Cut Chemist And Shortkut Live At The Future Primitive Sound Session, 20th Anniversary. On Friday night, October 6th Future Primitive celebrates the 20 year anniversary of its famous Future Primitive Sound Session. Once again legendary, Bay Area turntablist Shortkut will go head to head with LA’s equally renowned Cut Chemist, this time in the fine San Francisco club The Great Northern. The support talent is composed of Platurn, Gordo Cabeza, Miles Medina. Tickets are available here.
The original shindig took place on May 25th, 1997 at Cat’s Alley, now known as The Cat Club, which still resides on Folsom street. Cut Chemist and Shortkut’s set from that night was committed to picture disc vinyl, cassette and CD a year after the event and can be found for sale used here.
San Francisco had a thriving underground hip-hop/turntablist scene from the mid-to-late ‘90s to the mid-2000s. Mark Herlihy’s Future Primitive and Money$hot parties were crucial elements in the origin and development of that scene. They were also a ton of fun as I learned firsthand. I attended a few of them and played a Money$hot at the beloved and sadly missed Fulton street venue Storyville, nervously opening up for Shortkut and Z-Trip, who did a classic electro/breakdance set on four decks. What a night that was.
Herlihy also threw a number of Future Primitives at the equally-missed Empress Of China. The restaurant’s huge top floor looking out over Chinatown and Portsmouth Square while the room vibrated with selections from the likes of Nu-Mark, Emil, Z-Trip, Q-Bert and DJs of that ilk and calibre. Another fond memory of the Future Primitive days is accompanying Herlihy and crew to another long-gone premises, Sno Drift on 3rd street, to attend a birthday party for the daughter of novelist Danielle Steel. The birthday entertainment was provided by Z-Trip and Nu-Mark. Sonic insanity ensued.
I’ll finish with some words that I already used on this site, in an intro I added to an archived review of Quasimoto’s Unseen album that I wrote in 2000, “In retrospect it’s difficult to ascertain where that energy and scene went to, and it’s sad to consider that in some ways it dissolved and disappeared due to San Francisco’s shifting and changing demographics and socio-economic conditions. That being said, this period, this era, was a truly inspirational one. Releases like Quasimoto’s first LP, numerous productions by J Dilla and the many great tracks on the labels mentioned above helped develop a truly unique period for hip-hop. This music was a celebration of the golden age of the genre, which lasted from the late ’80s to the mid-’90s. It was also attempting to relive it, but actually ended up creating another memorable era in the late ’90s to early 2000s.
I feel lucky to have lived through it. To have heard the music loud in spaces full of life and diversity, and to have experienced the warmth and enthusiasm of those who participated in it and contributed their vigor, friendly rivalry and admirable ambition. We may not see an era of that kind again in our lifetime, but we can always listen to releases like the one reviewed below to be reminded of how great it was.”
Friday night will be a further reminder. Don’t sleep. Christopher Orr