Monday, February 28, 2011

Shuffle | Rainbow Arabia

Shuffle | Rainbow Arabia + MP3

Listening to Rainbow Arabia's debut album, Boys and Diamonds (Kompakt), my first reaction is that it's the album M.I.A. should have made instead of MAYA. Sure that's not exactly right, but I definitely prefer hearing the ethno-electro of this L.A. husband and wife team to whatever M.I.A. was doing when she wasn't fighting with the press and eating truffle fries.

In a nutshell, Rainbow Arabia's Tiffany Preston sounds like a cross between M.I.A. and Fever Ray,  and her husband Danny seems to be smoking the same thing Radioclit was when it produced The Very Best. The record is a breezy, can't-wait-for-summer listen brimming with high life guitar, echoing drums, '80s synths and that same post-punk-meets-electro that has propelled acts like CSS and New Young Pony Club into the spotlight.

I first heard "Holiday in Congo" on a Kitsuné mix CD and have proceeded to play it every chance I get. Now that the full album is at the office, I listen to it three times a week. Good news for all of you: It comes out officially tomorrow.

To wet the whistle in advance of the album drop, the label has sent us this NGUZUNGUZU remix of "Without You." Extending the drums and giving the track more room to breath on a dance floor, the fellow Los Angelenos ultimately add a more minimal appeal for those hypnotic late nights.

Hear for yourself (and then download of course):


Look for Boys and Diamonds this week on Kompakt, and download older material from Rainbow Arabia on its bandcamp site:
Rainbow Arabia | bandcamp

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Album Review | Various | Werkschau

BPitch Control

house \haus \ n + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n

Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine: TOC | Werkschau

“Love is here or on its way.” The opening greeting for BPitch Control’s debut label compilation, these words—sung by Irish minimal techno artist Cormac on “The Present”—serve not only as an introduction to the release but also to the label as a whole. One of Germany’s premier electronic music imprints, BPitch Control’s primary output falls somewhere between house and techno, but this comprehensive release serves as a statement—or better yet, a love letter—to synthesized sound in all its forms.

Founded in 1999, it’s hard to believe this is the label’s first attempt to sum itself up in one neat package, yet BPitch has done just that (with the added challenge of selecting entirely from unreleased cuts). Contributions come from new artists and old, from Europe, North and South America and, musically, they span from dark tech workouts to playful electro-pop.

Showcasing BPitch’s foundational influences, label head Ellen Allien puts her own offering front and center. A vintage house stomper, “The Kiss” is a direct descendant of the soundtrack she would have heard during her career-starting all-nighters in Germany’s early acid clubs. Only a few tracks later, multi-instrumentalist TimTim sheds light on the spectrum displayed here. “How We Moove” marries a jittery electronic framework with lush songwriting and left me wishing all electro-pop sounded as good as this.

Progressing through the disc, Werkschau brilliantly connects the dots between the artists working within BPitch’s nurturing community. Sascha Funke freshens up the deep side of dance on “Hiddensee,” Kiki and Lenz break down the divide between techno’s mechanics and house’s organics on “Morning Maniacs,” and Paul Kalkbrenner, an early supporter of the label, turns in the release’s most uplifting moment with “Plätscher,” a dreamy Balearic piece.

By the time the dense electronica of “The Sky Is Black” by Chicago’s own Telefon Tel Aviv closes things out I am more inclined to translate werkschau—which means showcase—as labor of love, which is clearly what the BPitch Control family is all about.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shuffle | The Magician

Shuffle | The Magician + MP3

Though we surely weren't alone, we here at Dialogue Inc like to think that we were especially bummed when it was announced that high flying Belgian nudisco duo Aeroplane was breaking up. Stephen Fasano is an early supporter of what we do here, even contributing a DJ mix for us early on in our podcast series (Check that out here: Dialogue Incorporated Radio #3). And for Aeroplane's only Chicago date ever, they joined us at Smart Bar.

When the news hit, our prediction was that it would ultimately lead to two Aeroplanes. And so far, Fasano's solo work as the Magician is proving that that's true. He's got a number of projects in the works with various collaborators—his first EP with guest vocalist Jeppe is due out this spring and he's also working with Yuksek on a project called Peter and the Wolf. 

Not too long ago, he also dropped a remix of Lykke Li, which just showed up in our inbox this morning. Check that out here:

  Lykke Li "I Follow Rivers" The Magician Remix by TheMagician

Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Bull Music Academy | Destination Tokyo

RBMA | Destination Tokyo

Full confession: No one at Dialogue Inc is Canadian. So we feel we have some sliver of an excuse for why we've never heard of the talented gentlemen that are taking part in the Red Bull Music Academy's Destination Tokyo tour. That said, upon exploring their music further, we're a little disappointed in ourselves for not having discovered them sooner. Repping for the West Coast Canadian scene Lunice, Prison Garde, Ango and Jacques Greene are all making some deep groovers inspired by classic techno, nudisco, house and Soulja Boy. And now they're traversing the great white North playing a string of dates to help raise awareness for the Tokyo edition of Red Bull Music Academy (in October) and spread their good music in the process.

Even though it's a strictly Canadian tour, it's a great example of the type of thing the Academy is all about: spreading future music in a positive environment. It's about really letting these guys stretch out, do what they're good at and help get them exposure at the same time. 

It's something we highly encourage all you producers, DJs and musicians out there to get involved in.

Learn more here: Red Bull Music Academy

Here's a few videos of these crazy Canadians flexing their craft:

If you're in the land of Northern Lights, you can check these dudes out here: 

Thursday, February 17 – Winnipeg, MB – Ozzy’s
Friday, February 18 – Golden, BC – The RockWater
Sunday, February 20 – Fernie, BC – Bulldog’s
Tuesday, February 22 – Banff, Alberta – HooDoo
Wednesday, February 23 – Calgary, Alberta – HiFi
Thursday, February 24 – Edmonton, Alberta – The Common
Friday, February 25 – Saskatoon, SK – Scratch Club
Saturday, February 26 – Whistler, BC – The Village
Sunday, February 27 – Vancouver, BC – The Waldorf
Monday, February 28 – Victoria, BC – Touch Lounge
Wednesday, March 2 – Kamloops, BC – The Commodore
Thursday, March 3 – Kelowna, BC – Doc Wiloughby’s
Friday, March 4 – Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle
Saturday, March 5 – Ottawa, ON – Ritual Nightclub
Sunday, March 6 – Toronto, ON – WrongBar
Monday, March 7 – Halifax, NS – Tribeca
Tuesday, March 8 – Montreal, QC – Le Belmont

Big thanks to What's Really Good magazine for sending us this content!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Article: DJ Shadow | Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

DJ Shadow opens up about his new record.

Interview by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 11.07.10

TOC | DJ Shadow

At the start of this week, Shadow posted up live video to his Park West performance here in Chicago last fall. We did this interview in advance of the show and want to share it with you now, along with the footage. Enjoy!—JPF

In 1996, DJ Shadow changed the face of electronic-music culture with Endtroducing. Made entirely from sequencing snippets lifted from other records, the album inspired a whole new generation of music makers and DJs working in downtempo, hip-hop and turntablism. Since then, Shadow, 38-year-old Josh Davis, has remained one of abstract hip-hop’s more thoughtful minds and one of the world’s most talented DJs, even if subsequent releases haven’t lived up to the hype of his debut. With an as-of-yet unnamed record due out early this year and a International tour under way, the Davis, California, native took time out from sound checking at a gig in New Mexico to speak to us on the phone about his new LP and how technology has (and has not) changed deejaying.

You refer to your new album as a return to form. Listening to the first two singles, I have to agree.
That has to do with two things. One is that for the first time since The Private Press I allowed myself the immersive work environment that my music needs. Having recently gone through six months of that, I realize that it’s essential that I find that. On [The Outsider] I couldn’t achieve it because I had two newborns. I don’t regret my work habits on the last record, but I think I was ready to do another heavy, deep album. The other component of why I feel this new record is a return to form is because there are no collaborations. It’s 100 percent me. Those two factors have led me to making music that is my preferred mode and the mode that generates the best work from me.

Were you digging heavily for psych records on this new one?
My greatest period for wide-eyed growth in that department was actually around the mid to late ’90s. I’m not the type of person that’s like “been there, done that.” Once I love a type of music, it’s with me permanently, whether it’s Miami bass or hyphy or funk or whatever.

That said, is your present sound still influenced by what you’re digging up? 
Very much so. If anything, I would say one thing that I was digesting a lot of, by nature of the fact that I was working in a one-bedroom cottage in the rural outback of California, was a lot of rural folk and country. That’s an influence that I wouldn’t have normally been receptive to ten years ago.

Live footage reel of DJ Shadow live at the Park West, Chicago:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

DJ Mix | Square Frames

DJ Mix | Square Frames "Mix Tape Vol 1"

It's not often enough that we get to show homegrown Chicago love, but this is the perfect opportunity. Square Frames—a.k.a. Mr. Automatic and Onefiftyone—is a Windy City production duo dedicated to vintage dance sounds. They're both close associates of Dialogue Inc and we mightily respect what they're doing as a duo and with Automatic's new label D2M (Dead to Me). 

Gearheads of the highest order—which we at Dialogue Inc are not—Square Frames describes themselves best:

Square Frames was born out of a love for traditional music production and sound recording. Stocking up on Joe Meek Compressors, Neumann Microphones, analog synthesizers, and a host of outboard gear, they built a small studio in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village with the intent of the producing tracks that sound like the dusty vinyl they have been digging out of record crates from New York to Detroit for years.

To get the buzz booming for a string of upcoming releases and remixes, the pair has just dropped their debut joint mix tape, the first in a series it seems. Again, we'll let the boys break it down:

Mix Tape Vol. 1 is an old school late night radio mix inspired journey through the our favorite tracks, current playlist, unreleased re-edits, new material, and remixes of the band. This mix precedes our first official single release that features remixes by Echonine, Mr. Automatic, Circa Tapes (Adam Killing of Kill Memory Crash), and more. This mixtape is a glimpse into what Square Frames has in store for the future.

And so, without further ado, the mix:

Square frames- mix tape vol. 1 by Square Frames

Here's a big remix for local indie dance trio Hey Champ that they did (andyou can also download):

Hey Champ - Cold Dust Girl (Square Frames Remix) by Square Frames

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Red Bull Music Academy

Red Bull Music Academy : Tokyo

October - November 2011

We hope all of you out there reading Dialogue Inc on the interwebs like wings. For 2011, we've entered into a strategic partnership with Red Bull, the giver of wings, to help them organize various events and workshops, mainly in the city of Chicago, but here and there, on a broader scale. Our first order of duty is with the Red Bull Music Academy. If you're not familiar with the Academy, it's a yearly summit held in a different worldly locale—past Academies have taken place in London, Toronto and Sao Paulo—that gathers like-minded musicians, producers and DJs for artist interviews, production workshops, DJ sessions, radio broadcasts and a healthy amount of letting loose (once the work is done, of course). 

Basically, it's an invaluable opportunity for music types on the come-up to mingle with others just like them, all the while spending face-to-face time with artists who have cracked through and established themselves. It's a meeting of the minds if you will. Where does Dialogue Inc fit in to all this? Thanks to our work with DJs and artists here in Chicago, but also around the world, RBMA has tapped us to help with their application drive; to get all you slacker ass (but also talented) creatives out there to capitalize on a genuine career starter and a ridiculous good time.

Here's a hilarious example of what you can witness at the Academy:

And that's just Kenny Dixon. Past lecturers also include ?uestlove, Arthur Baker, Bob Moog, Carl Craig, Danny Krivit, Henrik Schwarz, James Holden, Kode9, M.I.A., Norman Jay, Peter Hook, Roots Manuva, Sly and Robbie, Tony Allen and Kompakt's Wolfgang Voigt. Hows that for an A-Z of our industry?

The application is a telling adventure in and of itself. It really challenges to dig deep to define who you are as an artist, whether it be as a DJ, producer or media person. And, as a bonus for taking the time, we keep the dialogue open, even if you don't make it into the academy. When Red Bull does events in your town, you'll be the first to know and the first to be tapped for getting involved. When all is said and done, if you make the commitment, we do to. Win Win everybody!

Here's a bit more about the process:

How To Apply For The Red Bull Music Academy from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

And of course, the application: RBMA | Tokyo 2011 Application

Keep an eye out on this space for info on RBMA parties, radio shows and more in the months to come.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yeasayer | I Remember: Valentine's Day Edition

photo by: Jen Maler, courtesy of:

Valentine's Day, the forever polarizing Hallmark holiday, doesn't have to be a mess of dinner reservations and stress over the ups and downs of relationships. We're focusing on the little things today. An inbox with invitations to join promo services from BPitch Control, Get Physical and Honest Jon's was enough to know that the world cares. Then we stumbled across a free remix EP download and video from Yeasayer, one of our ongoing favorite indie acts. We may not have a hot date tonight, but we're still feeling the love.

One of the more romantic songs on their 2010 record Odd Blood, "I Remember" is given two workouts that, while not exactly twisting it for the dance floor, add a bit more of a beat-driven backbone to freshen up the top-notch album cut. Internet-dwelling psychtronic duo Painted Palms churn out a very Balearic rerub (follow the link to download the pair's latest EP from BandCamp), all chugging beats, spacey synths and twinkling guitars. The flip comes from Villa, a new discovery that's actually Fredo and Thang, two artists we've written about in the past, joined by Seba (hit the link to head over to their SoundCloud page). The Belgian space disco trio extend Yeasayer to a hypnotic and slow-burning eight-minute workout, appealing to the stoner in all of us.

Best of all, the whole thing's free. Download here: Yeasayer | Valentines

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Allure | Super Bowl Highlights

The Allure | Super Bowl Edition

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Since the web has spent the last 48 hours completely exhausting every talking point possible about the 2011 Super Bowl commercial offerings, I'll keep my commentary brief. I applaud Groupon for taking a cheeky risk even though it did more harm than good. I also have to give it up to Mini for making me laugh the hardest. "Cram it in the boot"? There's no way the boardroom that approved that didn't realize the sexual innuendo at play. Especially when they whipped out that six-foot sub. Like every year, I could have lived entirely without Pepsi and Doritos' contributions. One day that company is going to rule the world and force us all to eat bean and cheese burritos stuffed with Fritos. I hope I'm dead by then.

Anyway, on to the positive side of things. Car companies dominated, that's to be expected, and they did a damn good job. My old faithful Stella made a proper appearance as well. All in all, here are my faves:

5) Hyundai "Hypnotize" 

This one's got legs. And the Dude.

4) Audi "Release the Hounds"

Hats off to the imagination on this one. "Escape the confines of old luxury. Luxury has progressed." Well put indeed.

3) Stella Artois "Crying Jean"

Stella's ads always look the best. Aesthetic win of the Super Bowl.

2) Volkswagen "The Force"

The wink from dad seals the deal. Not even the hardest of hearts resisted an "aww" at that one.

1) Motorola "Empower the People"

I love the ballsiness with which Motorola takes on Apple. Challenging one of the most iconic ads of all time and succeeding in standing on their own is impressive. By no means does this spot trump Apple's "1984," but the dialogue it creates is one of the things that I love about advertising. And the emotional connection it illustrates is undeniable. Everybody wants to be an individual.

Full list of Super Bowl 2011 commercials