that has come forth since the release of this CD, it is the music that makes the lasting effect. If you have been searching for any of the records within the two mixes on the CD, you can find out a little more by clicking to the links below, which will allow you to see the actual record labels along with some information of interest.
The gathering of the information of the recordings on Brainfreeze was done by Michael "DOP" Lane. Along with Galactic Fractures host PJ Gray, they and I managed to hunt down a lot of these records, digging a bit, spending too much money for our own good, and yes, resorting to eBay (booo!) Eternal mahalo to them.
Personally, I would also like to thank Oliver "O-Dub" Wang, Eothen "Egon" Alapatt, and Phill "Soulman" Stroman for occasional hints, tips, and confirmations on the gathering of recordings on my side. Much respect to everyone on the Hindsight and In/Flux Mailing Lists, past and present.
(NOTE: The tracks listed below are not the only songs within each mix, but just happen to be the records I have in my collection or have graphics for. If you happen to have one of the records that are not listed (i.e. Fried Chicken's "Funky DJ"), e-mail me at email@example.com and contribute a scan of the label if possible. These files are also quite large, so be prepared. I have a few compilations that feature the other songs, but I would prefer to look for the original 45's.)
Back to the top
The Abstract Beat Workshop (Best radio show in Hawai'i, period. Hosted by Joan9)
Back to the top