Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Lil’ Louis was born on May 13th (Stevie Wonder’s birthday) and raised in the westside of Chicago. Before Technics 1200’s, Disco, The Garage, The Music Box, The Warehouse, and The Power Plant nightclubs, there was Lil’ Louis.
Louis’ rich background in music and parties gained its foundation from his parents. His father was a strong rhythm and blues guitarist and bandleader and his mother ran her own local youth center for many years.
In 1974, Louis made his DJ debut under some very, let’s say, challenging conditions. Several gangs, including the Latin Kings, the Black Gangster Disciples, and the Vice Lords, claimed different sections of Chicago. In an effort to bring peace and unity to the community, Louis’ mother threw a neighborhood party to which she invited members of all of the warring gangs. In a bizarre twist of fate, the DJ had an epileptic seizure and was rushed off to the hospital, leaving a hostile crowd with no music. Louis then found himself (at the tender age of twelve) behind the deck (as per his mother’s request…no, make that command). With only one turntable and an increasingly violent crowd, Louis created a calm in all the madness by playing Kool & The Gang’s “Funky Stuff.” The power of music indeed…
By the age of fourteen, Louis was getting paid to DJ at clubs and lounges around Chicago. Even at such a young age, Louis had complete confidence behind the decks, playing music that he believed in regardless of its popularity, or lack of same.
Later that same year Louis received his first big break. A Chicago DJ by the name of Milton Green decided that Louis had major potential and brought him on to play at his club, Rivers Edge. Two more of Chicago’s biggest DJ’s, namely Frenchy and “Terrible” Teddy, then put Louis on at their clubs, Keyman’s and MGM Grand. One evening during a raid by the police at Rivers Edge, a policeman was amazed that this young boy was in the DJ booth and referred to Louis as Lil’ Louis, and the rest, as they say…
Posted by mi theaki at 02:56
Real Name: Frank Warren Knuckles, Jr.
Frankie Knuckles was born in the South Bronx of New York City on the 18th January 1955. He was the Dj from 1977 to 1982 at the Warehouse. It is widely accepted that his style of DJing and his selection and the appeal of the Warehouse gave house music its name, although in the beginning, the word 'house' was used only in Chicago to denote something which was cool, hip, fresh or bad. Frankie Knuckles had been long time friends with Larry Levan, they had had their musical upbringing together from going to clubs like Loft and the Gallery.
Real Name:Marvin Louis Burns
Chicago based DJ and producer. One of the most popular Chicago house producers during the late '80s thanks to his massive club hit "French Kiss", Lil' Louis was also the only Chicago producer to successfully deal with the major labels; he released two albums for Epic, and only left the label at his own instigation. Born in Chicago, Louis was the son of guitarist Bobby Sims, who recorded for Chess and appeared with the psychedelic-soul unit Rotary Connection. He grew up with nine siblings and played both drums and bass as a child, then began DJing in the mid-'70s (he earned his nickname after appearances at the club River's Edge while still in middle school). By the end of the decade he had his own club, the Future, where he began working on his editing techniques, thanks to a cassette deck and later a reel-to-reel recorder.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Posted by mi theaki at 12:10
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tile: James What – About Love / A Target For The Scene
Label: Crosstown Rebels
Format: Vinyl, 12"
Released: 01 Mar 2011
Style: Deep House, Tech House
1) About Love
2) A Target For The Scene
Release on Discogs
Monday, May 23, 2011
Making his first steps in production with the 22 Crew, Nhar is now mainly working on his own eponym solo project, under which he since 2005 has released vinyl records on labels such as Plak, Mobilee, Modelisme and also exclusive digital releases on both Plex and (again) Plak.
Nhar's music could be described as a mix between low minimal grooves, deviant but funky tech/house sequences and more melancholic soundscapes. Always with focus on the hypnotic moments in the music, he plays tricks in your mind. Listen carefully... Not only a dj with more than 10 years behind the decks, he is also performing live with full hardware set-up.
Title: Nhar – Megumi / Bluedrop
Catalog#: 200 013
Format: File, MP3, 320 kbps
Release on Discogs
Nhar on Discogs
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Real Name: Miles Dewey Davis III
Trumpeter, bandleader, composer and one of the most important figures in jazz music history, and music history in general.
Best known for his seminal modern jazz album "Kind Of Blue" (1959), the highest selling jazz album of all time with five million copies sold.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
The catch in Kenny Glasgow's voice made me wonder at first. He's forlorn-sounding, foggy and lonesome, and he wavers around pitch so determinedly in the first couple minutes of The Drawing Board's opening track, "Much Too Much," that the first time through it registered as passive aggression. What is this? I mean, yes, it's the album by the guys who did "Without You," RA's No. 1 track of last year—and that Ian Curtis-like sepulchral quality (albeit pitched up some: Glasgow's a tenor to Curtis's baritone) of tone and time had been the grabber there, too. But still—an album's worth? Well, at least I couldn't complain that Glasgow and Art Department partner Jonny White were running away from the thing that had made people care.
In fact, it was exactly the opposite—gloriously so. The Drawing Board is that rare thing: an album that takes everything good about a spectacular single and draws out its possibilities for its entire length. Glasgow's singing is breathy and nervy, and it flickers out of the speakers just enough to lure you in—a job the grooves complete. The tracks here are spare and deliberate: simple drum machines, sprinkles of programmed percussion, one-handed keyboard bass, cheap Casio chords, muttered spoken vocal overdubs. "Living the Life," one of two cuts with Seth Troxler (the other, "Vampire Nightclub," was the original A-side of "Without You") makes Art Department's debt to '80s Chicago house explicit by throwing in a quote from The It's "Donnie," while the percussion track of "Tell Me Why (Part 1)" slowly dissolves, revealing its similarities to Loose Joints' "Is It All Over My Face?"
But those are winks, not crutches. Like LCD Soundsystem or the first Luomo album, these are long tracks dense with allusion that sound like they were made up on the spot. Their length is key to that illusion, and to the album's strength. They stretch and tease out bits of interplay—between a Morse Code keyboard motif, a woman's soulful "mmm-hmmm" and a more robotic "on," occasional '80s video game lasers and other vocal samples, over a crisp and dry drum track, for instance, as on "What Does It Sound Like?"—in order to incrementally load the atmosphere with tension. But for all the moodiness on show here, there's no sense that Glasgow and White are truly gloomy: they keep the arrangements moving around too much for that. It's more like they find it cathartic, and beautiful—and can teach even a skeptic to as well.
Title: Art Department (2) – The Drawing Board
Label: Crosstown Rebels
Format: CD, Album
Released: Mar 2011
Review on RA
Art Department on Discogs
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Aaaah, good morning!
Posted by mi theaki at 10:51
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Real Name: Rupert Parkes
A fixture on the UK jungle scene since the early nineties, Photek a.k.a. Rupert Parkes (born 1972, St Albans, England and associated with Ipswich in the nineties) is best known for his role in developing the "intelligent" drum & bass genre. Over the course of his career as Photek, Parkes has developed a sound that is simultaneously individual, innovative and accessible, earning him much respect and popularity amongst critics and music fans alike. The strength of the sound finds foundation in Photek’s incredibly detailed drum programming, which is then augmented by his sophisticated sense for combining abstract sounds with jazz and classic techno influences.
Recently Parkes has been more and more active in producing music for film, having worked on a number of scoring projects for upcoming features from his new home base in Los Angeles. His dedication to film scoring is evident, and his perfectionist attention to detail and tireless work ethic are quickly leading him to success in Hollywood.
Photek on Discogs
Posted by mi theaki at 20:42
Thursday, May 12, 2011
For such a well-respected artist, Rene Pawlowitz seems extraordinarily unfussy. While other producers tool around in the studio for hours trying to find the right tones and timbres, Pawlowitz says he just gets an idea in his head, sits down and executes it. His swift approach is not lost on the final product; listening to The Traveller you don't picture him second guessing himself very much, belaboring the placement of a snare or the curve of an envelope. Each song, though very intricate, is clear, concise and unembellished, doing just what it needs to do and then ending.
Intentional or not, The Traveller is a fitting title: the album never stays in one place for long. With most records, you reach a point a few tracks in where the artist has more or less revealed his hand, making what's to come, at least stylistically, fairly clear. Pawlowitz doesn't let this happen. In fact, for the first part of the album it's like he's deliberately faking out his audience: a heavy momentum gets going early with "Keep Time," the record's clubbiest song, then abruptly drops off with "The Bot," a slow, atmospheric piece with a syncopated beat that takes four minutes to kick in. Pawlowitz keeps up this non-linear narrative for the rest of the album, skipping through tempos, moods and time signatures without much issue, until eventually arriving at "Leave Things," a 160 BPM drum & bass indulgence.
At first pass the album might not sound as rich as Shedding the Past, Pawlowitz's excellent debut album from 2008, but really it's just a bit less flashy. That long player was packed with lush imagery and emotive chords, but The Traveller has more to offer in the way of subtle detail. That said, the record is by no means cold and emotionless: the title track provides a nice dose of soothing ambiance, "No Way!" breaks things up with its carefree, slightly delirious mood and "Atmo – Action" evokes the epic melancholy of Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works. Then there's "44A (Hardwax Forever!)," the unabashed ode to Berlin's most well-loved record shop, whose euphoric arpeggios betray just how important the place really is to Shed.
In the three years or so since his last album, Pawlowitz has garnered a lot of acclaim for his WAX and EQD series, through which he releases expertly crafted club tracks. Listening to The Traveller, it seems like he used these channels to get all the bangers out of his system, leaving the more exploratory work to be done as Shed. The aforementioned club tunes are great, but Pawlowitz is most innovative within the open framework of the long-player—where WAX and EQD attempt to perfect an already established formula, Shed transcends the formulas altogether, and more so on his new album than ever before. He's gone on record saying he finds most techno today boring and too structurally rigid. On The Traveller, he presents a very convincing alternative.
Title: Shed – The Traveller
Review on RA
Shed on Discogs
EQD on Discogs
Wax on Discogs
Detroiter Patrice Scott has been spinning records since the 80's. Influenced by pioneers such as Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Larry Heard, Ron Hardy and many others, Patrice Scott developed his own distinct taste and style of DJing, which later evolving into production. Evolving further as a producer, Patrice Scott been lately releasing music on his own label Sistrum Recordings.
Posted by mi theaki at 15:03
This is his first release since Escapements in 2008, an album with track titles like "Waterfall" and "Sparkling Stars" which RA's Sam Louis said would make "Manuel Gottsching dance." His surroundings have undoubtedly rubbed off on his music, repeatedly producing epic, unostentatiously trancey, and above all natural works which evolve gently and unhurriedly.
But whereas "Oasis" or "Sparkling Stars" make the most of simple, repeated riffs by just noodling meditatively around them without straying too far, "Distant Shores" has more to hold on to, journeying through different realms. With a pulsating "Won't Get Fooled Again" synth and world's end dreaminess, along with clattering drums which seem to herald Judgment Day, the first four minutes break into a perfect, lyrical beauty of reverbed pluck.
Well, almost perfect, because the occasional detuned squiggles in the line depict loopholes in reality hiding in the gaps between the leaves. Rising pads soon join, and the drums also change markedly throughout and rise in energy, finally breaking out with tapping hi-hats and carrying the euphoria. It sits on the borderline between gorgeous and cheesy—probably falling just on the side of the former, but close enough to the latter that it probably wouldn't hit its mark in many indoor clubs away from balmy Mediterranean countries.
Whether you find this mind-expanding depends on how open-minded the music you've been exposed to already is, but as far as simple beauty is concerned, I for one would pay the price of a return ticket to Croatia for just one night of this.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Title: Johanna Knutsson - Heavy Baby
Label: Klasse Recordings
Catalog#: KLS 004
Released: April 2011
Style: Minimal/Tech House
Formats: 192kbs MP3 / 320kbs MP3 / WAV
Release on Discogs
Monday, May 2, 2011
It's been almost nine years since Audio Soul Project released a full-length album, but it isn't like man-behind-the-moniker Mazi Namvar hasn't been busy. Easily one of Chicago's prolific producers, Namvar teamed up with fellow Windy City regular Justin Long to form Wasted Chicago Youth and released a glut of tracks and remixes over the last couple of years. But in finally putting out a follow-up to 2002's Community, Namvar turns his back from the tech-leaning directions he's explored of late, returning to the deeper feel of his earlier productions.
With barely perceptible vocal samples and a hypnotic rhythm, the record kicks off with "Mnemosyne," a feel good track with just enough urgency to turn things over and get the engine started. "Have It All Dub" packs a little more punch, with a killer house groove and R&B-tinged vocals that push to the front during the breakdown.
Vocals play a prominent role on Hip Shake Heartache, putting different finishes on Namvar's solid production—whether powerfully belted out on the unexpected disco strains of "Good Inside," or Alexander East's trademarked breathy croon in soulfulness (laid perfectly over Richard Gow's jazzy piano noodling) on "My Bluff," or even the relative flatness and sensitive delivery of Namvar's Fresh Meat cohort Nathan Drew Larsen (House Of Black Dress). But the album closer "Call Of Grace" has the biggest vocal payoff, with Ron Carroll urging listeners to "raise your hands if you feel it..." as just the right amount of funk in a subtle bassline keeps it buoyantly bouncing along.
There's a lot to like about the instrumental tracks too, with "Dig Up" showcasing the saxophone abilities of Richard Gow and Jimmy Tripp's electric piano working together, as the beat gallops along at a confident mid-tempo jog. "Asha," meanwhile, is the LP's most obvious floor mover—albeit subtle and in-check with the rest of the album—with a R&B-tinged feel, and just a touch of that songbird chirping down the echoing hallway of a churning, floor-friendly 125 BPMs.
At its best, Hip Shake Heartache manages to rise above a mere exercise to showcase Namvar's 15 years of production experience in Audio Soul Project (plus a few more as a DJ). Yes, the varied cuts, styles and influences shine through each and every track, but there is also a certain cohesiveness that blesses Hip Shake Heartache with rare and complete LP listenability from a house artist. Audio Soul Project isn't reinventing the wheel, but give credit to Namvar for putting together a complete album that clearly credits classic house but doesn't come off as some tired and forced homage built for cred.
Artist: Audio Soul Project
Title: Hip Shake Heartache
Label: Fresh Meat Records
Format: Vinyl 12", Digital File
Released: December 2010
Featuring Ron Carroll on vocals
Audio Soul official web
Audio Soul Project Myspace
Audio Soul Projecgt on Discogs
Release review on RA