Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shuffle | Kompakt Total 12

Shuffle | New Music from our Inbox

Michael Mayer "That's What I Told Sanchez" 
With its boardwalk carnival of an intro, this freebie from Kompakt frontman Michael Mayer marks the 12th edition of the prominent techno label's ongoing showcase series. "That's What I Told Sanchez" is a shoo-in for the lead-off track, beginning atmospherically before morphing into a gypsy hypno-freakout from outerspace. Actually the third track on a comp that boasts contributions from all the labe's founding fathers, Mayer's contricution throws chattering percussion, a Middle Eastern-voiced caterwaul, bursts of steam, lazer fire and robotic bird mating calls into the mix. 

Other things to look forward to: the debut of new material from Superpitcher, a remix of GusGus from Visionquest signees Tale of Us, a cut lifted from Gui Boratto's stunning III, and Wolfgang Voigt is featured twice, once in his solo guis and the other, a techno-shoegaze hybrid, recorded as Mohn with Jorge Burger.

Needless to say, it's all classically Kompakt and well worth repeat spins.

Michael Mayer- That's What I Told Sanchez by Kompakt

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shuffle | Chicago Edition

Shuffle | New Music From Our Inbox

***Chicago Edition***

DeVotchKa "The Clockwise Witness" (Vourteque remix) + Clockwork Dolls "Glory" (Vourteque's 1st Movement remix)
I cannot lie. My interactions with Chicago's steampunk scene have all been driven much more by my curiosity about its fashion, spectacle and people than by its music. And the reason I'm even hip to the Chicago steampunk scene in the first place is because one of its principle members, the Lord Baron  JCR Vourteque IV, has been a longtime DJ associate of mine. Well, with these two remixes—both by the Lord Baron—my fascination officially extends to the music as well. 

Here, DeVotchKa's "The Clockwise Witness" comes off like a indie-techno burner that's been bewitched by a gypsy woman—a hard 4/4 thump propels accordions, wordless vocal wails, strings and a clavichord. If Trentemøller were Baltic and not Scandinavian, his output might sound like this.

On Vourteque's reinterpreting of the Clockwork Dolls, marching snares, a folksy falsetto and distorted guitar ratchet up the energy level, morphing into what could be dubstep gone steampunk. The drums stomp until, whoosh, a dramatic breakdown cuts the track in half amid the massage of a string section that ushers in a more relaxed coda. 

It may be a challenge to figure out where to play these tracks out, but if the right Victorian-era wine-sipping soiree comes your way, you know what to do.

Download: DeVotchka "The Clockwise Witness"  (Vourteque remix) | 320 mp3

Download: The Clockwork Dolls "Glory" (Vourteque's 1st Movement remix) | 320 mp3

Switching gears entirely, we focus in on the latest exploits of Chicago disco romantic Kid Color. He's had a busy August, mixing the latest edition of his disco-indie-dance series Palette, and releasing the  second volume in his disco heater re-edit series.

The mix features multiple Color edits along with discoid tracks from fellow Chicagoan Tim Zawada and smoothed out remixes of Caribou and Cut Copy before easing out with some funky house from 2020 Soundsystem.

His second volume of edits tackles an even more diverse collection of artists, with vintage disco funk from Geraldine Hunt at one end to hypnotic disco rock from the Talking Heads at the other. And, if you're feeling his B. B. and Q. Band and Prince rerubs from his Palette mix, you can snag the full edits here.

Download: Kid Color Palette 5 DJ-mix | 320 mp3

Palette Five: A Kid Color Mix by Kid Color

Download: Kid Color Edits Volume 2 | 320 mp3s

Kid Color: The Edits - Volume Two by Kid Color

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview | DJ Harvey

Old Man and the Scene

To veteran DJ Harvey, every day is back in the day.

Interview by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 06.21.11

DJ Harvey has never lost his punk spirit. Originally from England, he scored an early hit as the 13-year-old drummer in the Cambridge band Ersatz before discovering hip-hop and migrating to the DJ world in the early ’80s. Since then, his influential DJ sets have introduced the U.K. to breaks, disco and early house, and propelled him to a decades-long career that has included a stint as a resident at Ministry of Sound. Now in his fifties, Harvey is one of dance music’s elder statesmen. His latest disco-rock studio project, as Locussolus, has just dropped, so we caught up with the free spirit in New York by phone to talk about the new record and his storied history.

You’re well known for in-the-moment lifestyle

I’m very lucky like that. I get to play records and be a traveling minstrel, as it were. Then I get to soak up all these lovely sights and smells and foods and people. I’m really…blessed is maybe the word.

I think it may be. Did you ever think playing the drums in punk bands would lead you here?
It doesn’t matter where you go in the world; you’re always there when you get there. Going to Hawaii isn’t going to save your ass. You actually have to deal with your head first, then you can enjoy all these beautiful places. Being hungover in London is the same as being hungover in Hawaii. I do have this fantastic lifestyle and I can’t complain, but ground zero is your brain. If you can’t think straight, it doesn’t matter where you are.

Having been in this career this long, have you ever thought you’d need to switch gears professionally?
I don’t really know how to do anything else. I’ve always been a musician or an artist. The only “real” jobs I’ve had have been jobs where you don’t have to have a skill, like a motorcycle courier or working in a plastics factory. That kind of work allows you to think and to dream and to plan. Work that takes up too much of your headspace doesn’t allow you to dream and fantasize. My DJ career as such has slowly gone from strength to strength. I’m probably in a better position now—25 years later—than I ever have been. It’s not like there was ever a backlash or a downturn or a doubting point.

You’ve had many milestones along the way. Are there any favorites?

Every little time zone has its golden moments. I’m not a big exponent of the “not like it used to be” kind of thing. To me, right now is back in the day. In 20 years’ time, we’ll look back and this is back in the day. I don’t really hark back and say this particular moment was as good as it’s going to get because I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Things change shape and morph. There are the ebbs and flows of fashion or whatever, but in general I look to the future. I have had some wonderful times through punk and hip-hop and house and the various youth culture moments I’ve been around for to enjoy. I could say there have been golden moments but none have been defining moments in my life and it’s downhill from here on out.

When you think of Ministry of Sound, you’re not the first person who comes to mind. What was it like for you there in those early days?

It was a fantastic place and it probably still is the best place in Europe. Especially in the first year it was a very special place. It was a juice bar, so it wasn’t all about making money on the bar. I was honored to be one of the first U.K. DJs to play there. And I went on to have a residency on Friday and Saturday night. I would do the 6 till 10 in the morning spot—the graveyard shift as they call it—and it was fantastic. Friday nights was more an English, tech-based kind of night, and Saturdays was more of a U.S., Jersey kind of sound—a tribute to Tony Humphries and the Zanzibar sound that was coming out of New York at that time. I was lucky to fit right in there. It’s a big toy to play with; it’s like driving the Titanic. To be captain of that ship was pretty amazing.

But slowly, it was hijacked by the people who put money into the club. At the same time, we used to really complain. The Ministry was known as the Misery; not the Ministry of Sound, it was the Misery of Pounds. That was in what I used to call the corridor years. We used to sit up in this corridor between the two rooms and you could hear both rooms pounding away. It wasn’t all disco glory, even though, back then we were saying, well, it isn’t like it used to be. And I’d say, well, no, this is back in the day. When this is gone we’ll look back and laugh at these times and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now, 20 years later.

Bringing things up to present, tell us about Locussolus.

My project prior to this had been Map of Africa, which was really an exercise in songwriting. It was not necessarily designed for nightclubs. It was more of a bar, boutique, bedroom type of album, and I wanted to get back to the dance floor. Having only done re-edits and remixes for many years, it was a chance to do that. It didn’t have to be analog. I was quite prepared to use the modern technology with computers and plug-ins and synths and stuff like that. We’d start with a kick drum and go from there, and if it made us giggle, it made the cut. That’s basically it. Now I’m just waiting on how it’s received by the general public rather than journalists or DJs who want me to send them new music. The proof will be in whether the general public will show interest and lay their dollar down. At that point I’ll decide whether to put a live unit together and maybe take it on the road for some of the festivals next year or to make the next album or whether to just let that be a thing and start with something fresh.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mixtape Monday | Party Supplies

Party Supplies
Latest Fool's Gold signing gives August a bang.

He's a Brooklynite with a keen hand at the MPC. No he's not the second coming of Pete Rock. Rather, Party Supplies has a thing for rock music and he wants it to work on a dance floor. We like this. It works. Arcade Fire, Fitz and the Tantrums, Taylor Swift?! You'll believe it when you hear it. Which you can do thanks to this new mixtape he dropped for his new label, A-Trak's Fool's Gold. It's good, trust us. 

P.S. No this isn't the most uncreative new blog series we've come up with. "Mixtape Mondays," how many of those are there floating around on the interwebs? Don't answer. It's simply Monday, and we've got a mixtape for you. Let's leave it at that.

—Joshua P. Ferguson


1. Arcade Fire – We Used To Wait (Party Supplies Remix)
2. Brother – Darling Buds Of May (Party Supplies Remix)
3. Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – Home (Party Supplies Remix)
4. Glory Of Love
5. Fitz and The Tantrums – Money Grabber (Party Supplies Remix)
6. Kanye West – Hell Of A Life (Party Supplies Live MPC Edit)
7. Taylor Swift – Love Story (Party Supplies Remix)
8. Momma Don’t Go
9. The Weeknd – House Of Balloons (Party Supplies Remix)
10. In My Time Of Dying

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Article | James Blake | Upset the Set Up

Upset the Set Up

James Blake takes dubstep into singer/songwriter territory

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 07.13.11

“I get bored with one thing,” says London bass-music maverick James Blake. The only child of a musical family, a graduate of the prestigious arts college Goldsmiths and a club kid since his early teens, Blake is an electronic musician operating on his own level. “My best work comes out when I’m fiddling around in the dark—in a production sense—when I’m working in a musical area that I’m not familiar with.”

Blake got his start making dubstep: a bass-heavy U.K. derivative of drum ’n’ bass, grime and 2-step. But even his early releases, which started appearing in 2009, hinted that he was poised to take the music into uncharted territory. Then he covered Feist’s “Limit to Your Love” and brought dubstep into singer/songwriter territory by combining prominent piano, heartfelt vocals, dubby echoes and bass so big it’ll make your eardrums rattle, and the critical accolades came streaming in.

Earlier this year, he followed up on that formula with an album’s worth of techy clicks, rumbling low end, bluesy crooning and his virtuosic piano playing, and he did so on Columbia Records, of all places. That extra exposure has had the 22-year-old touring steadily. He sold out Lincoln Hall in May, he played to hundreds at the Pitchfork Festival’s opening day last month and he’ll be back again this fall. Given the changes in his sound and the success that followed, Blake still considers the progression a natural one.

“I enjoy the sense of discovery,” he says on the phone from Leeds. “Because of that, I had this string of tunes that sounded quite different but had a thread running through them, which was that my voice was on them.” The music on Blake’s self-titled debut is steeped as much in vintage black American music as it is the club sounds that he grew up with. His knack for manipulating his own vocals and then layering them on top of one another recalls the call and response of vintage 

R 'n' B.

Continue reading

Continuing to keep us guessing, here's a very different James Blake from that of his LP. Below are snippets of his latest 12" for the Hemlock label, minimal, vocal-less and delicious:

HEK011 AA James Blake - Pan by Hemlockrecordings

  HEK011A James Blake - Order by Hemlockrecordings

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Article | Kate Simko | More the merrier

More the Merrier

Kate Simko makes minimal techno, but that's not all.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 06.01.11

Like so many electronic producers before her, Chicago’s Kate Simko has found herself pigeonholed. With a string of early productions—for the respectable Traum, Ghostly International and Spectral Sound labels—that tend toward minimal techno, she can’t seem to shake the genre tag.

“I don’t mind. I have nothing against minimal music,” she tells me when we meet up at Wormhole Coffee here in Chicago to discuss Lights Out, her new record for Hello?Repeat. “But this album is a mixture of minimal techno, house, ambient music and maybe a couple of almost tech-house tracks. I was trying to blur the genre boundaries in a way, and I think I did.”

She’s right. On Lights Out, her debut artist album, she leads with a familiar and stripped-down thump on the deeply delightful “Beneath.” But then the sounds on display expand to include punchy techno with “Mira Vos” and “Bikini Atoll,” ethereal soundscapes like “Machine’s Mantra,” and even her Windy City heritage with lead single “Mind On You,” a Chicago house dead ringer. 

“It’s natural to put people into a box,” Simko says. “If people want to call it minimal, okay. It’s not, but whatever.” Chalk it up to being the way of the industry, and part of the travails of an artist exploring and finding her voice. For Simko, that search started while studying classical piano in college. “I loved playing the piano, but I didn’t feel passionate about just doing classical music,” she says. 

With a grandmother in her 90s who still plays the organ in church and a cousin who studied jazz at Juilliard, Simko’s family has music in its veins. Slender, smiling and auburn-haired, the 32-year-old fell in love with dance music early on. Having grown up in the Midwest’s rich rave scene, she was instantly drawn to the electronic worlds of labels like Warp and Ninja Tune that she discovered while at the University of Miami in Florida.

Here's a link to a recent mix she did for Louche Music:


Brandt, Chevallier - Just - Splendid Lo-Fi.
Chase - Loop 1 - Kote.
Mri, Denite - Black Hat - Resopal Schallware.
Freaks - The Creeps - Classic.
SeHou - To Who Love - Be As One.
Agaric - Who Made Up The Rules - Ovum.
Kiki and Lenz - Morning Maniacs (KS edit) - BPitch Control.
Mobius Strum - What Can I Do - InfraDigrecords.
DJ Buck - Make It Hot - Siesta.
Guy Gerber - Hate Love (Kate Simko remix) - Supplement Facts.
Ekkohaus - Cry Baby (Philip Stone edit) - Morris Audio.
Jesuon - Moodycaz - Exprezoo.
Dennis Ferrer - The Red Room (TMB and Jerome Sydenham remix) - Objektivity.
The Martinez Brothers - Issshhh (Beats) - Objektivity.
Mood II Swing - Do It Your Way - ITH (Defected).
Omega Man - Homebass (Tolfrey's Jacked Out Edit).
Kate Simko - Flight Into BA - Hello? Repeat
Nico Lahs - Clean Track - Brise.
Andres - Body and Soul (KS edit) - Mahogoni.