Imagine combining sampling, controllerism, opera, hip-hop, rap, cops, live theater, sound effects, school-play cardboard props, and radio plays, and then doing it all in Russian, and you’re getting in the ballpark of what “Cops on Fire” was like.
As described in English for the 2010 Moscow trailer (translated by uploader Sasha Pas):
The “Cops On Fire” show is a fusion of theater, culture and contemporary urban music. The genre of the show is “hip-hopera” (hip-hop + opera). Hip-hopera = live hip-hop arias + original decorations + stage tricks and choreography by professional artists.
These guys are dedicated to live performance. So that means not only getting up onstage and pulling off a theatrical performance, but triggering samples live – from sound effects and ambient sounds to chopped-up beats. From a gunshot to a sample, every sound and song is live.
In the video at top, you can see how they’re pulling it off. As they explain in Russian, the old rig was too heavy to lug around – a mixer, an MPC2500, a Roland SP-404SX, a KAOSS Pad. Now, they’ve got it down to a Novation Launchpad (the original version) and Novation Nocturn.
It’s like finger drumming met the Radiophonic Workshop met Public Enemy, onstage in Moscow with Ableton Live.
DZA pulls off the live, original music score and sound effects.
Guys, if you’re CDM readers somehow, we’d love to talk to you. And I hope someone books you in Berlin, or I see you on my next Moscow trip.
Thanks to my friend Maria for the tip.