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A pioneer in the world of hip-hop music and one-half of the world-renowned dj crew the Bombshelter DJs, which also includes fellow Phoenix native Emile, DJ Radar refuses to adhere to artificial musical boundaries, and is constantly searching for fresh and innovative ways to blur the lines between genres. Radar has traveled all across the globe with tours in North America, Europe and Japan. His unprecedented attempts to combine his classical music background with his turntable skills have solidified his place as one of the great innovators of his generation.
Never content to simply be a run-of-the-mill DJ, Radar always works to take his art to the next level. Looking for a way to realize his lifelong aspiration of combining his musical background with his desire to write music for turntables, Radar joined forces with jazz piano extraordinaire Raul Yanez. Together they produced “Concerto for Turntable,” one of the most experimentally imaginative musical compositions in history. This groundbreaking fusion is the first concerto piece that utilizes a single turntable as an actual musical instrument. With a full symphony orchestra in accompaniment, this landmark piece features the turntable as the lead solo instrument. Unlike a typical turntable performance, this piece does not include any prerecorded music. All of the turntables’ melodic and rhythmic notes in the concerto are crafted completely live, and the music written around all of the various scratch techniques that can be produced on a turntable. Radar’s main motivation for writing the “Concerto for Turntable,” he says, is to “demonstrate the difference between a DJ and turntablist.” The first movement of the piece premiered in a performance at Grady Gammage Auditorium with the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra on March 7, 2001, before a crowd of 3,500 people.
In addition to his pioneering efforts with the “Concerto for Turntable,” Radar is the creative force behind “scratch notation”. This system, the first of its kind, documents all of the scratching techniques that can be performed on a turntable and translates them into Western musical notation. This set of symbols, called articulations, maps out a DJ’s hand position for each note in a musical score. From Radar’s work, this notation will help validate the turntable as a legitimate musical instrument.
Radar’s impressive list of studio production credits include releasing continuous-mix CDs and vinyl singles on Om Records, Bomb Records, Future Primitive Sound, Matador, Sub Pop and Elite Recordings, among others. Radar released several solo 12-inches as well, and collaborated on remixes with Money Mark and Mario Caldato Jr. of the Beastie Boys.
Radar’s skill behind the turntables has earned him numerous accolades in his nine-year career. These include twice being named in the “Next 100” of critically acclaimed electronic music magazine Urb; being named Spin Magazine’s "9th Best Turntablist in the World in 1999; and winning numerous “Best DJ” and “Best of Phoenix” awards from local Arizona media.
Radar strives to avoid stereotypes in his music and upholds a common Bombshelter philosophy by saying; “I don’t set any boundaries with my music. I play all genres. Music is universal — it’s just separated by different tempos.”