Outstanding turntable performance of Drunk Trumpet

This 2008 Kid Koala turntable performance of "Drunk Trumpet" in San Antonio's Revolution Room isn't just a kick ass piece of music (though it is that), it's also some kind of awesome hand-ballet. I could watch this guy twiddle his fingers all day. It's also an existence proof of the innate superiority of a I-IV-V progression.

kid koala - drunk trumpet (via MeFi)


  1. Cory, the music prof in me would like to point out that this is not really a I-IV-V progression. It’s  a blues progression. I for four bars, IV for two bars, I for two bars, V for two bars, I for two bars. 

    1. (Which is also called a I-IV-V progression. In other words, it doesn’t have to be in that order to be called that. Could also just call it 12 bar blues.)

      And damn this video is great. He makes it look so easy. And amazing how similar this version is to the album version.

      1. David is right. I have never heard a 12-bar blues referred to as a “I-IV-V” progression … and I have played hundreds of jazz & blues gigs. Yes, those are the chords used in a 12-bar blues, but if you said “I-IV-V” in F, for example, the players would most likely play F-Bb-C-F (most likely some variation thereof).

        Perhaps the 12-bar blues is called a I-IV-V in some parts of the country, but not others?

        1. Dunno. I’ve been playing for coming on 25 years, and I’ve  heard people say “its just a I-IV-V” countless times when describing a song that uses those chords, whether its 12-bar or not. Its shorthand.

          But we’re quibbling. I’m much more interested in the purported superiority of the I-IV-V over the infamous I-V-VI-IV

      2. I’ve never heard the blues called a I-IV-V progression. I-IV-V to me implies that the IV has predominant function, which it does not in most blues that I know, including this one. Perhaps it’s called that in some circles, but none that I know of.

        1. I’m a musician too, and it’s always just called a I-IV-V where I come from. We all KNOW that there might be variations, but rather than being an annoying pedant who absolutely MUST must nit-pick, it’s just called that. It’s nothing to be too concerned about when there’s good jamming to be had.

  2. I’ve been to see Kid Koala perform a couple of times, and would recommend anyone to go and check him out if you get a chance. He so visibly enjoys doing what he does, and has at least as much fun as the crowds that come to his shows.

    I remember one time that I saw him that was billed as ‘An intimate evening with Kid Koala’, which he joked about in the middle of his set saying that it must have sounded better than ‘A Wednesday night with Kid Koala…’

    1. All good suggestions, but I think it’s also worth including DJ Shadow, Mixmaster Mike and Flying Lotus (Steven Ellison).

  3. In America, everything is made better by the hollow, joyless bellowing of “YEAH!”

    Otherwise, cool.

  4. Don’t forget “Rock the Bells”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU-BWOR25VI&feature=related

  5. See, occasionally, when no one is looking, something cool will happen in San Antonio.

  6. It’s also an existence proof of the innate simplicity of a I-IV-V progression.

    Isn’t he just taking a recording of a single note and changing the pitch of it by altering its speed? I remain unimpressed.

    1.  heh heh.  I see that you play the guitar.  but…  don’t you tune a string to a single note and alter the pitch of it by altering it’s length (and thus the _speed_ of it’s vibration?)

      also, see below.

    2.  He’s taking a recording of a solo and playing it forward and backward at different speeds. He knows the vinyl so well that he knows exactly where the break points are and how fast to move the platter to hit the note he wants. He’s doing it in time and on key with the other record playing. Essentially he’s soloing.

      If you think that’s somehow inferior or fundamentally different from using a MIDI keyboard to trigger sampled notes in sequences that you arrange yourself (which is essentially any sampler or synthesizer), you tell me how.

      Yes, 12-bar blues is simple. Simple is a far cry from easy. A good jazz technician can do a dazzling 64th-note double-hand-tap run up the fretboard. A good blues player can break myheart with a single note on a shitty pawnshot guitar.

      It isn’t about technique, it’s about communicating something. Koala is clearly having fun with an instrument with which he is proficient. And I don’t really think that impressing you is his Everest.

  7. What would his left side record sound like if left to play normally?

    Seriously.  Is it an actual song, a solo trumpet, someone’s voice, or what..?

    1.  It took me a second, too, but I’m pretty sure what he’s using is called a “skipless break,” which in turn is part of a “battle record,” a staple of the modern scratch DJ.  The math on this is pretty impressive, actually.  In this case, three notes of a trumpet were sampled and looped so that the tempo of the loop is–IIRC–133 beats-per-minute.  Then, a few minutes of that loop were pressed onto that particular band of that record (the other bands likely contain other scratch sounds, beats, and more skipless breaks.)  But the really great part is that even if vigorous scratching makes your needle jump out of the groove, it will land on the SAME note in the next or previous groove due to the mechanics of 133 BPM at that radius of the record (they’re always toward the middle of a 12″ record.)  The stickers on the vinyl give the DJ a visual reference point–kinda like fret dots, eh Jesse Nikolic?

      So, this particular skipless break gives the DJ a six-note range (3 notes @ 33.3 rpm, 3 notes @45 rpm,) which can then be selected in any sequence, plus an unlimited amount of notes in between when manipulated by hand, as KK so effortlessly demonstrates.  But of course, guitars can also be impressive.

      Come over to the crib sometime, Jason, and I’ll demonstrate it properly.

      1. Got it.  Cool trick.

        The other record is a continuous repeating blues-swing backup music kinda thing then, yes?

        So what he’s doing is more of an ‘instrumental’ solo via turntable and knobs.  Not what civilians would normally think of as DJ mixing and scratching.

        I’ll totally hang at your crib, noah, but I’m not Jason.  I’m his robot.

        1. >The other record is a continuous repeating blues-swing backup music kinda thing then, yes?
          Hard to say if it was a long loop or just a long jazz song featuring just drums and bass.  The later seems unlikely, though.  I never _heard_ a loop, but I wasn’t paying close attention.  A glance at the label would be illuminating, which is exactly why he covered it up.

          >So what he’s doing is more of an ‘instrumental’ solo via turntable and knobs.
          More like turntable and crossfader, but yes, I think you’ve got it.  But having seen him live, make no mistake, he _can_ mix; and quite rapidly, too.

          >I’m not Jason.  I’m his robot.
          Well, that’s out then.  There’s a sign on the door, no robots allowed.  Never know when Skynet will become self-aware :P

          1. I dig watching good mixers.  Fun and freaky what they can do.

            Your robot bigotry makes me sad.  Not cool.

            btw: what you call ‘skynet’ became self-aware a long time ago.

  8. I liked Kid Koala when it was cool to like Ninja Tune music. Not so cool anymore. Seems dated and old now. Sigh.

  9. Saw Kid Koala work his magic a few years ago. He had 5 turntables going at once and moved with an ease and precision that is, for me, impossible to describe. Looked like he had more hands than there were turntables and he made it look easy. Great great show.

  10. Here he is doing Moon River on 3 turntables. He does a melodic solo in the middle on turntable #3 which is pretty gorgeous. And the phasing in and out of the two copies of the song is also beautiful.

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