Thursday, March 29, 2012

Album Review | Photek | DJ-KiCKS + mp3


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

Admittedly, I wasn't as excited about the idea of a Photek DJ-KiCKs as I found myself in actuality, after hearing it for the first time. Though I'm aware of the reverence he's held in by diehard drum 'n' bass fans, which immediately commands respect from me as well—it's not easy to have a career in electronic music that spans more than one decade—I've clearly never paid as much attention as I should have. All of the musical signifiers generally assigned to Photek's music even resonates strongly with me: deep, atmospheric, ambient. 

This would explain my obsession with this mix. In just over an hour he touches on spacey disco (Hot Toddy remixed by Morgan Geist), eerie techno (reaching back into the '90s with Baby Ford) and the murky realm of today's bass music scene with shuffling groovers from Sepalcure and DJG. Then there's his own personal contributions. Oh, how we can't neglect to mention those. These are a large part of the reason respected culture houses like XLR8R have been salivating over this release since the second it was announced back in January. 

There's the mesmerizing acid of "M25FM," a collabo with new-found production partner Pinch. There's the warm, jazzy-inflected dubstep-not-dubstep of "Levitation". And there's his exclusive contribution to the mix, "Fountainhead," which I've already gone to lengths to rinse wherever I can fit it into a mix. I may have slept on Photek's early-Aught hey day, but the sheer weight of new original material on here—reinforced by an impeccable selection of simliarly-vibed mix mates—has me paying attention now. And from the looks of things, his career won't be dying down anytime soon.

About three-quarters of the way through this essential listen, the words "Can't get you out of my system" come wafting out atop a bed of broken beats, frantic bleeps and bright chords. For me, this is a sentiment that rings true of this mix from start to finish.

— Joshua P. Ferguson

DOWNLOAD: Photek "No Agenda" | 320 mp3 (courtesy of XLR8R magazine)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Article | 12th Planet | World View + mp3

World View

12th Planet is at the center of the dubstep universe.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine | 02.15.12

Google L.A. producer and DJ 12th Planet and you’re likely to find bloggers claiming he’s responsible for bringing dubstep to the U.S. He’s a central player in the genre’s buzzworthy rise, but I wanted to investigate the lofty praise further. 

When I caught up with the trendsetter—whose real name is John Dadzie—on Skype while he was resting up at home ahead his latest tour, he had a chance to set the record straight. “It’s a weird sitch, I’m definitely not the first person,” he says. “There’ve been many more before me. But I think what I did, mainly, was I brought a lot of kids from drum ’n’ bass into dubstep.” 

The 29-year-old, who got his start in high school making drum ’n’ bass records under the name Infiltrata, discovered an enticing new world in dubstep while touring the U.K. during the early 2000s. As his career gained momentum, he found himself in front of larger and larger audiences. He also found himself working these fresh sounds into his sets. “I’d open up for people like MSTRKRFT and Steve Aoki and Diplo, and none of those guys were championing dubstep at that time. So I got to play a lot of people’s first dubstep experience,” he continues. “I wouldn’t say I was the first in the U.S., I just got to play in different markets.” 

Easygoing in that Cali boy sort of way, Dadzie is more comfortable with the idea that he was one of a handful of early adopters who helped increase the bass-heavy genre’s popularity here. Through SMOG, a party, label and brand that he spearheaded with a few like-minded friends, he’s certainly a pioneer in L.A., having kick-started the dubstep movement there. 

“Being hooked on drum ’n’ bass, that’s all I did for a six- or seven-year run. I just wanted to do something different,” Dadzie says. In 2006, he changed his DJ and production alias to 12th Planet and started experimenting with music in the vein of U.K. heavyweights like Skream and Benga. “Those guys are my heroes,” he says. “I don’t want to say I bit their sound, but that was my main inspiration on how to make dubstep. I used their sketch to make my drawings.”

DOWNLOAD: 12th Planet The End is Near! EP | 320 mp3s (courtesy of SCION AV)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicago | James Murphy at the Mid

James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem | DFA)
LA*Jesus + Kool Hersh + Dialogue Inc's Mister Joshua
Friday March 23 @ the Mid, Chicago

Man have we been excited for this post. About a month ago, the scene-stealing latest edition to Chicago's nightlife landscape, the Mid, asked Dialogue Incorporated's Mister Joshua to lay down some of his choice discoid tunes in an opening set for DFA mastermind and LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy. Obviously, he accepted. 

After all, nary a DJ set goes by that one of the man's songs isn't in a Mister Joshua DJ set. And those that know him more intimately know that his left forearm has an even more intimate relationship with a few choice lyrics from "Home." So here we are with the weekend of this fateful event upon us. If you're in the Chicagoland area, come and join us on the dance floor.

James Murphy shares the DJ booth with Mister Joshua, the God-like LA*Jesus and trusted selector Kool Hersh tomorrow, Friday 23. Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased from

Here's a glimpse of his last showing:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Album Review | Lindstrøm | Six Cups of Rebel + mp3

Feedelity Records 

house \haus \ n + cos•mic \ käz-mik \ adj + psych \ sîk \ vb 

Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine. TOC | Lindstrøm

If 2008’s Where You Go I Go Too didn’t establish it as fact, his sprawling 40-minute meditation on “Little Drummer Boy” surely did: Lindstrøm makes music to his own beat. Hailed as the leading player in Norway’s cosmic dance scene, the not-quite-so-little drummer boy treats sounds like the final frontier, always searching the far corners of his musical influences and his imagination, and pouring the discoveries into his epic productions. 

Lindstrøm reminds us of this with the solo church-organ aria of “No Release” that opens Six Cups of Rebel. The bass pop and P-Funk of lead single “De Javu” will seem familiar to fans of the driving dance-floor disco-boogie on his more populist remixes, but this is the first time the lanky producer has lent his own voice to a track. It makes a dynamic new addition to his arsenal. 

The record also sees Lindstrøm reining in his compulsion for marathon songs, prefering seamless transitions that leave few discernible beginnings or ends. “Quiet Place to Live” is an exception, disrupting both the flow and the mood by moving into prog territory with distorted riffs and a guitar wail. Drawing comparisons to rock acts like Deep Purple or Queen had they “gone disco,” the change in style here and during the cacophony of cheap MIDI sounds on “Call Me Anytime” left me longing for the space-age house of Lindstrøm on releases past. 

The Nordic cosmonaut gets back in the groove for Six Cups of Rebel’s final movements, successfully combining the chunkier krautrock elements with a celestial sheen and a Weather Report–style jazz funk. The album’s title track sounds like five or six musicians rolled into one. As the song winds down and each element gets stripped away to leave only layers of menacing laughter, we’re reminded that this music rebel is taking us places—whether we like them or not. 

—Joshua P. Ferguson

We posted this track up for download a few months back, (Dialogue Inc | Shuffle) but we've added it again in case you missed it. The debut single from Six Cups of Rebel, "De Javu" will give you a good idea of where Lindstrøm is headed these days.

DOWNLOAD: Lindstrøm "De Javu" | 192 mp3


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Allure | Mad Men Season 5 (cont)

Allure | Mad Men Season 5 pt 2

I'm grateful to Matthew Weiner, AMC and the organizers of Mad Men for keeping the highly anticipated fifth season so close to the vest. All of the preview trailers for the new season which debuts on—finally, sigh—Sunday 25 have been composed of snippets from the last season and until this week, there has only been one still shot that gave us a glimpse of what's in store for Don, Betty, Peggy, Pete, Joan, Roger et al. And the shot, a reflection of Don in a department store window housing a naked female mannequin, only amps up the guessing game.

So the more comprehensive teaser, which came in the form of cast member still shots, may not say much but it's something new and for that it's welcome. And for those of you researching your outfits for the Mad Men cocktail party you've no doubt already been invited to, it's good food for thought.

—Joshua P. Ferguson


You can check out the full shoot at here:

Monday, March 12, 2012

DJ Mix | Brenmar + Terror Danjah

DJ Mix | Brenmar + Terror Danjah

Press play on these future R&B and Grime sessions.

Word to the wise: You definitely want to listen to these in this order. First up, Brenmar, the Chicago-born (big up!), Brooklyn-based purveyor of smooth hip-hop, syrupy R&B, classic house, juke and future bass. For his second installment of Slow Grind, Deep Hustle, the greaser-slick DJ has drilled down to some of the best in low-slung RnB, cherry-picking brilliant tracks from Destiny's Child, Craig David, Mariah Carey and... Danity Kane?! Who knew that was possible? Brenmar we guess.

The mix, done for online pub Dummy Mag, is available for stream and download:

Brenmar Slow Grind, Deep Hustle vol 2.


1. Dirty Money – Sade 
2. Danity Kane – Right Now 
3. Sadie – All About You (Thomas Rusiak Remix) 
4. Dru Hill – All About Your Love 
5. Brooke Valentine – Pimped Out feat. Dem Franchise Boys (Double U Remix) 
6. Craig David – Walking Away (Ignorance Remix) 
7. Mariah Carey – Sweetheart feat. Jermaine Dupri 
8. Marques Houston – Hold N Back feat. Mya and Shawna 
9. Jon B – They Don’t Know (Club Mix) 
10. Destiny’s Child – Cater 2 U (Storch Remix Edit) 
11. Teairra Mari – U Did That 
12. The-Dream – Walking On The Moon (Grahmzilla Remix) 
13. 702 – You Don’t Know 
14. Nina Sky – Daydreaming 
15. Brandy – All In Me 
16. Sammie – The Bottom 
17. Trey Songz – Don’t Love Me

Round two sees the punches flying freely. Grime staple and member of the Hyperdub stable, Terror Danjah has dropped a half-hour mix of reggae, rap, bass and techno (well, "Flat Beat" anyway). Promoting prolific London label Hyperdub's takeover of club mecca Fabric this weekend (3.16) and sets from Kode 9, Scratch DVA, Danjah and others, this frantic onslaught of beats and bass is like a cup of coffee with a side of Five Hour Energy.

This one, hosted by Fabric, is also available for stream and download:


01. Champion VS Jekyll - Buju Banton VS Terror Danjah [CDR] 
02. Riko and Chimp - Skeng Ting [CDR] 
03. Champion - Crystal Meth [Butterz] 
04. Bok Bok - Silo Pass (Spyro remix) [Night Slugs] 
05. Swifta Beater - Hey [Hardrive] 
06. Preditah - Nosy Parker VIP [CDR] 
07. Roska - Without It (Terror Danjah Remix) [Kick and Snares] 
08. D.O.K - Melody [Formula] 
09. Terror Danjah and Ruby Lee Ryder - Full Attention (Terror Danjah Soundboy Mix) [Hardrive] 
10. Swifa Beater - Numb [Hardrive] 
11. Brandy vs. Terror Danjah - Angel vs. Air Bubble [CDR] 
12. Skepta - D.T.I [Dice Recordings] 
13. Terror Danjah - Flat Gremlinz (Flat Eric Refix) [Dub] 
14. Swindle - Ringworm [Swindle Productions] 
15. Champion & Princess Nyah - Crazy (Terror Danjah and D.O.K Remix) [CDR] 
16. Champion - Untitled [Butterz] 
17. D.O.K - Hustling [CDR] 
18. D.O.K - Sidedok [Hardrive] 
19. DJ Spooky - Spartan (Terror Danjah Remix) [CDR] 
20. Faze Mikyake vs. Preditah - Take Off vs. Gargoyle [CDR] 
21. DJ Cameo and Paperboy - Bad Boy [Hardrive] 
22. Teddy Music - Sambucca [Hardrive] 
23. Terror Danjah – Bipolar [Butterz]

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Album Review | Blondes + mp3


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

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine

With their backgrounds in electro-acoustic composition and studio art, college chums Sam Haar and Zach Steinman’s Blondes is high on concept, even if it is dance music at its core. Exploring the notion of duality, the duo released a series of beautifully packaged 12"s for left-field Gotham City imprint RVNG Intl. Pairing themes like “Lover” and “Hater,” “Business” and “Pleasure,” Blondes have now collected their limited-edition tech-house musings into a double disc with bonus original material and a batch of more dance-floor-friendly remixes. 

On “Lover, ” Blondes sprinkle a cosmic glitter of synths to pad the way for distant chanting and an organic house beat. It lends the track a tribal quality, but not in a big-room, fist-pumping way. For these two, dance music is too cerebral for that. At least it is as the bare-bones bass and drum rhythms build across the dub-techno slow-burn response of “Hater.” 

For two dudes from the Midwest who settled in Brooklyn, Blondes’ music fits in fine alongside German architects of the deep, like the Field, Âme and even Peter Kruder. First-disc highlight “Business” even echoes U.K. dubstep maverick Burial with its syncopated snare and haunting atmosphere. Take the groove of a Balearic soundtrack at dawn, blast it into space to play amid the stars, and you’ll start to get an idea of the moody IDM bounce of the Vangelis-esque pairing “Gold” and “Amber.” 

Not surprisingly, the remix disc lacks the continuity and depth of its counterpart. Standouts include the marathon techno workout of Dungeon Acid’s rework of “Lover” and the remix from Chicago’s own Traxx, which turns “Gold” into aboriginal acid electro-funk. But often it’s a case of struggling to top the original material, which sets the bar pretty high. 

—Joshua P. Ferguson

DOWNLOAD: Blondes "Wine" | 256 mp3


Monday, March 5, 2012

Album Review | Scuba | Personality + mp3

Hot Flush Recordings

bass \ bãs \ adj + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n + house \haus \ n 

Outspoken Hot Flush owner Paul Rose, a.k.a. Scuba, has never played nice with bass music's median sound. That hasn't changed with Personality—in spirit anyway. Apropos his status as a leader of the pack, Rose has always rebelled against the run of the mill of the genre he's most often erroneously tethered to; in this case, dubstep. 

That’s a mistake that can be forgiven though. Right now, the bass music scene is in such a state of flux that no one is sure where to file artists, like Scuba, who may have gotten their start dabbling with the sound but have since moved on. Preferring to mine Detroit and Chicago’s roots, the better aspects of chill-out’s musicality and even straight-ahead drum ‘n’ bass to set his productions apart, Rose has certainly moved on. 

With its steady house thump, retro hand claps and sunny disposition, last year's "Adrenaline" gave us a telling glimpse of where Scuba was heading. Where 2010's Triangulation had a sparse, moody and somewhat minimally techy feel, Scuba's sound has evolved to reveal more meat on its bones—and a lot more 4/4 beats. Syncopated rhythms still rule Personality, but the force of the Windy and Motor cities is strong in songs like "Daisy Chain" and "If U Want 2." 

Elsewhere, a classic rave feel surfaces. The rolling drums of “Action,” the electro-punk of “Gekko” and the metallic drive of lead single “Hope” reinvigorate the type of breaks-y intensity that has long propelled the Chemical Brothers or even the Prodigy. “Tulips” and the liquid “Cognitive Dissonance” are similarly nostalgic, but for Logical Progressions. With his latest, Scuba may be looking back, but he’s also moving his sound forward, and the result is as welcomingly familiar as it is unlike anything else out there. 

—Joshua P. Ferguson  

DOWNLOAD: Scuba "Flash Addict" | 320 mp3



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Live and Direct | Abstract Science + Dialogue Inc

Live and Direct | Abstract Science + Dialogue Inc

Without college radio, I probably wouldn't be sitting here writing this post. It was back in 2001 in Madison, Wisconsin, that I dove head first into that broadcasting world and began spending all my time digesting, playing, talking and writing about music. Eleven years later, I've come circle. As of last night, I officially returned to the airwaves as the newest co-host of Chicago's Abstract Science radio show which broadcasts from WLUW, Loyola University's 88.7FM frequency, on Thursday nights from 10pm to 2am here in Chicago--it can also be heard on the web from a stream on the station's website.

The 15-year-old show, which is chiefly organized by longtime friend and DJ Chris Widman as well as Luke Stokes and their Cali cohort Henry Self, advertises itself as 'future music and its roots.' For followers of Dialogue Inc and especially our sporadic podcasts, you'll know this is no stretch; we fit right in.

To give a snapshot into last night's playlist--something we hope to start recording and hosting here--I dove into new music from King Britt in his Fhloston Paradigm guise, Nina Kraviz, School of Seven Bells, Photek, Polar Pair (with a choice Zed Bias remix), Scuba and Jacques Greene. In a bit of tooting our own horn, we're pretty proud of the range there. And we hope you'll come to feel the same way as this partnership grows.

-- Joshua P. Ferguson