A hip-hop DJ and turntablist since the late 80s, DJ T-Rock (Travis Eller) is one half of American producer duo DJ T-Rock & Squashy Nice. They’ve just released Getting Through, their third album through New Zealand record label Why Records. You can listen to Getting Through on soundcloud over here, or buy it on bandcamp here. Physical copies are available in Auckland through Marbecks and Rhythm Records and in Wellington through Slow Boat Records and Rough Peel Music. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – Long Arm, The Branches: From the label Project Mooncircle it is one of those albums that inspired me to produce more music! I have never been more motivated to sit down and punch buttons to create drums and sample dusty vinyl as much as after I heard this record for the first time. Jazzy, soulful seamless chops that send your mind to a soothing place! This is one of those albums that I listen to and am reminded of what inspired me to make music in the first place. It’s a dope album to chill to and just an all around incredible piece of art.
2 – Pavel Dogval, Cassiopea: This gem is also from the Project Mooncircle label. Electronic boom-bap with a soothing head-nod rhythm. This is one of those albums I throw on in my car when I go on long drives through the California Desert. I like music with mood and tracks that have the ability to transport me to another time and place. To those people who understand music, you’ll understand what I mean when I say the album fits the surroundings. This album transports! Interpret it how you want it, that’s just my perspective. It also sounds like a summer night at 3 a.m. on a two traffic light street in any city around the world. I love its feel and vibe.
3 – Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, Equinox: This is one that is in constant rotation on my personal weekend playlist. Released in 1967 this album stands the test of time. Style, finesse and sophistication pour out of each song and take me to a different time and place when Summer days and nights in the balmy, Southern USA involved sitting in a porch swing sipping on Grandma’s sweet tea and thumbing through grandpa’s record collection. One of my favourite things to do is listen to Constant Rain (Chove Chuva) on the winter days when rain starts to fall in the supposedly sunny California.
4 – Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Mecca and the Soul Brother: This classic production by the legendary Pete Rock made me think of hip-hop in a whole different way! The samples, the way he used jazzy, cascading horns over break-beats made me realize that hip-hop beats could be made in an entirely different way other than the James Brown sampled big beats I had become so accustomed to. Pete Rock’s scratches captured my ear as rhythmic notes rather than overbearing out-of-place sounds. Pete Rock as a DJ was one of my main influences growing up on how to make scratching sound like it was part of the track rather than over top of it. I like to throw this album on daily to remind myself of what inspired me to be who I am today.
5 – T La Rock, Lyrical King (From The Boogie Down Bronx): I have this on cassette and vinyl. I can’t play the cassette any longer simply because I haven’t had a tape player for a decade now but you can damn sure bet I’m playing this classic vinyl around my apartment lately just because it is and always has been one of my top albums of all time! The beats are HUGE! My favourite songs include Tudy Fruity Judy, Back To Burn, Bust These Lyrics and Big Beat In London. This album takes me back to junior high school and is strictly B-Boy material and the beatbox track, Three Minutes of Beat Box blows my mind every time. I would like to take this moment to thank the year 1987 and the Boogie Down Bronx!