Album Review | Visionquest - Fabric 61 + Article | Visionquest | Rite of Passage

Fabric London

house \haus \ n + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n

I managed to ruffle a feather or two earlier this year when, reviewing Art Department's The Drawing Board LP, I claimed that deep house was back. One reader felt that deep house had never gone away and that my statement was an overdramatic way of crafting a story where, he or she felt there was none. While yes, it is utterly false to claim that there were no deep house records made between, say, 2006 and last January, I still contend that the quality and the popularity of the music suffered a huge dip during that rough time frame, and thanks to acts like Detroit-to-Berlin deep tech foursome Visionquest (and, of course, Art Department, who I was praising at the time) this particular realm of dance music has surged back to it's previous heights, and, possibly, then some.

It's those highs that Visionquest shares with us on its contribution the Fabric mix series. Members Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss, Shaun Reeves and Seth Troxler are all producers and DJs who enjoy careers on their own, helping fill out the tapestry of acts on labels like Crosstown Rebels, Hot Creations, Ghostly International and elsewhere—labels that are leading the charge of this new breed of deep house music. Their sound is poppy at times—but in a new wave way, techy, mesmerizing and understatedly playful.  And on this mix they present a dark, unified and yet incredibly diverse, well, vision.

Warming atmospherics and the mantra "just relax man" set the mood as the massage of the tide on STL's "Portside Waves" washes the quartet's deep bounce to the shores of our inner ear. Whereas deep house's previous incarnations  gravitated towards a body and soul style sexiness—all soulful vocals, warm rhodes and jazzy lightness—these boys claim closer allegiance to the Motor City, preferring machine-driven textures, cosmic flourishes and literal space references that surface on Soul Center's "HAL 2010," Seuil's "In the Moon" and Green Velvet's "Abduction."

But the main goal here is to showcase the Visionquest sound—not of the members, but of their label. Tracks like the stand out "Forest Fires" by My Favorite Robot and work by Footprintz and Tale of Us, which hold up the tail end of the mix, have all found a home on the label, a diverse imprint dedicated to all manner of leftfield dance sounds. And where that mission isn't realized in tracks directly from the crew's label, it is in the expansive mixture that sees cuts from label's like Compost and Tru Thoughts side by side with the likes of Transmat and Perlon. 

These four dudes have a sly sense of humor and when I spoke with them this summer about the roots of "Visionquest" they joked about drug trips in the woods and Matthew Modine. Nonetheless, they are on a mission to dissolve boundaries and take this music new places, and with Fabric 61 they assure that all of us get to come along. I for one, am enjoying the ride.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Rite of Passage

Visionquest came out of the Michigan wilderness and into its own.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 08.24.11

After the North and South Poles, Es Vedra, a rock formation off the coast of Ibiza, is supposedly the most magnetic point in the world. Some say it was the home of the sirens from Homer’s epic The Odyssey, and locals claim it’s the tip of the sunken city of Atlantis. It’s also within view of Visionquest’s condo, where the Detroit foursome has been soaking up the rock’s mystical properties—and partying its ass off at a string of high-profile gigs. 

Seth Troxler, the group’s youngest member at 26, is only having a laugh when he points out Es Vedra’s magical appeal, and yet it seems like the perfect setting to reach this group of friends that gravitated together over a desire to do something different with dance music. 

“Like-mindedness was what really drew us together,” Troxler says of the gang of four, which also includes Ryan Crosson and Shaun Reeves, both 30, and Lee Curtiss, 33. Speaking via Skype prior to their appearance at Spy Bar on Friday 26, Troxler continues, “We were really into a certain sound coming from Europe, having all spent some time over there and coming back and forth. We just became best friends.” 

Though the members have healthy DJ and production careers of their own, which divide them between Europe and the States, Visionquest as a whole is entirely Detroit-bred and quickly establishing itself as the next hottest thing to come rolling out of the Motor City. It is the latest fruits of a dance-music family tree that includes the Belleville Three, Matthew Dear and, especially, Richie Hawtin, whom they all cite as a central influence. 

Though the kinship they feel to their forebears is strong, the music is all their own. Whether through remixes or the tracks it has been releasing on its label of the same name, Visionquest is working dance floors with an eclectic formula that includes deep house, techy flourishes, sexy pop and a willingness to embrace the left field. “It’s not strictly following a certain genre or sound or trying to carve a whole new niche in dance music where a lot of it’s been done already,” Crosson says.

Continue reading 

Visionquest gets Chicago tripping on Friday Dec 16 @ The Mid.

Here's a taster:




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