Just as they were gaining a gargantuan audience, New York's X-ecutioners were losing key member and 1992 DMC East Coast Champion Rob Swift. It was 2002, and the X-ecutioners, a four-piece who fall under the turntablist label ' musicians who masterfully wield turntables to the extent that they build entire albums from their manipulations ' were trading the stellar experiments that solidified their debut LP for team-ups with the likes of Linkin Park.
Rob Swift was by then mulling over his exit, and the interview-heavy DVD documentary As the Tables Turn follows his days from a young, hopeful DJ to the enviable realm of the DMC champion and X-ecutioner. The transition from Swift's time in the group to his solo turn is addressed in candid detail during the film, particularly in interviews with a number of friends and fellow group members.
As the Tables Turn boasts high points in grainy DJ-battle vid clips (the infamous X-Men and the Invisibl Skratch Pikls faceoff, for example), introspective chats and footage of X-ecutioner Mista Sinista's mind-bogglingly quick cuts. A few minutes of As the Tables Turn find Swift behind the decks for Large Professor, a producer whose credits include Nas, Eric B. & Rakim and the group for which he also MC'd, '90s greats Main Source ' he does their 'Lookin' at the Front Doorâ?� in the film.
Inversely, Thisish Vol. 1 boasts the talents of another horde of contemporary New York producers at the onset of their production careers, as hosted by Large Professor. Just as Large Pro's work on Breaking Atoms will remain a sonically complex feat, he hosts a party on Thisish Vol. 1 that's also rich in experimentation and nuance. There are glitchy works on Thisish from Cresh Frazy, who works chopped piano bits into skittering beats on 'As the Arrow Fell,â?� and a couple of striking downtempo exercises from another green Brooklyn producer named Jonnyfive.
The handful of executive producers on Thisish Vol. 1 includes Marshall Law, who appears all over the compilation, in one capacity or another. Law's works go from one extreme to the next, as he deals jazzy breaks and cuts a la Madlib's Shades of Blue in 'Thought Process,â?� and blunt synth jabs over stuttering midtempo beats on 'Runnin' Away,â?� which is set off by sampled belligerence from failed former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld.
Law is only one of the sharp, eager beat-makers on Thisish, but his experience runs a little deeper; it began roughly around the time of a gig he earned as a stage manager, engineer, then producer for another group of sound-bending New Yorkers, the X-ecutioners.