Kevin McPhee (courtesy of XLR8R)
Corralling our latest commentary from around the web.
by Joshua P. Ferguson
Our insane summer continues, here's what we've been working on:
Wavefront Music Fest | Montrose Beach, Chicago
Just a couple of weeks back, Chicago experienced its first two-day beach rave with appearances from Art Department, Boys Noize, Duck Sauce, Guy Gerber, Matthew Dear, Visionquest and more. Here is the gist of wet n' wild party and links to my coverage for Time Out Chicago:
"While the outdoor mega-concert experience is something that really resonates with people, Wavefront's formula is deceivingly simple and impossible to argue with: DJs + sun + booze + beach = a hell of a good time. Said one person heading through the gates at the same time as me, 'it's a dance party on the beach, who cares who the DJs are.' Or another summation offered by a friend, 'it's like Ibiza in Chicago.'"
— Coverage of the Wavefront crowd for Time Out Chicago (pictures after the jump)
"Seeing just how far the crowd was willing to go, Ghostly International poster boy Matthew Dear pushed the envelope, dubbing out sound effects and weaving his quirky brand of Kraftwerkian techno-pop into the mix. He tossed out some challenging tunes for his prominent time slot, but it served as a great indication of the festival organizers' willingness to introduce revelers to a side of dance music that goes beyond the glitz of David Guetta and Afrojack."
— Coverage of the early DJ sets for Time Out Chicago
"With Morillo's set overplaying the dramatic breakdown card, Boys Noize could often be heard cracking the euphoric ambience with his beat-driven onslaught. Speaking with a local DJ, we both marveled at how well he managed to take many of the sounds that are fueling this EDM mania and repackage them in a way that appeals to people who have been in the scene for some time. We shared the sentiment that his set was utter mayhem, but tasteful mayhem—if there can be such a thing."
— Coverage of headliners Erick Morillo and Boys Noize for Time Out Chicago
Album, single reviews + Interviews | XLR8R
"Playful, fine tuned, and funky in all the right ways, it's like a snapshot of hearing the Hamburg-based DJ spin live over the course of a night. Some DJs excel at nailing down a potent sound and staying the course for 60 minutes, but Solomun takes a slightly more eclectic approach, beginning with grooves that recall an old-school mixtape rather than a slick techno mix."
— Review of Luke Solomun's Watergate 11 mix for XLR8R
"The finished product is a tasteful spoken-word dance meditation, something fine-tuned for late-night dancefloors and fit to be counted alongside tracks like DJ Le Roi and Roland Clark's "I Get Deep"—a classic that Get Physical just re-released with a new batch of remixes (none of which rival the original). Granted, "Aus" may not quite be on that level, but it is a faithful recreation of an earlier era in house music."
— Review of Nina Kravis's "Aus" single for XLR8R
"Surprisingly, as much as he gets compared to post-dubstep originator Burial, McPhee doesn't include him in his list of favorite discoveries. "I own one Burial record," he clarifies. "I moreso listened to it and then, as a result, got into the stuff that influenced [him]. That's had a bigger impact on me than him." He's even gone so far as to make conscious decisions in the studio to avoid undue comparisons. "I had a feeling, you know. Pitched vocals, swingy drums, apparently that's Burial and that's all it is. It's influential in the sense that it's gotten me into other stuff, but his sound, if anything, I'm trying to push away from that now."
— Interview with Kevin McPhee for XLR8R
Pitchfork Music Festival | Union Park, Chicago
Pitchfork set up its festival shop in Chicago for yet another three-day session this past weekend. More electronic than year's past, here are just two of the many highlights:
"A focused technician, he barely looked up to acknowledge the crowd, so engrossed was he in the task at hand. It was one of the single coolest feats of electronic-music athleticism I've seen, the equivalent of witnessing a b-boy or DJ battle—two things that have all but died out from hip-hop culture. Even though, strictly speaking, his music isn't house, techno or even dubstep, araabMUZIK still represented the closest the fest got to the current EDM hype all weekend."
— Coverage of araabMUZIK for Time Out Chicago
"If U.K. dubstep artist Joker can christen his music "purple," Jaar could easily brand his mellow dance sound "blue." Echoing guitar often took a melodic lead while dub treatments and a distant sax line added additional texture to the dominant midtempo groove. Where Jaar's own processed vocals didn't work, gospel soul samples often provided the needed vibe. And this is very much vibe music."
— Coverage of Nicolas Jaar for Time Out Chicago