Brainfreeze was a 1999 live mix album by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist (formerly a member of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli). The two tracks of the album are uninterrupted recordings from a live performance where they sampled hit funk, soul, rock and jazz singles from 45 rpm vinyl records. This type of recording was pioneered by the duo Double Dee and Steinski through their "Lessons" (the difference being that the "Lessons" cuts were meticulously edited together from snippets of audio tape, rather than performed live using turntables).
Brainfreeze was recorded by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist as a practice session for a show in February 1999 at the Future Primitive Soundsession (San Francisco) mixing funk and soul 45's. Initially 1000 copies were made and sold at the shows, and a further 1000 copies were made and distributed to local records stores in California and sold out very quickly. A cease-and-desist letter from 7-11 Convenience stores—the whole artwork and styling was based on their logos and uniforms—meant that they stopped and moved on. The album was then bootlegged and it can now be found in popular record shops.
This set was reenacted at the Mayan night club in Los Angeles on May 25th, 2006, as part of a benefit concert for DJ Shadow's art director, Keith Tamashiro, in order to offset costs related to a brain aneurysm he suffered early in 2006.
Brainfreeze was followed up by Product Placement, an album of similar content and style.
The Brainfreeze album is significant for a few reasons:
- The collection of songs it contains-- most of which would otherwise be essentially "lost"-- is remarkable.
- Due to the making of the album and the subsequent performance, the DJs were literally damaging or destroying their rare vinyl.
- From a technical standpoint, the mixing is impressive: 45s are smaller and spin faster than LPs, so they are more difficult to mix and scratch with.
- Due to the above factors (vinyl damage + technical skills), the artists did not have the luxury of many takes or studio processing. Each track on the album was recorded in a single take.
While there was no tracklisting given except for some record shots in the inner sleeves, Michael "DOP" Lane put together listing of the tracks (Sixty7 Recordings refers to the number of the records in the mix). The main difference between the original pressing and the bootleg is the quality of the sleeves and the CD (colors look washed out and not as sharp on the bootleg). The Original CD on the Inner ring has ©1999 Sixty7 Recordings written in red on a clear background. The Bootleg doesn't have a clear bit.
On the back of the CD is Disc Producers inc 2886/Brainfreeze ADC/CA. Some bootlegs have "Slurp CD 001" and a Bar Code written on it.
The 45s used in the Brainfreeze mix are highly sought after by vinyl collectors, and the term "Brainfreeze" in online auctions often results in increased auction prices for these records.
- Lamont Johson Quartet - "Thunder Kick" (Trailer to unreleased film)
- The Jules Blattner Group - 2001 - "A Soul Odyssey"
- Fried Chicken - "Funky DJ"
- The Mohawks - "The Champ"
- Reuben Bell - "Superjock"
- Albert King - "Cold Feet"
- Ultimate Force - "I'm Not Playing"
- Eddie Bo and Inez Cheatham - "Lover And A Friend"
- Mack Rice - "Three People In Love"
- The Nu People - "I'd Be Nowhere Today"
- Nu-Sound Express Ltd - "Ain't It Good Enough"
- Mystic Moods - "Cosmic Sea"
- American Gypsy - "Inside Out"
- Odetta - "Hit Or Miss"
- The Mar-Keys - "Grab This Thing (Part 2)"
- Rusty Bryant - "FireEater"
- Simtec and Wylie - "Bootleggin'" (Part 2)
- Wilbur Bascomb and The Zodiac - "Just A Groove In 'G'"
- Eddie Bo and The Soul Finders - "We're Doin' It (Thang) (Part 2)"
- Rufus Thomas - "Sophisticated Sissy"
- The Showmen Inc. - "The Tramp (From Funky Broadway)" (Part 1)
- The Original Soul Senders - "Soul Brother Testify (Part 2)"
- Rufus Thomas - "Itch and Scratch (Part I and II)"
- Alvin Cash - "Keep On Dancing (Instrumental")
- Lou Courtney - "Hey Joyce"
- Bummer radio spot
- The Singing Principal - "Women's Lib"
- Salt - "Hung Up"
- The Soul Lifters - "Hot, Funky, and Sweaty"
- Frankie Seay and The Soul Riders - "Soul Food"
- The Interpretations - "Jason Pew Mosso" (Part 1)
- Thunder and Lightning - "Bumpin' Bus Stop"
- Billy Garner - "I Got Some"
- Pleasure Web - "Music Man (Part I and II)"
- Gary Byrd - "Soul Travelin' (The G.B.E.)" (Part I)
- Clifton Chenier and Grandma Gee Gee - "Just Keep On Scratching"
- "W" radio spot
- Marlena Shaw - "California Soul"
- The Vibrettes- "Humpty Dump (Part 1)"
- Eddie Bo - "From This Day On"
- 7-Eleven - "Dance The Slurp"
- Kraftwerk - "Numbers"
- Flash and The Five - "Flash It To The Beat"
- Pearly Queen - "Quit Jivin'"
- Tony Alvon and The Belairs - "Sexy Coffee Pot"
- Chuck Mangione - "Hill Where The Lord Hides"
- Funka Fize - "No Words"
- Schooly D - "Gucci Time"
- Jurassic 5 - "Unified Rebelution" (A cappella)
- Third Guitar - "Baby Don't Cry"
- Don Pierce - "This Funky Thing"
- Funka Fize - "Because You're Funky"
- The Troubleneck Brothers - "Back To The Hip Hop"
- Stu Gardner - "Devil In A Man"
- Samson and Delilah - "There's A DJ In Your Town"
- Giorgio Moroder - "Tears"
- Tim and Bill - "Someone"