Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tribute to the MC BRACE

My first full-on rave was in the fall of 1998. We got the last spot in the fenced-in parking lot, which was nice, because it was the middle of the night and I was in a really run-down neighborhood. More importantly, the "last spot" had symbolic significance-- I was being let into the rave scene-- maybe at the tail end, but I still made it in!

It might have been the Beginning of the End at that point, but the emphasis is on Beginning-- the Chi-town rave scene was really blowing up. That party was in the basement of a church, which was pretty beautiful. Truthfully, I had some rather amusing theories about the things I was seeing-- for example, I thought that pacifiers were symbolic of the fact that we are all children before God.

I partied away for a good run (often at blessed Dalton, sometimes in the actual city), but just couldn't crack the musical code. I mean, I liked it, but it was still... basically background noise, wallpaper.

Then one day in summer everything changed. It was a magical forest faerie gathering- this incredible, mind-melting, extradimensional outdoor rave. It was like the party in the Ewok Village at the end of Return of the Jedi, with a little Burning Man Playa-faerie dust sprinkled on top. This party was nuts; a space colony tent city slung over the hills and stretching as far as you could see-- and you couldn't throw a toadstool without hitting another mutant sound system blasting the night with crispy bass (that party was at Black River Falls, Wisconsin-- "Rave 'Em & Bail-E 3" in '99-- my next biggest life-changing party moment didn't come until 2005 at Black Rock City, Nevada-- but I must not digress!!!).

MC Brace was throwing down rapid-fire rhymes alongside the DJ Cypher. The energy was so palpable, so intense! It was a system on the top of the hill; Brace's words formed a lattice of crackling energy that danced like cosmic weather reports. He was the leader of the New School Army; on the opposite side of the hill, trombone players in silver space suits accompanied the Old School house dons on stage.

And so, rock-n-roll and Floridian death metal would no longer be my exclusive musical muses. I began an aural odyssey that is now going on its 10th year-- from drum&bass-with-an-mc (99) to industrial (99) to minimal techno (99) to breaks and underground hip-hop (2000), to grime, crunk, and gangsta (2004), to the Burning Man days; dub, dancehall, reggae (2006) and even some electro and psytrance (2007), to beloved dubstep! To me the best electronic-beat-based music is always when you see it with a live MC at a rockin' party.

Even though he is largely a mysterious underground figure, the Brace has gotten some recognition here and there. I remember an on-line party reviewer from the UK noting, favorably, that he couldn't tell whether it was MC GQ or MC Brace on the mic at a Minneapolis party-- that, folks, counts as a compliment when it comes from a presumably-biased Brit. Personally, I highly doubt that any MCs are better. His character reviews are also favorable; I've met Sean aka Brace a couple times, and he seems like a cool guy. I have noticed that whenever I mention to some Minneapolis party kid that I like MC Brace, he or she invariably says something like, "Yeah, Sean used to be my neighbor, he is a really great guy". Well, if you are such a good guy, Brace, let me ask you a question-- why don't you record your voice on some more tracks?! I know we can't "commodify" the music experience and all, but still-- not all of us are willing to move to SF for you. Ha! Just kiddin' with you, much respect to the Brace MC, thank you and keep the art alive!


Unknown said...

hey, this is cypher MC Brace's longtime Dj - your words are very inspiting to hear makes me feel its (D&B)all worth it.

Unknown said...

"inspiring" typo