Beats not Bombs

Local DJ turns family into charity; Bruno versus 7L
By DAVID DAY  |  September 19, 2006

Most people consider DJs party types who head to clubs night after night and sleep the day away. Of course, most people have not met DJ YAMIN. Having grown up in the liberal confines of Boston, Yamin (a/k/a Ben Epstein) is a DJ with heart. Holding down a job and two residencies in town — Saturdays at Lucky’s in Fort Point and Fridays at Diva Lounge in Davis Square — he still finds time to promote and publicize BEATS NOT BOMBS, the landmark charity DJ project he founded in 2002. Tonight, September 21, he teams up with DJ C, DJ BRYNMORE, and DJ RAY to throw a benefit for Cambridge Cares About AIDS at the Good Life in Downtown Crossing; suggested donation is $10. “Everyone involved volunteers. No one is paid. That’s the beauty of it, they want to do something and they’re down for it. It’s not about money at all. We’ve blown off gigs, worked for weeks to plan an event. None of us makes any money, but it feels good.”

Epstein, who’s already thrown parties for the Campaign to End Landmines and Amnesty International, says his family background has a lot to do with his desire for outreach. He grew up partly in Mozambique, where his father practiced medicine alongside his mother, a nurse. Even more interesting is the story of his grandmother, Edith Boxill, an early pioneer of music therapy. In 1988, Boxill founded Music Therapists for Peace. “She had a record on Folkways with her and mentally disabled folks drumming away. It’s really cool. How I got into the social end of things is definitely from my parents. They’ve always been holding events in our house, and that really rubbed off on me.” Epstein himself works with mentally and physically challenged adults in Somerville. “With CCAA, I was thinking about working with them, but it didn’t work out, so this is a way I can contribute.” This Beats Not Bombs event begins around 9 pm and goes till 2 am. “All the DJs I play with are very free-form. It’s a chance to play what we want to play. This is our love, our particular music. It’s a good way for us to get loose, you know?” And a good way to loosen some purse strings.

Two members of Yamin’s charitable cohort have news of their own. Dubmaster Brynmore now has a weekly residency at Middlesex Lounge on Wednesdays called EXPOSED that he describes as “a night of music steamed from the depths of the subterranean funk.” With everything from folk to glitch-hop to ambient music and an expert in the mix, Wednesdays at Middlesex will never be the same. DJ C, meanwhile, continues to flex his abilities on-line., one of the world’s finest sites for DJ mixes, has released its fourth podcast from “da Boss of Boston” (a/k/a JAKE TRUSSELL), on which, in his usual murdering style, he goes from TV on the Radio to Donovan to Mary J. to Wilco to Vybes Cartel. Mr. Trussell has an EP of original music as well; it’s called Traced Milk, and you can find it on both Napster and Rhapsody. Six tracks of instrumental glory, Traced Milk tangles influences better than Christmas lights. Bump it in your car and you may find it stuck in your dashboard. DJ C’s brilliant mind does not discern among dancehall, rock, and crunk vibes. It’s all just music.

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