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MPC Battle at the Matterhorn, Anzac Day

The inaugural MPC Battle at the Matterhorn on Anzac Day 2001 saw ten challengers busting grooves out for the title.

26 Apr 2001

It was an awesome global debut for the first-ever MPC Battle, as Wellington musos used the 16-track facilities of the sampler/synthesiser/mixer thing to premiere all-new tracks for the capacity crowd (and on a school night, too).

The styles produced from the machines stretched musical boundaries, and trying to pick a winner from such varying styles was a real Best-in-Show/chalk-and-cheese/apple-and-oranges situation.

Mu took the prize, but at the end of the day, music was the winner.

Judging was by crowd response (volume and duration) - estimated on initial reaction after each track, and then response to the read-out list at the end. In the absence of a judging panel, this was assessed by me as MC. So sue me.

The night turned out to be a Super 10 contest, with no-show withdrawals (boo) by Cuff+Leon, 50Hz and Maka McGregor. It was a game of more than a few halves, with inevitable delays (no-shows and tech hassles - !*#% ZIP drives!) allowing DJ Ah-hum slap down some smooth grooves and the crowd make refill forays to the bar.

Entrants (with their totem animals of the night, in the spirit of the sports-oriented theme) played in the following order (decided by random draw designed to best utilise the two different Akai players in use):

Jedrik (platypus) - pronounced Yendrik, this guy just turned up out of the blue with his ZIP disk and let some lush 2-step beats flow... yet another new Wgtn music hero.... welcome on board...

Warren (silverback) - despite missing vital samples in the first of the night's tech troubles, the TrinityRoots frontman played up a storm and really worked the console, with some weird sounds developing into a stonking pulse.

b.lo (tiger) - after sorting out 100mb/250mb drive incompatabilities, the 'horn resident laid down cool tech-dub grooves in the subtlest style of the night.

Merconium Emeritus Dismal (mantis) - the man also known as Imon Star produced a 4-part opus that included a real performance with Milli Vanilli miming... unashamedly showy in a Bodemian Rhapsody style.. and a welcome return to the capital by the global tourist.

Ricky (possum) - the Trinity Roots DJ purveyed a drum and bassy excursion in a laid-back style (cigarette in hand throughout) ... probably lost crowd points for generously extending the track beyond its finish time for an improvised coda that let Toby finish downloading his samples...
Toby "Hornblower" Laing (owl) - the in-demand playa (member of 20 local acts, and counting...) spun out groovy soulful vibes, with adroit live melody action on the pads.

Vee (monkey) - the man the crowd love to hate, and member of jazz/hip hop fusion outfit Optimus Prime, turned out a hip-hop number that like most contestants' tracks took more than a few twists and turns..

Mu (panther) - The Battle initiator was the odds-on favourite for the evening and delivered a well-thought-out composition that covered many bases (was it trance? house? D'n'b?)... and as self-confessed Captain Production Nerd Michael Upton commented, Mu had the best mix of the night (though he did do his best to help all playas sound as good as possible...)

Dallas (hawk) - less showy than perhaps one might have anticipated, as the man with the voice kept his mouth closed and hands busy.. loved that grandmother bite, and the fat lady sample...

Iain Gordon (eel) - scheduled to play earlier but delayed in his arrival coz of work commitments, the Ebb/Bongmaster/Dental Records keyboard whiz closed the night with a wicked ebb-y track, manipulating the console more than anyone apart from Mu and Warren... excellent tune, though crowd energy may have been waning a bit.

So, that was that. All good.

Entrants are already lining up for the next event, and Mu has commented that this could be a monthly gig.

So, watch this space.

Thanks to Matterhorn, Lily Star, DJ Ah-hum, big Oranjebooms, http://smokecds.com etc.