Breakin’ In Space #3: Itchiban Scratch – Chris “The Glove” Taylor


On Electro 7, Itchiban Scratch was sandwiched between two traditional old-school rap tracks in the form of the Fearless Four’s Dedication and the B-Boys’ Stick Up Kid, which made Chris "The Glove" Taylor’s track seem even more otherworldly and downright weird. Released on Dave Storrs’ Electrobeat Records in 1984, Itchiban Scratch is an experimental instrumental track in which The Glove (so called because of the heavy-duty gloves he used to wear for his job working for a disco rental system) cuts and scratches up a bizarre selection of vocal samples over a sparse, futuristic electro backbeat from Dave "The Alien Wizard" Storrs. "Itchiban" means Number 1 in Japanese, intimating that The Glove was the No 1 scratcher.

The story goes that The Glove turned up at the studio where the track was going to be recorded and randomly selected the records he cut up from a pile he found lying around. Hence you get Japanese phrases, a recital of nursery rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York by a load of kids, someone gargling and clearing their throat, hysterical cartoon laughter, gongs, horn stabs and god knows what else chucked into the mix. (Many of the vocal samples come from Jan and Dean Meet Batman, the 1966 concept album from the California surf-pop pioneers and contemporaries of the Beach Boys.) Despite the randomness it somehow all comes together, resulting in a crazy and wholly original piece of music that is eerily beautiful. The bassline is sensational too. Towards the end of the track the 303 kicks in and it becomes proto-acid techno, demonstrating how far ahead of his time Storrs was as a producer.