Coldcut, DJ Nu-Mark captivate and amaze!

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How could a party for the computer company HP have one of the best d.j. performances of the year? Blasphemy! If I didn’t witness it myself on Friday night, it would be hard to believe.

HP has been organizing events for a few years around Hong Kong. I’ve noticed their involvement as a co-sponsor for several other major parties. Friday’s event was purely an HP affair and featured an all-star lineup of talent. The party was the Hong Kong leg of the six-city “Art in Motion” Asia tour. The venue for the night was the former Club Hot in Tsim Sha Tsui, which was reopened just for the event.

The party started off with Hong Kong’s most famous turntablist, D.J. Tommy, putting on an excellent performance. Tommy got the crowd moving with his blend of nimble scratches and d.j. theatrics.

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Next up, local act Fama took the stage and performed a set working the crowd with their Cantonese Hip Hop.

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They were followed by Pfadfinderei, a Berlin-based multimedia collective who put on a combination d.j. and v.j. set.

Nu-Mark, a top American d.j. and producer of the group Jurassic 5 took the stage next.

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He had an array of children’s toys assembled in front of him alongside a mixer and a laptop computer.

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Within his set, he played each of the toy instruments, improvising on them and integrating them masterfully. The toys included a tiny drum set, a children’s turntable and a monkey with cymbals! The large screens in back of the stage helped everyone in the room watch the details of his performance.

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It was amazing to witness and it dazzled the crowd.

After DJ Numark, Coldcut, a veteran recording artist who has been on the forefront of music for the past twenty years took the stage. Coldcut was responsible for several interesting “mash-ups” before that term even existed. Over fifteen years ago he recorded an amazing mix of the soundtrack of The Jungle Book with a James Brown beat. He was also the man behind the dance floor classic Paid In Full remix, featuring the genius pairing of Eric B. and Rakim with Ofra Haza.

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For Friday night’s performance, Coldcut would be putting on a joint d.j. and v.j. set. He worked in a large variety of music, even playing old music videos by The Fat Boys and Run-D.M.C. in the mix.

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Later he branched out to more contemporary sounds.

Coldcut was joined on stage by M.C. Juice Aleem, who was a master himself at working the crowd. Not only did he have vocal dexterity, but he expertly enhanced the tracks without overpowering Coldcut’s selections.

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The crowd, which consisted of old music fans who knew many of his earlier songs, reacted enthusiastically. Even those unfamiliar with his music were in rapture as the set went on.

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The front of the stage was a swirl of people jumping up and down to the music. There were stage dives and crowd surfers on several occasions – rare for anywhere in Hong Kong, let alone a d.j. show!

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Coldcut’s set lasted a good hour. The crowd went berserk when he finished performing, so he came back on for an encore.

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Just when I thought it couldn’t go on like this any longer, Dj Nu-Mark took the stage for his second set of the night.

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This time around he played a set manipulating the turntables. He used a quick-cutting style, mixing new selections in very fast succession. His song selection and timing were unmatchable. The crowd had no chance to get away. They were entranced, hanging on his every mix. Nu-Mark played a variety of soul classics ranging from the familiar to the obscure. People kept grooving along to every track. I’ve seldom heard anything like it. It was one of the smoothest, best laid sets I’ve witnessed. As the music ended and the lights came on I’ve never seen so many club-goers smiling. Congratulations to Jimmy at Red Agency for putting on a fantastic event.

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