Slikmats Review - by Gizmo - 26th November 2003
As we're all more than aware, slipmats come in all sorts of materials, thicknesses, and colours. Everyone has their favourites that they swear by and use them until they're a tatty mess and more of a hindrance than a help. Some are extremely simple in design, while others offer a wide variety of images - some you'd expect (Technics logos and the like) and other perhaps not so mainstream (nipples).
So when Slikmats comes along offering a pair of slipmats with a wide range of designs all in a scratch/hip hop theme, I'm not exactly overcome with excitement. What does catch my eye though is the fact that these slikmats are also available with user designs on. Hmmm... rubs chin... interesting. But just how much does this cost? It's got to cost a whole heap of cash right? Well no - for £20 (or $33) you get a pair of high quality slipmats ablaze with your designs. All you need to do is upload your image, send your money and wait.
And how do they look?
Well - I have to say I'm impressed. These aren't your average run of the mill slipmats. Generally, designs on other mats are restricted by the print process - perhaps to a couple of colours, line art only - on slikmats, you can have pretty much whatever you want, even photographic images. I had the skratchworx logo put onto these mats and being grey, I didn't expect too much but the images quality is outstanding.
How do they feel?
They're around 2mm thick, made from some sort of white felt material and surprisingly soft the the touch. That's the noticeable thing - often slipmats are made from some coarse hard matting but these are quite er... squidgy.
I've been a Butter Rugs user for close on 12 months now and haven't had a single complaint. I liked the thinness of the rugs and the stability they gave and my sloppy old mans scratch style so naturally I was sceptical of how these would react.
First thing I did was slap on some Rectangle vinyl, beat on one, "aaaah" on the other - cliché I know but a good way to road test these mats. Hmmm.... nice. Smooth, slippy and if I'm not mistaken, more stable. Surely not... how could anything be better than my beloved rather expensive Butter Rugs?
Next test - lets try a juggle. I'm currently destroying copies of Eric B and Rakim's "Pain in Full" simply trying to get the hang of juggling and frankly I'm pretty crap at it. But what the hell practice makes perfect so here goes... damn - these things have actually improved my technique. I think the felt material is acting like a shock absorber and being more forgiving to my sloppy old man scratch style. And the slippiness is working for me as well. One interesting side effect - turn the mat over, image side down for added slip.
Some people argue what's the point of slipmats with your own image on. Surely the slipmat is covered up and makes the image unnecessary? Well let me tell you this - there's nothing quite like pulling your vinyl to see you logo looking right back at you. Aside from the customisation, the mats work and they work well. I've seen an improvement in my routines that I didn't expect. So I say go for it - they're not only good - they're really good and the added bonus of having your mark on them makes them indispensable.
Rating - 9/10
Pros - Cool being able to have your own image and more importanlty, they work really well.
Cons - Heavily taped up records wear the image quickly.
For more information, visit www.slikmats.com