The Deep End

Since its inception, the world of turntablism has spawned some whacked-out characters and spun off into some surreal, sci-fi realms. Between crews like the Invisible Scratch Picklz, the Bulletproof Scratch Hamsters, the X-Men, and the Beat Junkies, you can find huge talent and even huger personalities. But of all of them, perhaps none looms larger than former Scratch Pickl, former Beastie Boy, and raging UFOlogist Mix Master Mike.

Yeah, you heard me. Michael Schwartz will not only claim to be the first DJ to hook up a wah-wah pedal to a turntable but he'll also claim weird extraterrestrial visitations and otherworldly communications with little green dudes. If you've seen Scratch, the definitive documentary of the turntablist movement that features Mike prominently, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, crank up Bangzilla, his most recent full-length. It's a raging collision of monster-movie sound effects, massive kick-and-snare breakbeats, and inexplicable scratch solos that plays out like a mechanized battle between Mike and his vast stash of vinyl. (In the end, everyone wins.) Better yet, check out his gig this weekend at Amica. Mike brings one of the most jaw-dropping live sets of any DJ you'll ever see, often using three turntables, laptops, and homemade equipment to build a sound that's monumentally funky. Plus, he's known for dropping unexpected choreography, even disappearing to let his records scratch themselves. Maybe this guy does have some interstellar powers after all.

Mix Master Mike plays at 10 p.m. Saturday, February 18, at Amika, 1532 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $5. Call 305-534-1499.

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Jonathan Zwickel