Tag Archives: House

Album of the Day: Brijean, “Walkie Talkie”

 

Percussionist Brijean Murphy is perhaps best known for her collaborations with Toro Y Moi, Poolside, and U.S. Girls, but on Walkie Talkie, she steps out on her own. The result is a smooth, sumptuous, and soulful record—one that feels like a journey through tropical house. 

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Jayda G Celebrates the Classic Sound of Chicago House & Detroit Techno

Jayda

“The whole thing with club music—and specifically house music—is basically to have a room full of people where you can be free to be yourself, to let loose to really enjoy the music,” says DJ and producer Jayda G. “That’s what I hope I bring to music and that’s really what music is about—connecting people.”

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With The Buddy System Project, King Britt Finds Strength in Numbers

King-Britt-by-colin-kerrigan-1244-2

King Britt by Colin Kerrigan

In a now famous interview clip filmed in the summer of 1969, Doors frontman Jim Morrison talks with Rolling Stone writer Jerry Hopkins about the future of popular music. Morrison predicts that the future of music will be machine-driven, creating the space for individual composers to fully execute their vision alone. Continue reading

Lifetime Achievement: Hieroglyphic Being’s Experimental Acid House Mythologies

lifetime_achievement_award-1244To hold a cursory conversation with Chicago native Jamal Moss, the mind behind experimental acid house project Hieroglyphic Being, is to strut through Chicago house history. Having come up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Moss attended shows and raves at clubs like the Muzic Box, where legendary producer Ron Hardy DJed. Moss has done a bit of everything concerning the music industry—starting by dancing out at clubs, becoming a promoter, DJing at clubs and on the radio at WNUR, making music under many aliases, and having his own label (Mathematics Recordings). Over the course of a two-hour chat at Evanston restaurant the Peckish Pig, he mentions working in robotics, academia, at a financial firm, and even as a gigolo. And that’s without even touching Hieroglyphic Being, his prolific project which melds a number of styles—free jazz, industrial music, New Age, and acid house—into a sound entirely his own.

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Album of the Day: Various Artists, “Now That’s What I Call Trax! Volume 1”

There’s no denying the massive weight TRAX Records has in the history of house music—the name conjures up the sights and sounds of a beautifully diverse, extremely creative and hedonistic Chicago dance underground. Founded in 1983, the label was by no means the only one releasing house music when the style exploded onto the mainstream in the 1980s and 1990s, but it remains one of the most influential and pioneering names in the genre, releasing music by greats like Frankie Knuckles, Screamin’ Rachael (TRAX’s co-founder and current president), Jesse Saunders, Marshall Jefferson, and Farley Jackmaster Funk, among others. Keeping up with the label’s cutting-edge and independent spirit, their newest compilation, Now That’s What I Call Trax! Vol. 1, showcases the best of TRAX Records’ releases in the past decade, giving a nod to house music’s roots and steering it towards the future. Continue reading

Electronic Labels From Singapore Thrive Despite Challenges

Darker Than Wax

Darker Than Wax

National identity is a hot topic in Singapore, which is also known as the Lion City (Sanskrit, “Singapura”). The island city-state is home to various ethnicities—predominantly Chinese, Malay, and Indian—not to mention countless foreign residents. So, there’s no simple answer to what exactly it means to be Singaporean.

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Album of the Day: DJ Pierre, “Wild Pitch: The Story”

Acid house was born in 1985 with the fated introduction of the Roland TB-303 Bass Line synthesizer to one Nathaniel Pierre Jones, aka DJ Pierre. Though DJ Pierre’s origin story is the stuff of underground dance music legend, he also recorded under dozens of different names over the course of his 30+ year career. Initially arriving on the wings of Chicago house’s first wave in the mid ‘80s and forging a stylistic prototype for the sound with the trio Phuture, DJ Pierre delivered the screeching, squelching bass synth that was the signature of 1987’s “Acid Tracks.” Pierre hasn’t let up since then, and the 16-track Wild Pitch is a welcome sliver of high points culled from productions dating from the early ‘90s to the present.

Wild Pitch opens with a conservative rework of “House for All,” an obscurity originally produced in 1993 by Baltimore’s Blunted Dummies. It’s followed by DJ Pierre’s lead single for the Get Physical label, the sublimely acid-drenched “MuSiQ.” It’s the third track, though—“Meet Hate with Love”—that is the rawest, most resonant reminder of DJ Pierre’s skills as a producer. Pounding at 125 BPM, “Meet Hate with Love” is definitive acid house in tone and principle. The track begins with a lone, fierce kick drum, slowly incorporating a warbling bass synthesizer, minimal piano chords, and a booming chorus sung by Ann Nesby. Tethering the sonics are astutely layered sound bites from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Stride Toward Freedom” speech. By looping King’s instruction to “meet physical force with soul force,” DJ Pierre channels the foundational hope and virtue of house music’s classic era.

The spiritual exhilaration of “Meet Hate with Love” carries on through Wild Pitch. DJ Pierre taps into underground dance music’s promise of transcendence on tracks like “Let the Music Take You Higher” and “Love and Happiness.” Whether it serves as an introduction, or simply an update, Wild Pitch is an undeniable demonstration of DJ Pierre’s decades-deep artistic mastery.

Joseph Darling

 

 

U.K. Electronic Label Where to Now? Pivots to Vinyl

Where to Now

From the smoothed-out house of Space Afrika’s Primrose Avenue to the drone excursions of Wanda Group’s Masculinity Is A Wonderful Thing, to Helm’s freewheeling, extended dreadscapes on Orange Tanks, you’d be hard-pressed to tie London/Brighton-based label Where To Now? down to one specific sound or idea. It mostly sits underneath the wide umbrella of “experimental electronic music.” As Matt Hendon, co-founder of Where To Now? alongside James Hines, says, “The label is in a constant state of flux, in sync with our own shifting interests.” In that way, the label’s name is an apt one, allowing the pair free rein with what they consider a hobby to make use of their spare time (though it no doubt comes with far more pressure than your usual casual pastime.)

Where To Now? was initially founded in 2007 in Brighton at a small hangout called The Penthouse, where Hendon and Hines would rip various records from their respective collections and compile CD-Rs full of old post-punk, minimal wave, and early electronics to give away at early club nights. “This led to us doing a show on [local digital station] Totally Radio, and we started being asked to DJ at nights and festivals outside of Brighton, making new friends, expanding our minds,” Hendon says, adding that their joint activity “spiraled from there.”

When their friends in bands began turning their attention to electronic sounds, an abundance of unreleased music began falling into their hands. “Whether that was a direct reason for us starting the label, I can’t remember,” Hendon says, “but we did start by releasing our friends’ music: PDP, Moon Gangs, Helm.” The label’s first releases arrived some years on from those first nights at The Penthouse in 2007, kicking off in June 2011 with a pair of gossamer drone pieces from Moon Gangs (aka BEAK> member Will Young) on Sea / Sky, with early releases issued as digital downloads and limited cassettes.

Keeping up a steady release rate in the years that followed, a standout pair of releases from U.K. producer Beatrice Dillon (2014’s Blues Dances and 2015’s Face A/B) certainly played their part in boosting Where To Now?’s profile as a record label, with the producer having gone on to collaborate with Kassem Mosse and Call Super on London-based labels The Trilogy Tapes and Hessle Audio, respectively. She also released with Boomkat’s in-house Editions label and remixed fellow Where To Now?-affiliate Helm for Bill Kouligas’s PAN imprint. Her records for Where To Now?—sequenced around intricate, spacious percussion, oddball field recordings, and fits of cacophonous brass—teeter on the brink of avant-garde experimentalism and adventurous dancefloor material.

When the label began, the pair already had a general nous for the working of the business, with Hines having assisted with the running of a garage rock-oriented label called Sex Is Disgusting alongside a friend, sussing out the essentials of promotion and record distribution in the process. “We certainly always try to embrace a DIY spirit, and keep as much as we can in house,” Hendon explains. “I write and distribute the press releases, and deal with the operational aspects of getting records out into the world, and James deals with the design direction, doing the majority of the work himself.”

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