In the photograph up at the website of the Four Directional Doubt netlabel (fourdirectionaldoubt.free.fr), the three men look more like keyboard players than turntablists. To many ears, they may sound like something other than turntablists as well. But turntablists they are: Jonas Olesen, ErikM and, by far the best-known, Christian Marclay — caught playing together as djTRIO at the Spor Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, in May this year.
The label has collected recordings of their group performance as a set of free downloads. These aren’t really four separate tracks, but a single piece divided into quarters — the first track, for example, ends with a jab of a horn sample that’s immediately repeated as the second part opens. This is also, as far a turntablism goes, more abstract than 90 percent of what gets recorded associated with that rubric. The trio mashes found sounds, from spoken word, to jazz, to noise, and the techniques they employ have far more in common with the chaos, clatter and attention to detail of European free improvisation than with the scratching and beat-matching of hip-hop. Still, Marclay and company share with their hip-hop brethren a fascination with the material fact of vinyl, and the result, for all their willful confusion, finds its own groove.
More on the festival at spor.kunde.siteloom.dk, on ErikM at erikm.com and on Olesen at xskalleper.adr.dk. (Marclay doesn’t appear to have his own webpage.) The music files are saved in the OGG format. Try the opening salvo (OGG) before visiting Four Directional Doubt to dive into the complete piece.