Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Album Review: Woolfy vs Projections | The Astral Projections of Starlight


Cosmic•Disco \käz-mik dis-kõ\ n + Beard•Rock \ bierd räk\ n

“Oh Captain…. I think we’re home… 1000 years later where did I go?” Ponderings of disbelief coming from some intergalactic navigator repeat themselves in augural succession. The musical setting evokes a sense of relief on the part of our narrator but also one of underlying dread, fear of a now unknown world he’s returning to. A culminating moment – both for our protagonist and for the album concept he’s found himself at the center of – at 45 minutes the current space odyssey of West Coast cosmic explorers Woolfy & Projections is officially illuminated for us. Released in conjunction with the freewheelers at Permanent Vacation Records - and aptly titled -The Astral Projections of Starlight draws inspiration from the spirit of Captain Starlight, a character created by Italo cult artist Frank Zander, and the result is an esoteric and introspective hour that seemingly encapsulates as many years logged listening to disco, italo, and heroin rock as downtempo and ambient drum & bass (LTJ Bukem’s Journey Inwards anyone?). As with any journey into the unknown it can be fraught with missteps and Astral Projections does have a moment or two where the otherwise commendable give and take between tranquil downtempo and drugged out cosmic disco falters into stale, generic version of itself but its not enough to throw listeners off course. All told Woolfy and Projections deliver exactly what their lofty album title suggests: a dreamlike soundtrack for a day spent riding moonbeams through the stratosphere…. Or at least for an afternoon getting stoned and contemplating the possibilities of traveling through said stratosphere…

- Mr Joshua P Ferguson

myspace: woolfy
Permanent Vacation Records

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Live Review: The Herbaliser

The Herbaliser
Live @ The Darkroom – Chicago IL USA
November 18 – 2008

Tweeded out, funk loving beatsters The Herbaliser descended upon Chicago’s Ukrainian Village nightspot The Darkroom this week for a low key – but warmly attended - tour stop. Boasting a 7 piece live band they recently touched down stateside for a string of events promoting their new !K7 full length Same as it Never Was. Keeping true to their hip-hop roots their set danced through funk, acid jazz, and sweet soul all underpinned by a sample based aesthetic and scratched choruses. This time around they’ve also found a real looker in the addition of young vocalist Jessica Darling who’s sultry swagger and earthy soul added an extra spotlight to the stage. According to a chance bathroom run in with trumpeteering front man Ralph Lamb they’ve been playing 8,000 + crowds throughout Europe so we fortunate Chicagoans got a rare & intimate performance from these pioneering downtempo staples.

Book-ending the night were respected windy city tastemaker DJ’s Intel, Shala, & Striz.

Check this interview w/ Mr. Lamb after their recent Minneapolis performance. Includes some live footage.

- Joshua P Ferguson

Striz - myspace
Shala - myspace

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Singles Review: LDN Picks the Picks | January

LDN's Roy Shay drops his top 5 for November:

Dialogue Incorporated Senior London correspondent Roy Shay marks his debut written contribution for us with the advent of his new regular series highlighting some of the brightest musical moments each month. Offering up an exclusive look at top tunes doing it to it in Londontown --- all eyes here if you don't wanna miss the skinny.

Well recognized for his keen insight into all things hip-hop and beated this latest selection is an aptly Dialogue selection. Hats off to Mr. Shay as we look forward to many more of these.

Let the conversation begin!

This month's list is a little different: As opposed to the typically very hiphop-y recommendations I've had in the past, I've decided to focus on a different angle this month. November is about lush, layered, mid-tempo bubblers. Nothing slower than 100 or faster than, say, 110ish. Perfect leaf kicking music.

(editors note: if you're clever enough with www.hypem.com than tracks #1 - #4 are merely a few clicks away. For heater #5 you'll have to go the traditional route: www.turntablelab.com)

1:: MGMT - Electric Feel [Aeroplane Remix] - Better than the original? Quite possibly.

2:: John Miles - Stranger in the City [Pilooski Edit] - Slowly shaping up to be the opener at the office Christmas do this year. I slept on this for a minute, granted. No excuse.

3:: Grace Jones - William's Blood [Aeroplane Remix] - Yes, two Aeroplane remixes in the same list. After discovering them thanks to Mr. Joshua a couple of months ago, I can't get enough! These hard working Italo-wunderkinds can't really go wrong these days.

4:: Stevie Wonder - Superstition [Todd Terje Edit] - First spotted at Gramercy Park hotel Rose Bar earlier this year. Leaves you begging for vocals until the fourth minute. H-E-A-T.

5:: Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes - You Can't Go [Edit de Prince Language] - It's a lot. I was after this stonker for two years since hearing it first at a Scruff gig. Teases for eight minutes and never gives you the chorus!

myspace: roy shay
facebook: roy shay

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Album Review: School of Seven Bells | Alpinisms


Shoe•gaze \shü-gãz\ vb + Dream•Pop \dreem päp\n + psy•che•del•ic \si-ke-del-ik\ adj

The two folk tinged beauties’ voices recall the best of a bygone era of hippie psychedelia, almost a folk renaissance that resonates with monotone intonation, melancholy harmonies, tie-dyed waves of color, and the smoky whiff of herb. Recently risen from uber music mecca Brooklyn NYC twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza are the front women for School of Seven Bells who, along with sound magician Benjamin Curtis, have recently offered up their debut full length, out on Ann Arbor’s Ghostly International. Borrowing both their name and, in its own way, their album title – Alpinisms – from an elusive Andean school of thievery their music comes to embody a sort of high altitude mystery and mirage. Curtis’ shoegaze-esque guitars, fuzzy synths and glitch-hop drum programming have a dissonant yet ethereal quality, woven together they create a billowy sound bed for the twins often murky & dreamlike vocal meanderings to comfortably sink into. The succession of reviews following the albums release most often draw comparisons to The Cocteau Twins & My Bloody Valentine – both center pieces of the Shoe Gaze & Dream Pop movements - but there are also hints of contemporary influences ranging from Prefuse 73’s Savath & Savalas project to, say, the more despondent moments from Stereolab’s library. Refreshingly the School’s sound evades being backed into a definitive corner, rather – to keep with the high-flying, consciousness-expanding motif – it “transcends”. It creates a bright, carefree & colorful sonic playground all its own, a place to escape the grey clutches of winter that loom close at hand.

- Joshua P Ferguson


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dialogue:Incorporated:Radioshow #7 | October/November: Featuring DFA's Jacques Renault

Dialogue Incorporated | October/November Newsletter: Dialogue Incorporated Radio Show #7 with guest mix from DFA's Jacques Renault!

Hosted by Mr Joshua P Ferguson, Creative Director


With the days left in the countdown to the US presidential election fitting on one hand these are exciting times around the Dialogue offices and even more so outside. The election buzz is inescapable. We here at Dialogue Inc are not a competitive bunch. We're not prone to take sides (conscientious observers?), but for us this election is the most important in memory. Barack Obama has upped the ante yet again this past week with a rare political maneuver, taking out a half hour of national prime time TV coverage. The comforting consistency of his message reiterates itself as the program gives voters his unobstructed, comprehensive view of the crises facing the US and how he plans to deal with them. His candor is reassuring as he admits he won't be a perfect president, that his policies are not be all solutions to our problems, but they are a step in the right direction, a change for the better. Barack Obama's ability to move our maturing future (a future that comprises the whole of our Dialogue family) is so acute that many amongst us feel so strongly its as if the man could make trees uproot themselves to help him clean up the environment! Given Dialogue Incorporated's commitment to spreading the discourse of subjects that move most we couldn't let this newsletter mail out without our endorsement for Mr Obama's presidency.

So, that said, and In spite of all these world changing current events, our focus here should really be our latest programming and this month will go down as one of 2008's biggest. We've got a really proper show on deck - a DFA special of sorts - thanks to a few choice recent releases from the label and a timely guest spot from one time Chicago native Jacques Renault - who, as one half of DFA recording artists Runaway, has been lighting up the clubs (and the charts) with "Brooklyn Club Jam". We catch up with Mr Renault just back from a trip overseas where he recorded a set of himself djing live @ Showcase in Paris. Powerhousing his way through some of this years best in house and disco cut ups the second half of the show is not to be missed.

For the first half of the show we wanted to set the mood for Jacques' mix, focusing on some of the offices current deep, balearic, and disco faves as well as a showcase of some standout new material from DFA including their recent 12" releases of Runaway's "Brooklyn Club Jam" featuring another of NY's finest, Brennan Green, on the remix. Also in play is Marcus Worgull's subtle remix for Juan MacLean's "Simple Life" and one of the stand out tracks from the Hercules and Love Affair full length, "Time WIll". In addition to all this DFA goodness we've got new material from Permanent Vacation, two tracks actually - Todd Terje's blissed out remix of Dolle Jolle and another one from Hercules and Love affair, their remix of Bostro Posopeo. One of the biggest heaters in the mix is Henrik Schwarz's remix of the long overdue newest from Jazzanova, "Let Me Show Ya" featuring Detroit's Paul Randolph. Speaking of "Detroit" we've got the aptly titled lead single from Morgan Geist's new album and last but not least one of the latest signing's from Detroit neighbors Ghostly International, we close out the hour with the electronic folk musings of The School of Seven Bells.

As we let Jacques Renault grab the reigns for the 2nd hour we also asked him a few questions so our listeners can better get to know this one time drum & bass loving Chicagoan turned New York City disco fiend we've come to call the newest member of the Dialogue family.

As is true with anyone who's dedicated the better part of the last 10 years to their musical passions, Jacques Renault's path has been long & diverse. Only aware of the tip of the iceberg we asked Jacques to tell us a bit more about what led up to his current spot as one of NYC's disco elite.

"I first arrived in Chicago by way of Washington DC," he begins as he expounds on his journey from DC to Chicago and eventually to New York. "I was just getting started DJing and was attracted to indie, Northern Soul, and Drum & Bass. Seems like a strange combination, but I didn't come from a rave background." Once settled in our windy city he quickly fell into the D&B scene here but after landing a coveted position as a buyer for Chicago vinyl institution Gramaphone Records he was slowly won over by his admiration for house and Gramaphone's extensive "classics" collection. "It wasn't until I was a buyer at Gramaphone that my ears were really exposed to the sound. When I figured out what the house records were sampling, I wanted to do the same and I started finding some of the best gems in Chicago before I moved to NYC in 2002." The seeds of Jacques current passions were sown. "When I got here... I went to places like APT and heard DJ's like Metro Area and James Murphy where it was about the music and the vibe. Clearly the sound wasn't a trend and NYC has grown even more with a lot of talent now pushing the sound."

Seeing as how, over the years, Jacques has worked in buying and sales at a record store as well as spending his time in the studio and behind the decks as a dj, remixer, and producer we dug deeper into his thoughts about the industry at present and its movement into a digital age. "The way people hear music has definitely changed. Gone are the days of going to your record store and picking up the new jams or waiting to get your hands on what you heard your DJ play the night before." Touching on a point that resonates with many who are holding on to their vinyl roots Jacques continues, pointing out, "Digitally we can download pretty much anything. Its created a unique musical exchange among producers and friends which is exclusive and keeps some music in demand. Vinyl WILL still be around though, as a lot of music will only be available that way and the adventure and experience of actually having that disco 12" rather than the mp3 will be forever!"

A vinyl purist as much as any dj can be these days we went on to inquire about the latest from Jacques studio that might be finding its way on to wax. Most recently Jacques has joined forces with long time friend Marcos Cabral of Trapez fame. Recording as Runaway they've got original material out now on Cosmo Vitelli's I'm A Cliche label, Brennan Green's Chinatown, and in a collaboration with UK label Rekids their latest single is out stateside on DFA. In the near future you'll see more edit goodies on My Cousin Roy's Wurst label as well as remixes for their own DFA, Mantra Vibes, and Dialogue favorite Permanent Vacation.

WIth that. Let the conversation begin!



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Dialogue Incorporated Radio Show #7

Hosted By Mister Joshua


1st Hour: Mister Joshua
Hercules & Love Affair “Time Will” – DFA
Cole Medina “Love You Inside & Out” (Pinches mix) – House Arrest
MGMT “Electric Feel” (Aeroplane remix) – cd-r
The Knife “Heartbeat” (Rune Lindbaek mix) – cd-r
Dolle Jolle “Balearic Incarnation” (Todd Terje mix) – Permanent Vacation
Jazzanova “Let Me Show Ya” (Henrik Schwarz remix) – Verve
Bostro Pesopeo “Falls” (Hercules & Love Affair remix) – Permanent Vacation
Jacques Renault “Bad Skinned” – RVNG
Runaway “Brooklyn Club Jam” (Brennan Green Version) – DFA
Quixote “Before I Started to Dance” (Prins Thomas mix) – Versatile
Morgan Geist “Detroit” – Environ
Juan MacLean “Simple Life” (Marcus Worgull remix) – DFA
School of Seven Bells “Half Asleep” – Ghostly International

2nd Hour: Guest spot from Jacques Renault

Runaway “Brooklyn Club Jam” (LSB Remix) - Rekids
Motor City Drum Ensemble “Stripped to the Bone” - Compost Black
DJ Cole Medina “Buffalo Bill” - House Arrest
Joey Negro and the sunshine band “Journey to the Sun” (Dennis ferrer beats) - Z records
M.E. “R+ B Drunkie” - Golf Channel
The Revenge “Cadillac” - Jiscomusic
Repopulous “my piano” - electric disco
Jerome Sydenham “In the Barbershop” - Ibadan
Hipsters “Remember” (Runaway Remix) - Mantra Vibes Glossy 1 promo
Radio Slave “Incognito” - R&S records
LCD Soundsystem “45:33 part” (Runaway Remix) - DFA