Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lollapalooza | Remix Throwdown Finals LIVE

 Lollapalloza Remix Throwdown Finals LIVE

Double Door | 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave | Chicago

Saturday | 07.30.11 | 9pm

Lollapalooza, the Chicago music festival to end all summer music festivals, is upon us once again. This year, amidst interviews with Girl Talk and Deadmau5 (!), Dialogue Inc is also stoked to announce our involvement in the Lolla remix Contest, an online event that saw just shy of 300 producers and DJs from around the globe submit original productions with the hope of being chosen to take up a coveted opening slot at the Festival, which goes down August 5–7. 

As a judge for this year's contest, I, along with my esteemed colleagues—fellow blogger Veronica Murtagh, electro darlings Moneypenny, talent agent extraordinaire and event coordinator Dani Deahl—whiddled that 300 down to 50 or so, each of whom tried their hands at remixing one of three other acts playing this year: Glitch Mob and Chicago talents Midnight Conspiracy and Lady D.

And then there were four. Stretching from coast to coast and featuring two hometown (Chicago baby!) producers, we have our finalists.

This weekend, Saturday at Double Door in fact, all four face off live with us judges crowning one act to grace Grant Park with his, her or their presence.

If you're local, stick around after the contest for live sets from last year's winner, the antipodean Craig Williams, hometown electro queens Moneypenny and Walter Meego, performing for the first time in Chicago in some time. It'll be a night for the books!

One last thing, AND THIS IS BIG!

RSVP for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Lollapalooza (which is sold out by the way):

And, without further ado, our talent.

2DeadBeatz: A pair of blog-adored electro happy beat heads whose junkyard-dog barking and aggressive remix is exactly that. And without being obnoxious. This is future rave music.


HopeOperating from the North suburbs, Hope is a mystery (or simply has an un-Googleable name). Regardless, his remix displays aspects of post-dubstep and... well, post-everything really: Bubbly, skanking, potent and still hard enough to jolt a U.S. dancefloor into action.


Mike Weez: Another Windy City hopeful, MIk Weez has a penchant for playful yet dramatic electro. If you somehow combined a buzzsaw, a slide whistle and a kazoo into an instrument, Weez would be a virtuoso at it. 


Narcisse: Heading East, we find Brooklyn duo Narcisse, one of the only acts out of the 50 some to pick a tempo below 120bpm (that's not 70). I'd like to personally thank them for this. Their remix manages to encapsulate a good bit of electro mayhem without having to go to 11. Plus those DFA drums make us melt.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Article | Yelle | Queen of the Jungle

Queen of the Jungle

Yelle returns to the spotlight as a more mature

 tour de force.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 05.04.11

Ever since French chanteuse Julie Budet partnered with Jean-François Perrier as Yelle and created the sexed-up viral hit “Je Veux Te Voir” (“I Want to See You”), their lives have been a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of throbbing electro beats, costume changes and tour dates. The song, released in 2005, broke the top ten on France’s pop charts; garnered them an album deal, for 2007’s Pop Up; hooked them up with a third member, keyboardist Tanguy Destable; and sent them out into the world for three years of non-stop performance.

With the release of Yelle’s sophomore effort, Safari Disco Club, in March, the trio is back on the road, first as Katy Perry’s opening act in the U.K. and then headlining a tour in the U.S. before heading back to Europe. This is the life Budet and the boys crave, even when it brings them to unknown lands, like New Mexico.

“I’m a big fan of the TV show Breaking Bad, so it’s really cool to be in Albuquerque,” Budet says over Skype from backstage, where she’s taking a break before sound check. “I really like to sing and to meet people every night. To be on tour, I think it’s the thing I prefer to do, even if I’m far from home.”

The constant traveling has had a major influence on Yelle. “Being onstage every night, it’s like a drug,” the 28-year-old says. “When you’re back at home, you are happy because you can see your family and your friends, but it’s hard because you don’t feel the energy you had on tour.” Waifishly thin—but in that Kate Moss, supermodel sort of way—and with a heavy accent that turns words like home and happy into ’ome and ’appy, Budet explains that it was the band’s experiences in new places that led to the idea of a disco safari.

Though Yelle has lost none of its playfulness or electro bounce on Safari Disco Club, Budet has replaced much of her rapping with more lyrical singing, and visually she’s ditched her Technicolor street garb for highly stylized costuming. The album’s press photos feature the frontwoman in an array of animal costumes provided by Belgian designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard. Her bandmates are outfitted in safari gear borrowed from a French film called Subway, one of Perrier’s favorites.

Clearly Yelle has evolved as a group. “I don’t really like the word maturity, but it’s like… It’s sad, you know, because we grow up,” she says. “When we did Pop Up, we were teenagers, enjoying everything every moment. We still want to have fun and enjoy life, but it’s a little bit different because we are older and have a different view on life.” Charming and eager to chat—even if it takes some work to get her point across in English—Budet prefers deeper as the word to describe the new LP.

Continue reading

Head here to download a track from Yelle's Safari Disco Club: Dialogue Inc | Shuffle

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review | Friendly Fires | Pala

Friendly Fires

in•die \in-dê\adj + pop \päp\n

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 05.25.11

“Up in the sky Honolulu bound / steel guitars and the mele sound,” sings Friendly Fires’ Ed Macfarlane on “Hawaiian Air.” The tale of an island journey, the song exudes 80-degree weather, swaying palm trees and a smiling hula girl greeting you with a lei when you land. The runaway hit from the Fires’ sophomore LP, it’s destined to be a highlight of this summer’s festival season and it embodies the sun kissed warmth that dominates the record.

Brighter and poppier than the band’s 2008 self-titled debut, Pala borrows its name from the utopian atoll in Aldous Huxley’s The Island. And like its populace, this album ditches the uncertainty and heartbreak of the past to seize the moment and live a more carefree existence. Songs like “Live Those Days Tonight” and “Show Me Lights,” with the line “I’ve got to make the most of this before they cut the lights,” are a testament to this.

But that’s the only glaring departure for Friendly Fires. This trio from St. Alban, just north of London, makes no secret of its fondness for electronic sounds and the synth-heavy rave element remains intact here. Disco-sampling and with a punchy French house feel, “Hurting” would be right at home on indie dance label Kitsuné. It’d also be right at home in the ‘80s; the band openly admits they looked to the decade for its increased pop flair. 

On “True Love” the Rapture-like dance punk that was so prominent on Friendly Fires resurfaces and the result sounds like a jam session with the Talking Heads, George Clinton and Earth, Wind and Fire. Songs like “Blue Cassette” and “Pull Me Back to Earth” refresh the tropical drum propulsiveness of past hits like “Jump in the Pool” and “Paris,” and do so without seeming like retreads. These boys have cornered the market on Balearic indie dance, and with Pala they’ve confirmed that summer’s here in the best possible way.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Article | Chrissy Murderbot | Low End Theory

Low End Theory

Chrissy Murderbot takes juke to an International audience.

Interview by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 05.11.11

TOC | Chrissy Murderbot

Except for a few noteworthy car and cell-phone branding campaigns and the loveable Kid Sister, juke has remained a predominantly Chicago phenomenon. Lifelong lover of booty beats, Windy City resident Chris Shively is setting out to change that—and then some. Not satisfied with merely bringing the hyperactive footwork beats to new audiences, he’s evolving the sound through his productions as Chrissy Murderbot, most notably on Women’s Studies, his new LP. We reached the 28-year-old on tour in the U.K. to find out more about where he’s taking juke and what his European audience thinks.

Have you focused exclusively on juke and footwork on this tour?

Not at all. I’m trying to make it clear that there are the true-school footwork artists—I’m outside that scene, even though I’m tied to it—and I’m more about playing all sorts of stuff. I’ve been playing juke and footwork, but also booty bass and post-dubstep and even a lot of house. I’ve been all over the place.

In ’09, I described you by saying, “in Chrissy Murderbot’s world, all music is created equal.” I was going to go back on that, but it sounds like I shouldn’t.

If you tie yourself to just one genre, even if you’re amazing at it, there is going to come a time when people’s tastes change. It’s going to make it harder for you to make a living. I’ve really made an effort to make people associate my name with being able to expect any kind of music.

Yet in press for your new album you call it a “juke and booty music game changer.”

I think it is. I think it’s going to open up a dialogue in terms of, “Who says you can’t mix juke and grime and booty bass and dancehall?” That’s really what I’m trying to do, is mix things up a little bit.

Your presence in Chicago has become very intertwined with the South Side juke scene. What attracts you to it?

Incorporating juke and footwork into my sets on European tours, I saw that it was helping building a response and I found a synergy with people there. I started wanting to take Chicago artists out into Europe and promote things. That’s what we’re doing now. This is the first time we’ve had footwork dancers come with us overseas and perform.

For the uninitiated, can you describe some of the nuances of juke versus footwork?

There’s a lot of overlap. It’s like asking what the difference between rap and hip-hop is. Generally, juke is more four on the floor. It’s the stuff you play at parties. Footwork is the stuff with the more sideways rhythms that are a little more varied. You’d play it at a battle and instead of having a dance floor, you’d have two dancers or four dancers squaring off in a circle.

Continue reading

Chrissy represents for the scene this weekend at Pithfork music fest. He plays the Blue Stage at 1pm on Saturday.

Give Chrissy Murderbot's Women's Studies a listen in full:

 Chrissy Murderbot - "Women's Studies" (ZIQ294) by chrissymurderbot

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review | Robag Wruhme | Thora Vukk

Robag Wruhme

tech•no \tek-nõ\ n + chill•out \ chil-aût \ vb

Trying to precisely delineate Robag Wruhme’s sound is a challenge for even the most astute hairsplitters. Is it techno? Is it chillout? Is it minimal? Is it micro? The electronic-music elite could no doubt spend as much time debating these qualities as this German producer spent toiling over his latest work. Which is to say seven years, the gap between his 2004 debut, Wuzzelbud KK, and Thora Vukk.

It’s not that he’s been idle all this time. He’s released a steady string of singles for every minimal techno label worth its weight in understated bleeps. And as one half of the Wighnomy Brothers (“Why-no-me”), with Monkey Maffia (a partnership now sadly defunct), he racked up consistent critical accolades for moving dance floors with as few moving pieces as possible.

The most impressive advance in his productions comes from the sheer weight of found sounds he’s added to his library, and then constructed into finely tuned and cinematic electronic listening music. The title track begins with the sound of Jetsons-like hover cars cruising across the stereo spectrum. As it builds, Wruhme threads heartfelt soul through a rhythm of sharp thwacks, tinny clicks and lightly brushed snare hits. The source material for these beats—here and elsewhere on the record—comes from creaking floors and slamming doors, plastic bags, schoolchildren and even a cell phone left to vibrate on a kitchen counter.

On “Pnom Gobal,” a half-time skank from a jazz kit shares the track with tropical marimba, Jackie Gleason lounge strings and humming that could only be described as, well, pleasant. This is not Detroit techno. The music on Thora Vukk was born in that same dark cyber world, but when Wruhme came along he brought the sun with him. It’s this beauty-and-the-beast quality that propels this release past his 2004 effort and puts it in the running for one of the stand-out minimalist albums of the year.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Listen to the full release at Pampa Records' Soundcloud page, and check out this DJ mix Wruhme did just last month:

 Robag Wruhme - ClashMusic Dj Mix Podcast - June 2011 by R_co

Monday, July 11, 2011

Article | Trentemøller | Into the Wild + mp3

Into the Wild

Trentemøller charts new territory with his surf-rock techno.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 04.20.11

When you hear “Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!” for the first time, you might mistake it for a song straight out of an Annette Funicello beach party—if the plot involved a haunting. Hands clap in double time, a theremin belts out its eerie howl, and distorted guitars rage in that telltale surf-rock tremolo. It inspires more hand jiving than it does hands in the air—not exactly the deep techno that’s carried Anders Trentemøller to fame.

While the 38-year-old Danish producer has come a long way from the dance music that made his name, he hasn’t shed those four-on-the-floor trappings entirely. Before releasing “Silver Surfer” as a single late last year, Trentemøller remixed it as a frantic piece of funky techno with keyboard caterwauls, syncopated drums and electronic bass picking up the tremolo pacing where the surf guitar left off.

This is the natural progression for a lifelong musician who found dance music at 24, only to want to play instruments again a few years later. In 2010, he released his sophomore LP, Into the Great Wide Yonder—which meets at the crossroads of techno, chill out and rock—and now, after eight years as a solo artist (producer and DJ), he’s on the road with a seven-piece band. His tour has taken him to South by Southwest and Coachella before coming to Chicago this past April.

“Sometimes it can be hard for people to put my music in a box,” Trentemøller says on his cell from Miami, where he’s unloading the tour van for Ultra fest. “In the beginning we were always placed at techno festivals, like Ultra, but in the last two years we’ve played a lot more rock festivals. Our music actually fits much better there.” This evolution has left a few members of his fan base scratching their heads.

“It was something I was struggling with in the beginning,” he explains. “Everybody wanted pumping techno when I was first coming out with the band, and then suddenly we would play this cinematic, melancholic and noisy guitar stuff. People were like, ‘What’s happening here? I thought we were at a rave.’ But now that has changed.”

Deejaying is a recent development in his career: “I’ve only been doing it for the past three years,” he says. “It’s much more something I do as a hobby.” With steady five o’clock shadow and an asymmetrical emo haircut, his style clearly says rocker, not DJ.

Continue reading

To download a song from Trentemøller's latest project Darkness Falls, jump here:

Shuffle | Darkness Falls