Even with no real lyrics or sentimental crooning, Mix Master Mike's sound digs down deep into your soul. It's a different kind of groove. Mix Master Mike, a.k.a. Mike Schwartz, lets his turntable do the talking. He went solo two years ago, leaving behind the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and the Beastie Boys. The move was a smart one, helping to define him as a balls-out turntablist.
His most recent album, Anti-Theft Device, was recorded in one or two takes. The rhythms are infectious. Mix Master Mike constructs beats out of a wide range of sources, from Muddy Waters to Austin Powers. The turntablist manages to blend old-school beats with some of the most innovative cutting and scratching ever heard.
His multicultural blending isn't a surprise. He was raised listening to '70s funk, Johnny Cash and John Coltrane, among others. First inspired by the Grandmaster DST, Mix Master Mike experimented by blending tapes on his uncle's cassette decks. Later on, as part of Invisibl Skratch Piklz, he won the Disco Mixing Championship title three years in a row. He and his crew were eventually asked to retire after kicking everyone's ass so many times.
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Mix Master Mike manipulates records deftly. He has a self-proclaimed catalog of 250 different moves, including one he calls the one-hand hydroplane, in which he touches a record as lightly as possible, letting it vibrate gently beneath his finger. He doesn't use a fader; he doesn't even move the record. He just lets the vinyl glide under his hand. Like magic. Employing such trance-inducing techniques, he transcends the raw energy of dee-jaying. Mix Master Mike performs Saturday, July 8, at the Lone Star Arena, 5515 South Loop West.