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Live Human

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Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Albert Mathias, DJ Quest

All Music Guide:

San Francisco's experimental turntablist trio Live Human formed in 1996, when turntablist DJ Quest (aka Carlos Aguilar), drummer/percussionist Albert Mathias, and bassist Andrew Kushin united their diverse musical experiences to create spontaneous, constantly mutating instrumental hip-hop. Among their other credits, Aguilar worked with DJ Shadow on tracks for Quannum and Handsome Boy Modeling School, helped found the DJ crew Space Travelers, and collaborated on 1992's Hamster Breaks, one of the first breakbeat records tailored to the needs of scratch DJs; multi-percussionist Mathias maintains a solo recording career and tours and performs at universities and dance festivals as a teacher, composer, and accompanist; and Kushin performs in Closer to Carbon, an experimental string ensemble, and co-founded the label Out of Round Records. Kushin and Mathias also performed together in the similarly progressive collective Contraband and Thread, saxophonist Charles Sharp's free jazz trio. Live Human debuted their hybrid of sampling and live improvisation on 1997's Live Human Featuring DJ Quest, which was released by Cosmic Records in a limited-edition vinyl pressing of 1,000 copies. Later that year, London's Fat Cat label licensed four of the album's songs for release in Europe and the U.K. as the EP Live Human: Improvisessions. Fat Cat also released 1999's Orange Bush Monkey Flower single, which preceded Live Human's second full-length, Monostereosis: The New Victrola Method. The album was re-released in the U.S. by Hip-Hop Slam in early 2000, just a few months before the group made their Matador debut with Elefish Jellyphant.