"Blend Crafters" is a collaboration between DJ Nu-Mark (of Jurassic 5) and Pomo. A full-length LP (Blend Crafters Volume One) was released under their own names in 2004, but one track, "Melody", was credited to the group 'Blendcrafters' on Nu-Mark's Hands-On mix.
Blend Crafters, a result that can only happen when two completely professional artists decide to let their craft just happen naturally. Nu-mark notes that it is a completely different process to creation working with just one like-minded artist on the project "I was really able to take my time with this project. We were able to record at our own pace since all the tracking and mixing was finished at Pomo's studio. It was also cool to vote on beats between two people." Compared to his work with J5, Nu-mark says of Blend Crafters: "This project is a touch more free spirited with no true goal at the end of the day. The motto was 'if it bumps then we keep it.' "
When you listen to Blend Crafters, you'll be pleased with what they've decided to keep. It's not an attempt to completely rewrite the rules of DJing and mixing, but it shows enough variety and skill so that it doesn't feel underdone in any way. Lead-off track Melody is soulful and memorable, and leads to thoughts of lost weekends just letting the man on the tables do his thing with some dirty drum loops and blues samples. Bad Luck Blues is dark stuff, with a layer of twangy guitars in the background providing the foundation for some heartfelt singing in the fore… call it the perfect music to break-up to in the vein of depressing luminaries like Portishead.
Regarding much of Blend Crafters, Nu-mark states "If you like instrumental Hip Hop beats then this might be up your alley." This must be the inspiration behind Flute Fidelity and Unwind, two tracks that seem ready to inspire many a drunken, embarrassing freestyle session with their unassuming backbeat. Stripped completely of the overproduction that plagues much of hip-hop today (a foul trend sometimes mistaken for "progression"), they're quietly infectious tunes and represent the spirit of this album. Or to quote the man: "Focusing on doing one thing 100%. Too many ideas confuse people."
The future is full for Nu-mark. Along with work on a new Jurassic 5 album, he'll be touring with the group, playing solo shows, and getting to work on… well… Blend Crafters Vol. 2. He remarks that the original Blend Crafters was held up for quite some time in the face of other important releases, but here's to hoping that Volume 2, which may have a special guest instrumentalist, has higher priority.
Whatever may come, he'll be sure to be in the studio, drawing ideas from "…dirty drums from the '68 to '74…instruments that are not meant to be instruments…kids toys, trash can lids, pots pans and the natural element of life…I borrow from life." It's a typical statement from a guy who strives to find the beauty in simplicity, and applies it to his music. The future of DJing may very well go in vastly different directions than Nu-mark's work, but he's more or less unconcerned as long as he remains part of it. To that end, he'll always be armed and ready with his favorite beat-making equipment. "An MPC 2000 and my records," he says matter-of-factly.
--Maurice Downes (Freelance)