Words by Jesse Serwer—
Tonight, Red Bull Music Academy hosts the NYC/2013 edition of its multi-genre Culture Clash competition (watch highlights here from the most recent edition, staged in London in November), with Federation Sound, Que Bajo?!, Trouble & Bass and Just Blaze/Young Guru. For many in attendance, this will be their first time witnessing a sound clash.
So, for their benefit (and also for you clash enthusiasts who can appreciate a good one), we took the opportunity to
dig up pull from YouTube this video from the second-ever edition of the UK’s World Cup Sound Clash in 1994. The clash pitted Jamaica’s Body Guard (and winner of the first World Cup Sound Clash a year earlier, which you can actually watch here if you can tolerate the poor quality) against New York’s Afrique, Kebra Negus from the British Midlands, and the winner of the event, London’s Saxon Sound, at the Sanctuary in Milton Keynes, England. These events were the precursors to Irish and Chin’s World Clash events in New York City, and the first to formalize the concept of multiple sound systems representing different regions doing battle, and present it in the context of an international sporting competition.
Clashes are sprawling, marathon events that tend to go all night, so consider this 100-minute clip just a window into the atmosphere and vibes. Or just watch the 3-minute clip below for a more concise snippet that captures the energy of what clash is all about.