Low End Theory at the Airliner
“What part of town is this? This is Lincoln Heights”
There’s been an under-the-radar, beat-thumping musical revolution going on right here in Lincoln Heights. More specifically, it’s been happening at The Airliner, a popular music venue on North Broadway. It’s where a collective of DJs, who favor beats over vocals, has been putting together shows for the past few years under the banner of “Low End Theory.”
As a frequent listener to NPR, I got a thrill out of them mentioning Lincoln Heights in a recent piece they put together about Flying Lotus, a Low End Theory DJ. Here’s an excerpt:
Ellison began creating new-school hip-hop in his bedroom. For years, he traded tracks with other budding DJs and played music in nightclub parking lots. Then the scene got organized, at a club in L.A.’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood.
“Eventually, there was this party started called Low End Theory, which was geared toward this sound,” he says. “It was more of a producer’s lounge, basically. If you got talent and you got tracks and you hang out enough at Low End Theory, eventually someone will hear something and you can do something.”
Visit the site to hear clips of the music and interview with the DJs.
Flying Lotus: ‘Beat Music’ And The Coltrane Family Tradition
Sadly, while the music is getting some much deserved recognition, a popular Low End Theory DJ recently received a bit too much attention…from immigration authorities. Justin McNulty, known as Kutmah in the music scene was recently arrested for being undocumented and is currently awaiting deportation to Great Britain.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“Immigrations and customs enforcement don’t have the capacity to detain all the people with outstanding orders of deportation. I know that they have yearly quotas to fill, but it remains unclear why they decided to go after [McNulty] and how they found him,” Leano said. “He has no criminal record; the only thing he is guilty of is not being born in the United States.”
Shortly after the arrest, Twitter and Facebook erupted with messages of support for the embattled beat maker, with everyone from Flying Lotus to BBC radio DJ Mary Anne Hobbs to Stones Throw Records turning Kutmah’s plight into a cause célèbre.
Visit http://freekutmah.com/ to sign the petition and for more info on his case.
Craving more beats? Listen to dublab!