Mystic Skate Cup 2006

Bands

FREESTYLERS (UK)

Saturday 8th July

Freestylers' sound is exactly as their name suggests: a heady blend of brash, hip-hop-inspired grooves resulting in a hypersonic amalgamation that knows no barriers. Born and raised in London, a city steeped in British, West Indian, African, and Asian influences, producers Aston Harvey and Matt Cantor, don't believe in being confined to musical styles. Though breakbeats lay the foundation for their music, anything can enter the mix: drum & bass, dancehall vocals, house rhythms, electro and hip-hop. Flitting between the grooves of dance, reggae and hip-hop styles, Freestylers craft a raw yet infectious aural melting pot that shakes dance floors and headphones around the globe.

Pressure Point updates the Freestylers' sound for 2002. As the follow-up to the band's influential debut We Rock Hard, which sold more than 150,000 copies in the U.S. alone and saw the group repeatedly tour the States with a 10-piece band, Pressure Point successfully mines two decades of hip-hop and dance music for hip-shaking rhythms and deep, emotion-baring soul. "We didn't want to make a We Rock Hard Pt. 2," says Aston. "Being DJ/producers we're influenced by the music that's happening, especially with dance music because it moves so quickly in England. We wanted to do something in our own distinct style so we used influences that we had hints of on the first album but made it harder and clubbier, and used the [early rave] influences from 1989-91."

Pressure Point?s cohesive cross-genre pollination indeed makes it one of the year?s best dance albums. "Get Down Massive" kicks in with two-step rhythms and hyper-speed breaks as Navigator's chatty vocals get the party started right. Reminiscent of Shaggy and Fatboy Slim hanging together on the Ibiza beach, "Weekend Song," the album's first single, is funky pop gone dancehall courtesy of Tenor Fly. "Now Is the Time"'s deep electro and potent sub-bass further demonstrates the Freestylers' versatility--deep, party-rockin', soulful and pop savvy at once. The energetic, "Blowin Ya Brainz," with its old-school rave vibe and block-rockin' beats, gives Prodigy a run for its money. And the addition of vocalists Valerie M (on the soulful groover "Calling") and Petra Jean Philipson (on the soul-rock "Told You So") complement the album's all-over-the-map musical panache. Producer/singer Spanna Banner also brings more dancehall flavor to the mix, toasting on "Signs," the album's reggae finale.

Back in 1998, after America had coined "electronica" as the next big thing, the Freestylers were about to release their debut, We Rock Hard, a big beat album that encapsulated the diverse sounds Aston and Matt had been listening to since their youth--mainly hip-hop and electro. The band's popularity soared after the release of album highlights such as "B-Boy Stance" and "Ruffneck," allowing the band to criss-cross the world for two years, earning props for their charismatic gigs. The video for the infectious "Here We Go" was even granted MTV Buzzworthy status.

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Fans and critics alike responded overwhelmingly to the bands debut effort. Rolling Stone said, "...when it comes to electronica, we want instant gratification, big hooks and beats, stoopid-fresh funkiness and little fuzz about art. London?s Freestylers fit the bill." Alternative Press stated, "Unlike many young British dance producers, Freestylers have earned the respect of some of music?s most revered innovators." While Mixer proclaimed, "A perfect combination of old school hip-hop, new school breakbeat and good times best describes U.K?s Freestylers,"

But reinventing the old-school for the new-school came naturally to Aston and Matt. Back in the early '80s, Aston was a disaffected youth in the London suburbs, studying piano and making stop-start mixtapes. After accepting a job in a recording studio, he started producing drum & bass, early hardcore and then house. "I've made everything really, apart from jazz and skiffle," Aston says, laughing.

Like Aston, Matt also grew up listening to old-school hip-hop and electro, then got into acid house and the early rave tunes. But Matt kept it a little too real, getting arrested for graffiti at age 14. Gaining inspiration from influences such as Public Enemy, Arthur Baker, Frankie Knuckles, Mantronix and Prodigy, he soon became involved in a breakbeat project called Cut & Paste, in addition to some work for Freskanova (Freestylers' UK label) before having a chart hit with a house project called Strike. It was then that Matt and Aston found themselves working in the same recording studio complex. "Matt had already had a big hit in England," Aston says. "We were both making house music at the time and we were both getting bored of making the same old thudding beat, so we started doing more tunes under the name 'Freestylers' and it became bigger than we ever imagined."

In addition to Freestylers, Matt and Aston still manage to DJ every weekend all over the world. They also continue to do remixes, including, most recently, projects for Soul Hooligan (a new act on Madonna's label Maverick) and Azzido Da Bass (who had a massive dance hit last year with "Doom's Night"). With Pressure Point, Freestylers have earned themselves a new title: Fine purveyors of this year's best party soundtrack.


Freestylers

Contact

 
Mystic Skates
Štěpánská 31
110 00 Praha 1
Tel.: +420 222 232 027
office@mysticskates.cz

Schedule

7th-9th July 2006

Saturday 8th July 2006

07.00pm - 08.00pm qualifying for vert
08.00pm - 08.30pm bowl finals
07.45pm - 08.30pm Stephunk T [CZ]
08.30pm - 10.00pm Live FREESTYLERS [UK]

Sunday 9th July 2006

12.30pm - 04.15pm semifinals streetstyle
04.30pm - 05.30pm vert finals
06.15pm - 07.15pm finals streetstyle

Global Station

daily from 05.00pm - 02.00am hod

DJ Joost Van Bellen (Nl), Maradona Jazz, N.O.H.A. and more

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