THE SCRATCH SOUND
The Scratch sound has its origins in the accidental or unconventional use of a disk record. The sound has a strong noise component because scratching the needle on the disk greatly alienates the original sound material. The sound is usually used percussively.
Scratching has become a sound signature of Hip Hop music.
Although the Scratch sound is very popular in Hip Hop, it is not a Hip Hop invention or domain. It was already used by experimental artists like William Burroughs (Tape Scratching) or Christian Marclay before and after the advent of Hip Hop music.
In the film Scratch, the American DJ Grand Wizard Theodore explains how by accident he came to the sound: When his mother told him to turn down the music, he stopped the record by hand and kept it running again.
The conventional belt drive household record player was unsuitable for scratching, since the thin rubber belt didn’t withstand the stress of constant braking and acceleration. Therefore, special direct-drive turntables such as the Technics SL 1200 (first built in 1972) became popular in the DJ scene for they made it possible to handle the device in an unconventional way and could tolerate almost any rough handling.
Scratching as initial sound code of Hip Hop diffused into different genres in pop music as a sound sample. The analog process of scratching a disk record has even been transferred to digital DJ systems like Traktor, which enable the same sound effect.
Even though scratching has even been transferred to digital DJ systems, the strong connection to turntables affords a haptic simulation of somekind. For example, scratching with the computer mouse is only conditionally possible. Only the touch screen of a smartphone or tablet can at least simulate the feeling of vinyl scratching.
However, the smooth-running plastic turntables of setting surrogates (which work with mp3 files), in contrast to the heavy metal plates of vinyl hardliners, look and feel more like a toy, both visually and haptically. Even the much-vaunted creative coincidence or happy accident can happen far less with these digital technology epigones than when dealing with disk records.
"I've never thought about scratch samples ... scratching is handmade [GER]
Cliche Scratch Sounds
|1960||William Burroughs||Sound Piece|
|1981||Christian Marclay||Jukebox Capriccio|
|1991||DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince||Summertime|
|1989||Neeneh Cherry||Buffalo Stance|
|1992||Die Fantastischen 4||Plattenspieler|
|1994||Salt 'n' Pepa||Shoop|
|1999||Will Smith||Wild Wild West|
|2003||Nelly featuring St. Lunatics||Air Force Ones|
|1997||Marc Morrison||Return Of The Smack|
|1998||Mase feat. Total||What You Want|
|2002||Nelly feat. Keith Rowland||Dilemma|
Alternative Hip Hop
|1999||Smash Mouth||All Star|
|2000||Christina Aguilera||Come On Over|
|2000||Linkin Park||One Step Closer|
|2011||Bruno Mars||The Lazy Song|