Thursday, April 28, 2011

Red Bull | Thre3Style Chicago

Red Bull Thre3Style Chicago

8-man DJ competition + DJ Craze


The Mid. | 306 N Halsted St

9pm | 04.28.11 - TONIGHT!

Red Bull, the energy drink–fueled arbiter of DJ cool, has put together its Thre3Style competition to pit the best party rockers in the land against one another to see who can lay down the best club set. That means, hands in the air, dancing on the backs of booths, spraying champagne and above all footwork-inducing DJ sets. The rules: You have ten minutes and have to cover three genres.

As Red Bull puts it: "Each DJ is tasked with spinning three completely different musical genres, all while keeping the party hot and the dance floor packed."

Seems simple right? Well, the competition has already gotten heated in some of the country's biggest markets. And now it's coming to Chicago. Tonight. Only tomorrow will tell how easy the task really is.

Let's introduce the contestants:

As likely to cause a ruckus as he is to chill things out, Chicago's Big Once is a noted battle DJ, club staple and, most interestingly, one half of dope-as-hell downtempo duo Meat Number 5.

Charlie Glitch is one of the guiding lights behind Pilsen-based DJ crew Ghetto Division. He's a stalwart supporter of Chicago's homegrown dance scene—which means you can hear him rocking everything from ghetto house to Latin music. He's also been spending a lot of time schmoozing with the Trouble and Bass crew, which is especially cool.

A hip-hop purest through and through, Jay Illa has dabbled in every facet of the lifestyle: writing rhymes, tagging walls and spinning around linoleum. But it's his 10-plus years as a Chicago DJ staple that got him here.

When he's not mixing turntablism, club hits, house and remixes at one of his residencies—which include regular appearances at Sub51, Lumen and Griffin Lounge—DJ Jem is also one half of remixing duo the RadioAktives. Verstatility is a word that doesn't stray far from Jem's bio.

An alum of the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy, Marco Morales sets up shop weekly in the posh confines of Double A and then the party-hearty dance floor known as Evil Olive. He's also a co-owner of Hot Dog Records with fellow Thre3Style competitor Zebo. His skill and taste go far and wide, making him an ideal competitor.

Stylish, handsome and possessing that certain je ne sais quoi necessary to truly preside over the dance floor, the Crossfader Kings' Matt Roan is a true force on the city's club landscape. Past residencies have seen him get parties freaking at Sub51, Underground and the numerous fashion events he is so obviously a perfect fit for. But don't let his charm fool you, he's the real deal.

Rivaling Phife Dogg as the true five-foot assassin, DJ Trentino packs a lot into a tight package. He's spent as much time behind the mixing board as he has the turntables, working with MTV, VH1 and Ford Models when he's not rocking the spot at clubs like Lumen, Mansion and Bon V.

Quite possible the man wearing the most hats—or with his hands in the most crates, to spin the analogy to the DJ world—Zebo can be found spinning sweet soul at Butterfly Social Club, deep disco at Smart Bar, irie reggae at Mr. Brown's Lounge and, every Friday night, giving the club kids what they crave at Evil Olive. Then, to top it all off, he teaches kids how to DJ at Columbia College during the day. Whew.

And, with that, all that's left to say is: Let the Best Man Win.

Oh wait, that's actually not true! Your reward for cheering on the Windy City's best, is an after-party set from DMC champ DJ Craze.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Album Review | Art Department | The Drawing Board

Art Department
Crosstown Rebels

house \haus \ n + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 03.30.11

Deep house is back. Sure, it never completely went away, but in North America especially, it was forced deep into trendy lounges and sushi restaurants around 2006, as it fell out of favor with club patrons clamoring for dance styles like electro. That tide is starting to turn. Descending from the great white north, Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White are helping usher in a new phase in the dance subgenre.

As Art Department, the twosome—who have had successful solo careers stretching back to the ’80s—have given the deeper side of house new legs, infusing it with darker, techier influences (nothing groundbreaking by itself) but also emotive and sardonic, new wave–esque songwriting.

On “Living the Life,” guest vocalist and Detroit techno maverick Seth Troxler asks, “Do you come home from work satisfied, having done something meaningful with your day? / If so, good for you,” alongside a potent cowbell stomp.

The other songs on Art Department’s debut follow suit. “Tell Me Why” bubbles with an understated patter, ratcheting up the intensity over its ten-minute length while Glasgow pines for love that slipped through his fingers. “Without You,” which respected online dance resource Resident Advisor voted its top track of 2010, bellows out “I can’t make it without you,” over a drum beat that could have come straight from a New Order session.

Their music has been dubbed gothic house, which fits the duo’s morose output. But its best songs only flirt with the dark side. “Vampire Nightclub” is like an anthem for ravers who have abandoned Ecstasy’s shiny, happy high for the danger of Special K. Set closer “I C U,” which is Art Department’s true shining moment, shows us the light at the end of the K hole. Its synth warmth and tribal drumming brighten the mood as Glasgow lets us know, “I see you wanting me now.”

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Here are snippets of two of the top cuts, plus a dj mix, albeit, a dated one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Allure | Corona Light: It Only Gets Better

The Allure | Corona Light

It Only Gets Better campaign

As someone who makes listening to, playing out and evaluating remixes a part of their daily life, I've always viewed the ad world's use of the term skeptically. At the same time, given my relation to that world, I can't deny the potency of the idea. Clichéd? Possibly. Effective? Probably. And in the right execution, like the one here, it's also entertaining.

It's been a few weeks now, but I saw New York hipster dance duo the Knocks perform before Ellie Goulding here in Chicago. They killed it—read the full report here: Live Review | Ellie Goulding at Lincoln Hall—they can remix, mash and update for the dance floor with the best of them. And no style is spared from the pair's deft hands: hip-hop, soul, indie, you name it. In the Dialogue Inc world, that scores them a lot of points. Add to that their inclusion in this latest Corona ad campaign and we officially have a savvy and dynamic act on our hands.

In this spot, two warring rooftop parties are competing for airspace. A music train wreck ensues. That is, until the two DJs make an on the fly adjustment to bring the two songs together. Mash up! DJs may roll their eyes a bit, but all in all, the spot is pretty damn clever. And both are parties I wouldn't mind playing at (or partying at for that matter). And it definitely fits in with Corona's image as the laidback, 'just go with it' brand. The spot's creators, La Comunidad, scored a winner in this one. 

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Check it out: --- free music after the jump (if you're willing to let go of your e-mail addy)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review | Nicolas Jaar | Space is Only Noise

Nicolas Jaar
Circus Company

house \haus \ n + chill•out \ chil-aût \ vb

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 03.23.11

“It’s a body floating into the land. Now it’s a body that’s floating out into the water.” This obscure quote is followed by French vocal snippets, the steady trickle of water and incoherent chatter from a person struggling to speak. It’s disorienting, contradictory and it’s the perfect introduction to Space Is Only Noise, the genre-defiant debut from New York wonder Nicolas Jaar.

As a producer, Jaar is following a progression we’ve seen a lot of lately. Much like wavemakers James Blake and Darkstar have done with dubstep, he’s released a string of 12" singles that, while skirting the line, still adhere to our notion of house and techno, only to completely disarm us with his full-length.

It’s not house, it’s not techno, it’s unlike any kind of downtempo we’ve heard recently, and the gusto it displays is only part of what makes it compelling. On this stream-of-consciousness recording, songs flow one into the next like one beautiful sonic tapestry of samples, drips, echoed guitars, minimal beats and cosmic wailing. It’s so delicate you can forget it’s there if you aren’t paying enough attention. This is the record’s real charm.

With “Too Many Kids Finding Rain in the Dust,” the 21-year-old leads off with an eerie skank, slowly building to a beat only reminiscent of the typical 4/4 thump. Violins shriek as Jaar mumbles along in his unassuming tenor. Later, on “I Got A Woman,” an instantly recognizable Ray Charles hints at some distant connection to rhythm & blues before bleeding into “Problems with the Sun,” which displays as much Mad Professor as it does Madlib, crackling with another dub-hop beat and more of Jaar’s distorted warbling.

If this is what our ears are treated to once we escape our atmospheric and earthly confines, then, as the saying goes, space is the place.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Here's a recent DJ mix Jaar recently did for our favorite electronic music mag, XLR8R:

  XLR8R Podcast by Clown and Sunset

01 Bob Dylan "Love Sick" (Sony)
02 Nicolas Jaar "What My Last Girl Put Me Through"
03 Wendy Rene "After Laughter Comes Tears (Nicolas Jaar Edit)"
04 Nicolas Jaar "Materials (Nico's Bluewave Edit)"
05 The Enticers "Thief (Live Set Edit)"
06 Pharoah Sanders "Meeting John Coltrane"
07 Nicolas Jaar "Variations" (Circus Company)
08 Nicolas Jaar "Hage Chahine (feat. Will Epstein)" (Wolf+ Lamb)
09 Nicolas Jaar "Dubliners" (Clown & Sunset)
10 Nicolas Jaar "Colomb" (Circus Company)
11 Nicolas Jaar "Avalanche (Tribute to Leonard Cohen)"
12 Nicolas Jaar "Russian Dolls" (Clown & Sunset)
13 Nicolas Jaar "Encore"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ladytron (DJ set) + Mark Gertz + Heaven Malone + Mister Joshua | Chicago

Ladytron's Mira Aroyo (DJ set)

Mark Gertz + Heaven Malone + Mister Joshua


Beauty Bar | 1444 W. Chicago Ave

10pm | 04.14.11 - TONIGHT!

There's never a bad excuse for starting your weekend a night early, but when a good one comes along, well, seize it. Here's the one you were looking for tonight. Mira Aroyo, one quarter of the amazing electro-pop outfit Ladytron, the lovely Mira Aroyo, is joining us at Beauty Bar here in Chicago. As Ladytron, Aroyo and company have been making black-clad indie dance music since before that was even a catch phrase. Tonight, the synth-heavy new wave aesthetic of the band lays the perfect foundation for Aroyo and the rest of us DJs to flex some moody dance tunes for the hip crowd that frequents Beauty Bar.

Here's a Punks Jump Up remix of Ladytron's latest single for download (courtesy of RCRD_LBL):

Also taking some time in the DJ Booth:

Mark Gertz of essential Chicago electro trio Dark Wave Disco

Heaven Malone of Disappear Here and Die Tonight

Mister Joshua, faithful scribe for Dialogue Inc and the shameless promoter writing this post.

R.S.V.P. at for free entry, and come join us tonight!

Sponsored by:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Bull Music Academy | Destination Madrid

Red Bull Music Academy 2011 | Madrid, Spain

New Location announced for this year's academy

Having to call a bit of an audible given the tragedy that struck Japan in March, the Red Bull Music Academy will be held at the Matadero Madrid. A reclaimed slaughterhouse complex that the city and private arts groups are working together at, the site is now an ever-evolving space for artist collaboration and creation. In short, a perfect new home for this year's academy. 

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Here are the details straight from RBMA in Germany:

The Red Bull Music Academy – to be held from October 23 to November 25, 2011 – will lay the foundations for the music at Matadero Madrid. Through our collaboration with the City Council’s Department of the Arts, it is ensured that the Academy space will live on as a cultural hub – and that the music won’t stop in years to come. This extraordinary opportunity will also allow for a new level of set-up and design at the studios built for the Academy 2011.

Matadero Madrid aims to foster an integral approach to culture and to become a vibrant laboratory for the development of new cross-disciplinary projects in performing and visual arts, design, music, dance, architecture, urban planning, landscape design, fashion, literature, cinema, and thought.

While we are happy to announce that we have found an exceptional location for this year’s edition of the Red Bull Music Academy, we would also like to emphasize again how difficult the decision was not to hold the Academy main event in Japan.

Setting up the Academy is a year-long process of establishing links with local artists and cultural institutions, creating a dedicated local team of about 100 people, securing international lecturers, dealing with authorities regarding permissions, booking nights in conjunction with local promoters, as well as building studios and refurbishing a building as an inspirational space.

Although the kick off date is set for October, our work on the Tokyo edition started back in April 2010, and the most crucial phase for all of the above is now. When the terrible events of March 11 struck in North East Japan, we had to make a timely decision about a potential relocation, and it quickly became apparent that going forward with these plans in Tokyo right now would not be possible. Furthermore we received a lot of cancellations from people who had already applied. The very same goes for artists who were requested to lecture and perform in Tokyo. These are the people who make the event what it is, and we had to respect their current concerns.

Our involvement in and contribution to the musical landscape in Japan will not stop. To the contrary, we will build on the strong networks and close ties that have evolved throughout the process of preparing the Academy. We will continue to host workshops, gigs, RBMA Radio sessions and festival stages as we did at SónarSound Tokyo, as well as setting up international showcases for Japanese culture: in Madrid and beyond.

Here is some additional info, just in case there is still any uncertainty about the Academy or the application process:

Info and FAQs

Red Bull Music Academy Madrid 2011
Workshop 1: October 23 – November 4, 2011
Workshop 2: November 13 – November 25, 2011

Application period extended – New deadline: April 26 (date of postmark)

Will the Red Bull Music Academy 2011 be postponed? No, the dates of the actual event will remain as previously announced. It's just the application period that has been extended by three weeks.

So, by when do I need to hand in my application? All applications must be sent, i.e. postmarked April 26, 2011, or earlier. Please note that, despite the postponement, there is no need to send your application on the last day.

Will there be any changes to the selection process? No, the procedure of picking our participants, as well as the rules and regulations for applying to the Academy will remain exactly the same. The only difference is that, due to local laws, the minimum age is now 18, i.e. all applicants have to be born October 23, 1993, or earlier.

Should I still reply to the Japan-related questions (44-48) in the application form, despite the fact that the Academy is now going to happen in Madrid? Yes, the whole questionnaire needs to be filled in. We want every single applicant to face the same conditions and have the same fair chance to get in.

When will successful applicants be notified? All applicants will be notified via email by July 15, whether they were successful or not.

Any more questions regarding the application and selection process? Please don't hesitate to send an email anytime:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Holy Ghost! + Mister Joshua + Zebo | Chicago

Holy Ghost!

Mister Joshua + Zebo (disco set)


Smart Bar Chicago | 3730 N. Clark St

10pm | 04.08.11 - TONIGHT!

It's always great to be able to return to Smart Bar. My first set ever there was opening for Jazzanova and since I've shared the booth with Hot Chip, Trus'me, the Twelves, Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem and many of my closest DJ confidantes here in the Windy City.

Tonight we get to log a new entry in the book with a set opening for the latest DFA darlings, Holy Ghost! The duo has been turning heads since 2007 when they dropped "Hold On," a track that has become a staple of any respectable indie disco set (whatever that means...). Since, Nick Milhiser and Alex Frankel have gone on to release a steady stream of potent remixes and stunning original tracks like "Say My Name" and, the latest, "Do It Again." Their debut self-titled album is out this month and chock full of the analog-infused deep disco and boogie that they've spent the last few years perfecting. They've even put together a full-fledged live show which debuted in opening sets for LCD Soundsystem last year and has now landed itself on tour supporting Cut Copy.

Sometime last year I had a chance to speak with Nick. Here's that interview: Dialogue Inc | Holy Ghost

And here's some of their new music:

Opening sets tonight come from myself and Zebo, a man who you wanna call Chicago's best kept secret, except we're not doing a good job keeping the secret. The man can seamlessly jump from reggae to dubstep to house to techno to hip-hop to b-more—sometimes in one night, sometimes over the course of a week. He does, after all, deejay an average of four nights a week. The man is incredibly talented and he's pulling out an entire disco set for this evening. A real treat.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Live Review | Ellie Goulding at Lincoln Hall

Ellie Goulding + The Knocks live

at Lincoln Hall | Chicago

by Joshua P. Ferguson

originally published on the Time Out Chicago blog

Last week's show with British pop chanteuse Ellie Goulding and hipster New York electro-pop duo the Knocks was a testament to music in the Internet age. Goulding's album has been out in the U.S. for less than a month and yet a sold out crowd had already started mobbing the stage for the Knocks's opening set. The Knocks don't even have an album out yet. But in this day and age, that sort of physical product is a bit of an after thought, something done almost purely to honor a longstanding tradition.

For Goulding and the Knocks, their careers begin—and flourish—on the Internet. Both are blog sensations. That's how I discovered both, and I was not alone. Myself, the friend who joined me, and most of all, Goulding were dumbfounded by how well the audience knew her material.

In another interesting post-record label twist, the entire show was being filmed and broadcast live on Facebook thanks to the mobile phone giant T-Mobile. The latest company to join the ranks of Scion, Mountain Dew, Converse and Red Bull, T-Mobile was there to gain cool points by association and the crowd didn't seem to mind. They gave it their all in front of those cameras; anyone watching online had to be jealous at having to see songs unfold in 2D. 

Kicking off with their potent electro thump right at 7:30, the Knocks totally killed it live. If these guys don't make it back to Chicago in a headlining slot of their own—or dare I say a slot at Lollapalooza—it's a damn shame. Energetic and primed for the dance floor, the duo didn't lose sight of how a little sugary pop overtone here and there can elevate their sound for broader consumption. The audience, which was about 70% girls, bobbed, twisted and shrilled as the pair skipped through a handful of original productions and a supremely crowd-pleasing remix medley that touched on Usher and Major Lazer, just to name two. If the crowd didn't know the Knocks last night, they've surely done their due diligence by now and downloaded its catalog, which is all readily available online.

The spritely young Goulding took the stage around 8:45. She was battling with her voice and double fisting tea and apple juice and vodka cocktails. I can honestly say that in any other setting this would have been a disappointment. She couldn't pack the full punch she made clear that she wanted to, and on some choruses she had to bow out of singing altogether. What could have been a performance ender, all this did was leave more room for the crowd to fill in the blanks. These kids knew all the words. All of them. And they couldn't have been happier to show support for their newest pop idol. Her banter in between songs made the situation that much more endearing. Her voice hoarse, she thanked us all for the enthusiasm and promised a return appearance to make up for it—again, Lollapalooza anyone? 

Her songs were a joy live. She's folksier and less cheeky than Lily Allen, less angsty than La Roux's Elly Jackson and she still churns out sincere (and self written) dance pop the way only the British can. She led with "Under the Sheets," which seemed to be playing a big card too early, but the revelers only amped up with each subsequent internet-spawned hit: "Guns and Horses," "This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)," "Your Biggest Mistake." The 24-year-old covered all the highlights of Bright Lights concluding with "Starry Eyed" and everyone in the building would have been happy to sit tight and dance it out to her doing the whole set over again.

Big thanks to Ashley Osborn, an aspiring—and talented—photographer and Columbia College student here in Chicago, for supplying the photos. Post wouldn't be the same without them! Check out more of her work here:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kito + Reija Lee | DJ Mix + MP3

To call this platinum blonde duo the Australia's answer to Katy B doesn't quite do it. They don't have half of the urban oomph that England's latest Diva does. But, when Keito and Reija Lee's label—Diplo's Mad Decent—say that this pair is injecting a much needed dose of pop into an aggro—and overly male dominated—dubstep scene, they're right.

Kito has been doing her thing for a minute now, churning out tasteful dubstep, most notably on Skream's Disfigured Dubz label, something that, if you follow Dialogue Inc closely, you know we like to hear. Reija jumps in on vocals and the result is a pretty tasty little EP which came out last week. 

Here's some things for you to grab on to, so you can see for yourself how good this shiz really iz.

Kito and Reija Lee- Sweet Talk EP Minimix by maddecent

Here's a remix of "In the City" by Asa and KOAN Sound who, admittedly, we've never heard of and don't feel like googling. The track's been on repeat all day, so trust us, it's good:

Kito and Reija Lee "In the City" Asa and KOAN Sound remix | 320 mp3

And last, but not least—because she right killed it—here's a Kito mix for Mad Decent's podcast:

Kito in the mix | Mad Decent podcast


Kito and Reija Lee - Sweet Talk - [Mad Decent]
Skream feat. Sam Frank - Under The City Lights - [Tempa]
Canblaster - Triple Ring - [Nightshifters]
The Bug - Jah War feat. Flowdan (Loefah Remix) - [Ninja Tune]
S-X - Woooo Riddim - [Butterz]
Teeth - Shawty - [502 Records]
Jakes - Hair Nails Rent - [?]
Girl Unit - IRL (Bok Bok Remix) - [Night Slugs]
Kito and Reija Lee - LFO VIP - [No Release]
Pariah - The Slump - [R and S Records]
Spor - Pacifica - (Kito and Reija Lee Vocal Remix) - [Lifted]
Ramadanman - Glut - [Hemlock]
Kastle - Better Off Alone - [Seclusiasis]
Emalkay - Fabrication - [Dub Police]
Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend (Feed Me Remix) - [Konichiwa]
Kito and Reija Lee - This City (Asa and Koan Sound Remix) - [Mad Decent]
Kito and Reija Lee - This City - [Mad Decent]
Hyetal - Diamonds Islands - [Black Acre Records]
Lung - Afterlife (Kryptic Minds Remix) - [Kokeshi]
Youandewan - Zeal - [Disfigured Dubz]
Kahn - Just Like We Used To - [Punch Drunk]
Stimming - Melodica - [Green]
Sgt. Marcus Price and Carli - Var E Naaaken (Girl Unit Remix)- [Palms Out Sounds US]
Boddika - Soul What - [Swamp 81]
Peaches - Serpentine - [XL Recordings]
Kito and Reija Lee - On The Jam - [Mad Decent]
Jay Weed - Prism - [502 recordings]
MJ Cole and Wiley - From The Drop - [Prolific Recordings]
Zed Bias - Heaven Sent - [Swamp 81]
Dillon Francis - Westside - [Mad Decent]
Kito and Reija Lee - Broken Hearts (Dillon Francis Remix) - [Mad Decent]
Kito and Reija Lee - Broken Hearts - [Mad Decent]

Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Bull Music Academy | New Destination

Red Bull Music Academy 2011 Relocation

Due to the tragedy in Japan RBMA 2011 is being relocated.

New destination to be announce April 11.

For the sake of clarity, here's the news straight from the source:

We have been in close contact with our Japanese team and friends since the terrible earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, and the severe problems at Fukushima nuclear plant began. After thorough evaluation, we decided to relocate this year's edition of the Academy, which was set to take place in Japan this fall.

A new location for the Red Bull Music Academy 2011 will be announced as of Monday, April 11. As a consequence, we have decided to extend the application period: applications will now be accepted until April 26 (date of postmark).

The dates of the workshops, October 23 to November 25, will remain the same, as will the application form and jury process. All applicants will be notified by July, whether they have been accepted to join the Academy or not.

Throughout the past months of preparation for the Tokyo Academy, we have gotten to know Japan as a country immensely rich in spirit, beauty, tradition and innovative energy. We are honoured to have been introduced to so many interesting people and to have been allowed to experience some of their creative vision. We truly admire and respect their strength and courage in the face of this terrible situation.

We at the Academy also wish to show our solidarity and support for the Japanese music makers who have been part of our journey. Hence, the Red Bull Music Academy floor at SónarSound Tokyo this weekend will go ahead as planned. All profits from the festival will be donated in support to those affected by the horrific events of March 11 and their aftermaths.

We will continue to maintain strong links with the musical and creative scene in the country, and hope to bring the full Academy experience to Japan in the not too distant future.

Stay tuned for the new location announcement here at Dialogue Incorporated next week.

—Joshua P. Ferguson