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August 17 2018

15:35

Specter – Built To Last

Specter is, like Rick Wilhite whom I wrote about just a few weeks ago, one of these underground cats who is a brilliant DJ and producer but not known for releasing a high volume of music. Even a full solo single by Specter would be cause for celebration, but what we have here in Built To Last is his first full length album, and on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label no less. While not new to Sound Signature, his previous two singles on there from some years back were both very much in the acid vein, though an especially off kilter and rugged version of acid. On Built To Last there isn’t much that could be called acid, but it is chock full of wild Chicago tracks both abstract and deep and sometimes both at the same time.

The album will be released on vinyl, CD, and cassette, but I will be reviewing the vinyl version right now. From the clips online, it appears there will be at least slight differences in the tracklist for each format (the Dego and Kaidi album on SS was also done like this). The vinyl consists of three discs with a total of nine tracks, and the pressing gives these cuts room to breathe and sounds very heavy sonically.

Kicking things off is “What Else You Do” which immediately takes proceedings to a very uncommon place for the opening track of an album. High pitched beeps and rattling percussion lay the groundwork for a repeated vocal (I can’t really tell what it’s saying or what the source could be and I’m not sure we are supposed to) and swirling synths that sound about a million miles away from the generic Chicago trax formula but maintain that same experimental electronic edge. In my head I can see Theo flipping out while beating this one.

Also in the more wigged out style is “Jaws of Life”. While not structured like an standard acid track, it instead uses an off kilter repeating rhythm to create its hallucinatory atmosphere. It’s hard to find music that feels like a contemporary take on classic house ideas without sounding like a copy of old music, but Specter manages that here and throughout this album. “Tamarindo” meanwhile merges the more dissonant and experimental aspects of his sound with jazzy electric piano chords and lots of layered synth melodies. These are the kinds of tracks that really stand out to my ears in defining a group of labels and producers who always try to do different and unexpected things while maintaining the lineage they are a part of.

My favorite track on the album reflects the deeper side of Specter’s productions that has typically graced his own Tetrode label. “Not New To This” didn’t even have to declare it in the title, your ears can take the Pepsi challenge with this any day of the week. The phrase deep house has been almost totally devoid of meaning for a while thanks to new jack dickriders, but music like this when done by someone with as much experience as Specter has will tend to sound sophisticated and amazing.

“0829 Fifty Fifty” is another undefinable mix of elements that somehow builds something that is both familiar and alien at the same time. Listening to the layers of sound at any given time, you can hear a twisted human voice, shaker percussion, piano chords, what sounds like running water (?), and funky synth bass. Elevator house this most certainly is not.

Specter takes it back to that beautiful deep vibe on “Sidewinder”, another stand out jam in terms of sounding captivating through the manipulation of just a few elements. The little rhythmic changes on the delayed synth line and the swirling almost ominous sounding pad that rises and falls can really worm their way into your brain and I will bet they will keep the dancefloor funky at the same time.

The closing track “Hunchback” is in a way the most straightforward on the record, but on an album like this that isn’t saying much. Synth bass and 808 drums are the constants but it’s the beeping melody and the constantly shifting percussion that tie it in.

When you add in the ambient and downtempo interludes on the first record as well as the excellent album artwork, Built To Last comes into focus as one of the most psychedelic American house records of late. But this ain’t some hippie shit; this is grimy, funky insane asylum soundtracks. The music contained isn’t about the equipment used to make it, it isn’t about the rarity of the records sampled on it, it isn’t lifestyle music you stream on Sp*tify during your dinner party. It is compelling, modern music that demands that you listen with an open mind. And that’s what I am looking for in 2018. Built To Last delivers and delivers.

The post Specter – Built To Last appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

August 08 2018

05:11

Dance Music Needs More Brothas And Sistahs

So as of late I have had many discussions about black dance music being hijacked. Yes it has been stolen away from us and in many cases we are to blame. Soulful underground American dance music is no longer visible in Black and Latino communities.

With the exception of a few radio stations nation wide it is no longer on the radio. Yes you can argue that no one engages radio the way we did twenty years ago. However, the point is it’s not there present for people to find. Likewise, I don’t see my generation or the generation before me handing this music to the youth. How is this culture supposed to live on if we are not showing the next generation what has been built.  Also don’t get mad when they do find it and start to do it their way when no one has showed them how it has been done.

Dance music is starving for more brothas and sistahs to embrace this culture. We need more venue owners. There is a need for more brown vinyl and digital distributors. We need more people of color to throw parties. Certainly there needs to be more brown people writing for reputable dance music publications.  If you’re upset that this culture has been hijacked get up and do something about it. Write a blog, start a digital label, throw a party, start a sound company. Let’s start empowering ourselves in this game again.

I am for certain people reading this probably are saying this cat is a fool. My rebuttal would be we already are on the outside looking in. Our culture in many cases is hardly recognizable. Do we care to have it totally usurped? Have you ever been upset because you have felt discriminated against by a venue owner? Do you feel left out as you know you play very well but are constantly overlooked for bookings? We all have, and the only way to combat against it is to empower ourselves so we are not reliant on others.

It takes small steps and sacrifice to actually get to where I am speaking of. I myself as have others for example spent many Saturday nights at home raising and saving capital to accomplish starting a label or to be able to host events. Hopefully in the next few years I will own a venue in which will be utilized for art, recording, performance, and most importantly a community center and safe space for artists, derelicts, and the disenfranchised. The only way my vision will be realized is to accomplish this goal.

Respect to minority entrepreneurs in the underground community. Zernell with his Grimy label and clothing line. Mark Duncan in Detroit who is a sound tech and is a model in professionalism. Kai Alce who’s famed NDATL label stands as a testimony for all aspiring people of color looking for inspiration to dedicate themselves to their craft. The sky is the limit if you focus. These are just a few that are laying the foundation for us to take the next step.

In closing, none of this is easy and in most cases people would say this is ideal thinking. I however will reply rather than allowing ourselves to get down get out there and accomplish your goals and visions. Hopefully writing this will inspire a few others to do the same. If we allow others to write our narrative for us we are nothing more than slaves in this game. In return we allow ourselves to be only useful for others to pick our brain for knowledge and study our soul. Without hesitation I say when they have used us up they will have nothing else to do with us. So empower yourself and make the game yours.

The post Dance Music Needs More Brothas And Sistahs appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

August 06 2018

05:16

SUMMER IN SAN DIEGO

Well it’s been quite sometime since I wrote something, as I have had quite the writers block. Not knowing what to say or write about I have been going on with the everyday routine grinding. The summer started off in epic fashion traveling to Detroit for Movement Weekend. Every year I get excited to go not because of the festival, but to see friends and catch up with people I truly respect and care about. This year’s routine was no different than any other year. Friday I attended Theo Parrish’s event, Saturday hit The Summit at MCW, as well as Kai Alce’s event Deep Detroit 10. Sunday night helped work the door at Excursions, and I have to say the energy was off the meter as always. Monday I was at the Nu Bang party at Mix, as usual the music was second to none. How could you go wrong to see Rick Wilhite, Greg Gray, James Vincent, Uchikawa, and so many others to close out the festival? To me there is no other way to do it.

This summer in San Diego my crew and I have seen some momentum spring our way. On July 28th we hosted two events from both of our brands. During the day under the Bouquet name Rick Wilhite, and Ash Lauryn were the guests. The after party for my brand Rhythm Nation we celebrated one year with Keith Worthy, and Aaron Paar. I have to say putting this together with the Bouquet boys was one of the most gratifying events I had ever thrown. The reason being is seeing the anticipation build for something that took countless hours of meticulous preparation, and the fact we hosted a full day of Midwest dance music in San Diego proved that our vision of providing our community with something different is coming to fruition.

I have to say with this past event I have had a few humbling experiences. First off when collaborating with others it’s not always about what you want. However, it has to be what is best for the party. In humbling myself I learned that with compromise you can work with others that do not fully share your vision, but do share similar core values and principles. I’ve often times found it difficult to work with others based on parties not holding their end of the bargain or simply being unreliable. It is a pleasure to work with two people (Bailey Rogers and Jordan Marrone) that are trustworthy.

Second, I was reminded that this game of DJing is not glamorous as magazines, and pictures make it out to be. Traveling long distances is always uncomfortable. Often times you are rushed off to the party to play immediately after the flight lands. You deal with family matters from afar as you travel to make your living. Not to mention it is almost impossible to live healthy as you are always on the move if you tour. I strive to be someone who hosts artists that considers all of those factors. Hopefully, the people I have invited to play feel the same.

I will say that if you are in this game for popularity, social status, or money get out now. We do not want you and we definitely do not need you. This is a slow road a if you are not willing to put the time and energy in then this is most definitely not for you. Soulful Underground American Dance Music needs soldiers. We need more men and women willing to put the hard work in of throwing parties, starting labels, and finding the next generation of people to carry the legacy on.

Third it has been a wild ride watching these events here in San Diego slowly grow into something that is becoming self sustaining. There was a time when people were telling Bailey, Jordan, and I that our vision is too far out for San Diego, however now they have to take what we are doing seriously. Blood, sweat, and tears have been shed finding new participants for both of our events. The fact that we have stepped out believing in the music we present and are willing to go against the grain are reasons we are starting to see our visions expand. I will say to anyone looking to start an event offer the best music you possibly can and present it with the utmost confidence.

So in a nutshell summer has been pretty RAD. Totally I am looking forward to see what fall has in store for both Bouquet and Rhythm Nation. As well, I am excited about the prospects for Soulful Underground American Dance Music on the left coast. Last Saturday proved there is a thirst for it, anyone who believes in it here needs to keep serving it up!!!

The post SUMMER IN SAN DIEGO appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

July 17 2018

19:13

New Rick Wilhite Records

Rick at his shop Vibes in Detroit, April 2008

I’m going to save the whole story for a forthcoming “Record Store Memories” post, but I first met Rick Wilhite in person at his shop Vibes all the way back in May 2004. Ever since that day he has been one of the biggest inspirations for me in all of house music. I’ve brought him to Pittsburgh a number of times over the last ten years, and he was also one of our guests at The Summit in Detroit this year. He’s both a top notch DJ and a good dude.

I truly appreciate people who try to participate in house music on every level and in every way, and Rick is one of the preeminent cats in this regard. He owned an awesome house music record store. He’s been DJing in Detroit for 30+ years and now DJs all over the world. He’s been a promoter of house music events in Detroit for decades. He has helmed many dope compilations for a variety of labels. He’s a sick producer of wild ass lofi house music.

This last part is what forced my hand to make this post. While not exactly prolific in terms of number of releases, damn near every track Rick has released is an underground gem. His music is rough and rugged, maintaining both the mechanical edge of techno and the soulful vibes of deep house in each of his tracks. Because of this, it’s always a good day when a new release of his comes out. A recent compilation 12” by the Monday Night Underground crew features a new track by Rick called “Mind Control” alongside two classics by Terrence Parker and Ron Allen. “Mind Control” is a nasty beast, more synthed out, discordant, and techy than most of his output. This is the kind of music Detroit used to be famous for, loopy, repetitive techno that still maintains its humanity. This one track is maybe a bit of a tease for this style, though the other more soulful house and garage jams are very lovely in their own right. Thankfully Rick also has his newest record Godson IV coming soon on Moodymann’s Mahogani label, and it contains maybe my favorite track of his so far.

Godson IV is a double pack that contains four songs, and each is an example of serious Detroit house music. “Xanadu 3.0” kicks things off on the A side, and for me it is the highlight of Rick’s discography so far. A grinding beat propels the track while jazzy Rhodes chords set a more somber mood. Ghostly dub hits echo in the background while a grating synth shriek plays over and over. There’s really not a ton of things happening but the magic is in the interplay of the elements and the confidence necessary to let the parts breathe. This is the essence of mimimalism: there is nothing more than is needed and everything is in its right place.

Following up such a great track might be difficult for most, but on the B side Rick dives right back into funky minimal territory with “Sonar Funk”. Moving at a pace and with drive more commonly associated with techno, the hypnotic groove establishes a stark feeling that is then juxtaposed with the flutes and electric pianos that drop in to smooth things out. They’re never present for long, just enough time to shine down on the dancefloor like the sun peeking through angry storm clouds. It is remarkable how much emotion can be contained in such small gestures.

On the second record Rick takes his skills and applies them to tracks made by others. First up is Moodymann’s “Technologystolemyvinyl (Godson’s Cosmic Soup Mix)”. This appears to be a totally different live take of this jam with guest musicians including Amp and Bubz Fiddler amongst others. The familiar start and stop pattern is still there but this time augmented with live deep jazzy instrumental passages, solos, and sick drum rolls. The dynamics between the loud and quiet sections are striking and very effective. It’s hard for me to imagine this not being a huge dancefloor killer for a lot of DJs as the sound is HUGE and to my ears at least it is a far superior track to the original.

Finally we have Folson & Tate’s “Is It Because I’m Black (Godsons Flip Mix)” which uses vocals samples/interpolated from the classic Syl Johnson jam. Laid back funky bass and keys provide the foundation of the track as the vocal samples provide the foreground of what comes off as a mix of blues and deep house. A really beautiful late night killer to round out what I consider to be an instant classic release.

It’s really quite momentous to have so much new material from Rick at one time, only rivaled by the release of his album all the way back in 2011. It’s good to see that he has been stepping up his game in the interim.

The post New Rick Wilhite Records appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

July 14 2018

19:04

Aqual(o)unge 16

[Download link of the podcast episode is at the end of this post]

On occasion of the Netlabel Day 2018 we release the 16th volume of our mix series with underwater music mostly from netlabels.

Tracklist:

  1. 00:00 – 04:21 TVSKY – a gray sullen morning [Kopoc KPL040] CC BY-NC-ND
  2. 03:16 – 06:28 MONOUT – reflection [Cold Fiction Music CFM094] CC BY-NC-SA
  3. 05:07 – 09:41 DRFCT – confusion [Eden.Deeply ED48] CC BY-ND
  4. 07:33 – 13:53 SOVA SOUND THEORY – theory 4 (original mix) [Mahorka MHRK173 CC BY-NC
  5. 12:44 – 16:10 DML – sfw [broque brq114] CC BY-NC-ND
  6. 15:32 – 20:31 MAX JAHN – basics in blue [broque brq112] CC BY-NC-ND
  7. 19:51 – 22:33 MEROVINGIAN – awareness [Eden.Deeply ED45] CC BY-ND
  8. 22:14 – 25:10 IMMORTAL SUN – in the tree – part of the three [Digital Diamonds DD051] CC BY-NC-ND
  9. 24:46 – 29:24 DCM – prospectiva [Monofónicos MNS006] CC BY-SA
  10. 29:01 – 31:49 JHAS – sumpan [Pom Peri Posse] CC BY-NC-SA
  11. 31:36 – 36:33 ASPECT. – an echo from the future [Cold Fiction Music CFM094] CC BY-NC-SA
  12. 34:45 – 39:31 TEXTURAL BEING – proximity [Cold Fiction Music CFM021] CC BY-NC-SA
  13. 38:23 – 40:43 TOMZN / LERISEUX – paralelo places [bleepsequence blpsq046] CC BY-NC-SA
  14. 40:11 – 42:17 RETOUCHED – f [Kopoc KPL047] CC BY-NC-ND
  15. 41:38 – 46:49 DSUM & MORRIS – n283153 o813222 [Monofónicos MNF023] CC BY-SA
  16. 46:18 – 49:32 MAR’YAN KITSENKO – default (original mix) [Energostatic Records stasis031] CC BY-NC-ND
  17. 48:38 – 52:46 XPANSE – gathering [SubSymbolic Records] CC BY-NC-ND
  18. 52:09 – 56:46 EKO_FISK – goodbye santa monica [BFW Recordings BFW 240] CC BY-NC-ND
  19. 55:52 – 00:00 CHRIS ZABRISKIE – stories about the world that once was CC BY title=
  20. 57:05 – 00:00 RHUCLE – long ago [No Problema Tapes NOP-051] CC BY title=

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Der Beitrag Aqual(o)unge 16 erschien zuerst auf Machtdose.

June 29 2018

08:50

June 07 2018

13:30

DEMF Weekend 2018 Wrap Up

Big Strick, Teflon Dons, Jay Simon, Generation Next, Pipecock, James Duncan, and Jwan Allen at the end of The Summit

Festival weekend in Detroit is always a good time, but for whatever reason over the last few years I wasn’t getting the same satisfaction from it that I had in the past. This was at least partially due to my general malaise regarding all the bullshit around dance music, even though everything I saw musically was great. This year, however, was really excellent for me in all ways and I left town feeling refreshed, reenergized, and motivated.

The main thing I will remember when I think back on the 2018 festival weekend is the feeling of family. From the people working at the record shops to the friends we saw inside them, from the djs and producers to all the people who went to the events, it was wall to wall love. There were new additions to the crew and they were all excellent people who are deeply involved with the music but also just entertaining individuals that it was really nice to kick it with.

I’m not sure I’ve ever talked so much in one day as I did when we hosted our Saturday party The Summit. Many people I knew already in real life came through, as well as many I only knew online, so there was a number of first meetings which is always fun. Many general grievances were aired by everybody, and it felt good to know that I am not alone with the issues I have been having with all the scene related bullshit. Sometimes it feels like everybody is on board with the nonsense, but thankfully that isn’t the case. And I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that our party and the other parties I attended that are all MUSIC FIRST AND FOREMOST would attract these people. It’s good that we are on the same page though.

I’ve mostly fallen into the habit of going to the same parties every year, but this is because for me they represent the best vibes and the best music. There is really little reason to even take a chance on some other shit when most of it just looks like a bunch of random “big” names. I’ve been to those parties in the past, and they’re not for me.

All of the parties I attended this year were on point. Theo’s Music Gallery (which I guess I’ve been to the last four of them now, including one last September) was really the perfect kick-off for the weekend (after some record shopping and bomb Thai food, of course). The motto for Music Gallery is taken from the classic Dinosaur L lyric… “I want to see all my friends at once” and that was essentially what happened. It was like a reunion with my fam from all over but especially the Detroit and Chicago squad. What’s really crazy is that despite feeling like I saw everybody, at least ten more people hit me up later to say that we somehow missed each other there! The music was excellent as you would imagine with Theo manning the selections the entire time we were there. We cut out around 3:30 to get some sleep for the long Saturday we had in store.

Saturday’s party slate began at 2pm with The Summit, the second time in a row I’ve hosted this party at MotorCity Wine with Jay Simon, James Duncan, and Jwan Allen. Our guests this year were Rick Wilhite, Big Strick, and Teflon Dons aka Aaron Paar. Every set was on point and I believe every dj had a dancefloor which is impressive over a twelve hour party that starts in the afternoon. The vibes were thick, in no small part due to the lovely venue and it’s owners David and Melissa who are some of the best people. The taco truck on the premises was very serious too, which made for a nice dinner. We may have some recordings (hold tight on that) which is awesome because every set was good. My own highlight from djing was playing a CeCe Peniston joint that is a big time Pittsburgh classic.

After we wrapped up, Jwan, Aaron, and I still had energy so we had to go hit up Kai Alcè’s Deep Detroit party. We caught the last 45 minutes of Derrick May’s set of deep techno and then caught Kai rocking some disco and 90s house jams for a crowd that was in ecstasy. I got my enthusiastic dance on for an hour and a half or so on the dancefloor under a crazy branch thing and then we rolled out at 5am with the special edition records in hand.

Recovering from that long day meant Sunday was pretty low key with some light digging and our annual stop at Buddy’s Pizza as the highlights. We needed the rest and the energy for Excursions which was insanely hot once again, both literally and metaphorically. I met a handful of people for the first time that were really an interesting group of people and did some chilling before getting loose on the floor for Heiroglyphic Being’s live set and then Marcellus Pittman on the decks. Both were excellent and the vibe and crowd were perfect. By this time our energy was sagging and we had to dip out a little before 5am.

Monday was very chill. We hit the Nu Bang Clan’s monday afternoon thing at M!x and chilled out with Vincent Intrieri and his crew as well as Rick Wilhite and squad. I also had a nice conversation with Cordell Johnson about throwing parties and the history of house itself. Then it was time to hit Dearborn for middle eastern food and bakery and the homies Noleian and Jamal rolled with us. Was lovely to kick it with those guys somewhere a little more quiet than all the loud parties. We had a couple ideas about where to go Monday night but the hotel beds won out.

Overall I chilled with awesome people, heard amazing music, and got a grip of sick records. That’s what I call a weekend.

One last thing that will stick with me…

After Deep Detroit, Jwan and I dropped Aaron off and instead of taking the freeway we decided to do the long drive down Woodward into the city. It was a hot night and after sweating our asses off at the party and being generally exhausted we rolled the windows down and it felt amazing. We were talking about how we took advantage of two opportunities to bounce out of conversations on our way out, and I said “I don’t believe in god but I know how to take a sign when it slaps me in the face.” Moments after I said that, we rolled by MOCAD which was illuminated with a huge sign that said “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.” I think I agree.

Not my photo, thx interwebs!

The post DEMF Weekend 2018 Wrap Up appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

June 04 2018

13:30

10 Qs With Nick Marshall aka Taelue

Chilling

I spent my Sunday afternoon listening to new records and one of the highlights was the compilation The Barbershop which drops on vinyl today (and digitally in three weeks) on the great label Perpetual Rhythms, which is co-owned by Victor Aguinaga and Nick Marshall, the latter of whom is the subject of this edition of 10 Qs. Like the other releases on the label, this comp contains a lot of truly deep house music, all from the Perpetual Rhythms Chicago family in this instance. The quality level they stand for demands they get some shine, and the release of this compilation should help raise their profile. This made the timing of these questions quite fortuitous, as we can now learn a bit about one of the cats behind some dope new music in his own words….

—————————-

1. How did you get into music and at what age did that occur?

a. I’ve really always been into music since I was young. My mom had a big influence on me as she would literally play everything imaginable in our household. After she passed when I was 6, music became my therapy. When I was about 9, I kept telling family members that I was the DJ at family get-togethers and would manipulate the EQ on a cheap Philco stereo thinking I was really doing something. It’s funny when I think about it now, but it really was the spark of a passion. About the age 11 was when I knew I wanted to be a DJ, more importantly, a Hip-Hop DJ. Hip-hop was and to be quite honest still is a huge influence for me. It was my escapism of things going on while growing up. New York stuff in ’95/’96 was it for me; Nas, Mobb Deep (R.I.P Prodigy), Biggie, WU, etc. I mean, I memorized the Notorious B.I.G’s “Ready to Die” album while riding the bus to and from school in 6th grade. I’d watch and record videos from Yo! MTV Raps and Rap City every day after school. Around the same age is when I discovered House Music from a family member in Chicago who’d come to Michigan to visit often. She left a mixtape in our home stereo that had a bunch of cuts on it that I was fascinated with; Brighter Days, Love Train, Beautiful People, etc. Listening to a lot of Hip-Hop & House throughout my adolescence made me realize I wanted to really DJ. This brought me to finally buy some rundown Technic 1200s and a RadioShack Realistic mixer when I was 17. I Began collecting records and teaching myself to DJ. The first two records I ever bought; Larry Heard – The Guidance EP and Glenn Underground ?– C.V.O. Elements EP both on Guidance.

2. What came first for you, DJing or making music?

a. DJing definitely came first for me; however the production bug was definitely in me. When I was in 10th grade, my aunt bought me a Yamaha keyboard from Kmart. I would try to emulate productions from Havoc of Mobb Deep, DJ Premier and The Alchemist on it. I was neglecting school work doing edits on this thing. The drums were wack and I had no idea what the hell MIDI was. I would record things through the MIC input on a Hewlett Packard PC that had Windows 95 and a 5GB hard drive. The recordings and tracks were terrible, but I was really excited. I was taking a piano class at the time in High school and my friend Michael and I would sneak into this other room while the teacher was working with other students. We’d be in there trying to emulate productions from Timbaland, The Neptunes & Dr. Dre on these two Synths that were in this quasi studio room. We’d definitely get caught, but sometimes we would be in there the entire period and felt cool cause a few of the girls would come in there with us just bullshitting skipping class trying to listen to and make beats. I’d beatbox with the older juniors and seniors in between classes in the hallway and at lunch time while they would spit rhymes. It was cool, but I wasn’t focused on school at all. I was doing the bare minimum to pass. This music was my drug, my therapy, remember? Not long after I bought my technics is when I was at a friend’s house and his brother had just bought the red Korg Electribe off of eBay. We were at his brother’s house just messing with this thing for hours. Messing around so much so that I ended up buying one off of eBay as well. I was all into this thing, but it wasn’t the sound that I was really trying to make. I was really just having fun with it. I’d record some things which were really what I came to know as Drum & Bass at the time. They were cool, but I didn’t really take production serious until about 2010.

3. How have the places you have lived affected the way you make and DJ music?

a. The places I’ve lived have had a deep affect on me mostly due to the interactions with the diverse groups of people I’ve come in contact with more so than the places themselves. I’ve always been hungry to learn about different styles of music, how it started, where it came from, etc. What’s always drawn me to music is the way music evokes feelings and imagery within me. I truly have to feel and see something with music in order to connect with it, similar to how I have to feel something with individuals in order to connect with them. The way I like to make music is by trying to create imagery. I’ll generally have a concept in my mind accompanied by some form of imagery, however it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes I’m just playing chords or messing around with some drums and that will begin to create the imagery. That’s when I decide where I want to go with the sounds. Imagery is a huge part of my productions. Most of my tracks are based off of some concept I’ve been researching or trying to understand and utilizing music to try to convey that concept. Shoutout to Ben Parkinson; Boe Recordings / For Those Who Knoe Label owner, during a conversation we had once when I was in London, he mentioned how a track of mine entitled “Desolate Dreams” was “very Cinematic”. I never thought about my tracks that way, but it’s exactly the vibe I try to create. It’s like I sort of see myself creating a film score for my personal life and things I’m learning or simply put soundscapes to my life journey. Eventually, film scoring is something I’d truly like to get into.

b. When I was in my 20’s I would go out often here in Chicago; Hip-Hop shows, Drum & Bass, Techno, etc. I’d be out a lot and just see what the vibe was. It was cool. Some spots people were dancing, some spots people weren’t. There are various crews and pockets all over the city. When I DJ, I play what I like to hear when I go out to dance. I can play deep, but I can play dark and hard too. It’s all about the timing in which tunes are played. My DJ style was molded here in Chicago from listening to other DJs. That’s more in relation to their technique than what they were playing. Shout out to DJ 3rd Rail whom has been doing his Radio show on WNUR 89.3 FM for more than 20 years and was the first true Hip-Hop DJ I heard play extremely long blends. I’m sure there are others out there, but he for me was the first one I heard play long blends with vinyl of dope Hip-Hop that I loved. This was around 2004. I tried to emulate his blends with House music.. I sucked at it terribly. Not every record needs to be a 40 minute long blend, some records don’t blend well together like that, etc. This is shit I was still learning about; DJing and the overall craft. I met my good friend Victor Aguinaga around 2007 but we we’re just buying records from Discogs. He would have doubles or other records he was selling and I’d meet up with him to make the exchange versus paying for shipping. One day he gave me one of his mixes. I remember listening to it on the train home and was like damn this dude is dope as hell. He was doing the kind of extended blends that DJ 3rd Rail was doing, but with House Music. I’m like damn ok! From there to be honest, kicking it with Victor, and later Specter, Damon Lamar, Steven Tang, Chicago Skyway.. I truly learned a lot. These guys don’t get enough credit for their contributions to be honest and I’m not just talking about as far as Chicago goes, I’m talking about the international House/Techno scene. That’s a bigger discussion for another day though. They all are true to their craft, all talk a hell of a lot of shit, and all have been true mentors directly or indirectly on some level regardless if they know it or not. Much respect to my bros who’re gonna clown me for this.. haha.

4. What is the meaning or story behind your alias Taelue?

a. Folks will get a laugh out of this one. When I first started buying records and trying to DJ I remember I’d bought the “Masters at Work – The Tenth Anniversary Collection – Part One (1990 – 1995”. One of the tracks I was really feeling on there was “Lou2 – Freaky”. Man I played this track so many times. I remember my aunt yelling at me to “turn that shit off”. I had these huge 15” JBL speakers hooked up and they would knock. So I’m trying to think of a DJ name. I’m like hmm, I don’t want to use my name. My middle name is Omar so I toyed with that Idea for a minute then I learned about Omar S and I’m like nah I don’t wanna use that. So I was playing the Freaky track one night and just reading the credits again. I’m like hmm..Lou2.. The Lou? I’m like “Nick, You’re name is not Louie or Louis, but does that matter?? No, it’s going to be Lou something”. I was writing Lou down on paper in different variations. Some kind of way out of that I get “The Lou”. I’m like hmm, nope. Then I’m going through vowels to replace the h in the and immediately get “Tae”. “WTF is Tae, Nick?” Then I just put it together; Taelue. “Is that French, is that a real word”? No idea. I googled it and couldn’t find anything on it and said, yup. That’s it; Taelue.

5. What made you decide to start your label Perpetual Rhythms with Chicagodeep?

a. I’ve actually wanted to start my own record label since my late teens but hadn’t truly put in the work or research on how to do so. I really liked the Guidance label because it truly was something that I identified with as their output was comprised of such a diverse catalog of electronic music. I always said that if I started a label, that was exactly what I wanted to do; have a very eclectic output and be able to put my productions as well as other artist’s music out that I truly believed in as freely as I wanted to. Sometime in 2012 I’d mentioned to Vic (Chicagodeep) about us starting a label together. We’d just completed our Sunday Drive track on Ernie’s Minuendo label as our very first release and of course wanted to dive deeper into producing more. Vic at the time had really ramped up his production. I was in my second year of college and working 3rd shift so was really only dabbling with sounds more than fully producing tracks. I remember the first time I asked Vic about doing a label together he didn’t want to. He wanted to shop his tracks around to get a solid solo EP out. We went out for some drinks the night before Thanksgiving 2012 and just chopped it up a bit. I’m like “bro, we should really start our own thing. Why wait for someone else to put us on?” He was still hesitant at this point. We had 3 Dirty Bastard Scotch Ales and were walking back to our cars. We sat in my whip for a minute and I played him Social Anxiety and another unreleased track. He was like ok this is dope, we should start our label. I’m like is it da liquor or? So I played it again and we were both like yea, this is fiyah. From there we just decided on 3 more tracks and I did a lot of research on what we needed to do to get this done. His Restless Nights track was done at this time and I had already said we need to put it on the EP. From this point, we were thinking of names for the label. I was in my college’s parking lot and I saw a license plate with the word “Perpetual” on it. So I told my then GF / mother of my daughter / Perpetual Rhythms’ Art Director, Adriana that it has to have the word Perpetual in it. We toyed with some names and I remember texting Vic back and forth some ideas. I had some, he had some, but none really stuck. Adriana then says “What about Rhythm or Rhythms”? I remember saying to her that actually works. I sent it to Vic and he dug it too; Perpetual Rhythms. From there she began working on logo design with assistance from our friend Jerry Reyes. Within 3 months we had a new label with artwork and 4 solid tracks going out into the world. We couldn’t believe it. All 3 of us were overly excited when our Secret Elements EP arrived to my apartment. We did this to put out the music WE wanted to put out and that’s been the whole idea since the beginning.

6. You two also have a number of musical collaborations together, some of which also include other friends of yours. How did these collaborations come about?

a. The original collaboration between Vic and I came from an Idea he got from the newer version of Cosmos with host Neil deGrasse Tyson where Neil mentions one astronomer speaking on how stars that we currently see are roughly “a bunch of Ghosts of the Sky”. Vic’s like “bro what do you think about us doing stuff together more and doing a group name as Ghosts of the Sky?” I’m like “damn, yea that’s pretty dope”. So we kind of rolled with it. We had already been messing with some tracks doing stuff together but in 2014 was when we went forward with the Ghosts of the Sky moniker and now have 3 projects with that name; one additional coming soon on Sassmouth’s God Particle Label. We had another project on Ernie’s Minuendo label with our good friend; Sean Hernandez (Chicago Skyway) under the moniker; Simple Machines. This just came about as random sessions to be honest. Vic, Sean and I would all just be hanging out at Vic’s house messing around with machines and recording. From that we had one really dope track, but the damn 808 kick was so loud and distorted we couldn’t use it. Was sad actually because the track was really dope. Sean and Vic had a session before we had recorded anything together and they came up with 7 Trumpets. Ernie heard 7 Trumpets and wanted to do a release with us. After that we recorded 2 more tracks and that was that. The three of us have spoken about future things together, we all just have very busy personal lives. Our last and most recent group collaborative effort was with Garrett David under the alias of Mystical Institute. I’ve no idea how we came up with this name, but I like it. We knew Garrett from Gramaphone and his productions and DJing in the scene. He’s a really dope producer and he had been sending us a few tracks. At some point Vic and I would just link up at Garrett’s studio and we’d just smoke and drink and literally do like 3 or 4 hours of recording live sessions. We all collaborated on every track and I love it because you can hear elements of each of our styles in every single track on our release; Shared Growth. The Shared Growth title is very true as all of us are still learning, progressing in this music / production game and we all are growing together on the EP. We will be releasing more under this moniker on our label in the future.

7. What is your favorite track of your own that has been released?

a. This would either be Social Anxiety or Cielo. Both are clear examples of the imagery I try to create that I mentioned previously. Social Anxiety is something I deal with and luckily through therapy have gained more insight on how to work through it. When I made the track, I was trying to make tracks with broken kicks and not straight forward 4/4 house. I typically listen to a lot of 90’s Hip-Hop and Jungle/Drum & Bass and I remember going through records and 4hero’s “Parallel Universe” was a big influence. Hakim Murphy’s “Creeper” was another track as well with the broken kick that I was playing a lot at the time. I took these two inspirations and tried to create my own house/techno/jungle type of track. I didn’t know what genre it was and didn’t care. I just wanted to create something that I personally didn’t hear a lot of and something therapeutic for myself. I wanted to somehow emulate the feeling one gets when experiencing anxiety; the air gasp, the sporadic thoughts, the fear, the sweating. I’m a huge horror film buff as well and tried to create a bit of dark element within the track too. In the end, I was happy with what came out and truly felt I captured what I set out to capture.

b. Cielo is a tribute track to my mom. Cielo is of Spanish origin and translates in English to roughly mean sky or heaven. I wanted to create something with a melancholic yet still uplifting mood. Like my mom is looking out for my life saying, “I know life has been rough, but know I’m still looking over you and my granddaughter. Positive things are still in store for both of you. I love you”. I remember when I finished the track and had it on a playlist to listen to in my car. It was on shuffle and came on as I was driving. When the strings came in I just thought about my mom and actually starting crying on the freeway. It was a happy type of crying. That’s when I knew that I’d created something representative of the mood in which I was striving to create.

8. Can you describe the process you have for deciding on a release for Perpetual Rhythms?

a. Vic and I truly run the label together, you know? We have different tastes but very similar tastes as well. Sometimes we can hear things and just know immediately whether or not it’s something we want to put out. As cliché as this will sound, we definitely have ears for “good music”. Sometimes even though something is really good, it doesn’t always translate into sales. That’s something we’re thinking about for the future; potentially making some release just digital releases versus full blown vinyl releases, etc. If there are tracks of his or mine that we’re thinking about putting out, we usually will give each other feedback; “Hmm change this, edit this, idunno about this one bro.. or yes this is really dope we should put this out”. If it’s other artists whom have made submissions to the label, we are very open and will definitely listen. Sometimes he likes things that I haven’t and vice versa, but we both have to agree on everything that goes out on the label. With the artwork, we always allow Adriana to take the reins as we offer little to no insight besides the info about the release. I think it allows her to push herself to be as creative with those aspects as it’s her domain and Vic and I both dig what she has continued to do. I feel you can see her growth with her artwork similar to one is able to hear the growth with Vic’s and my productions. That’s the great thing about our label I think; we all have a mutual respectable for one another and talk about the direction in which we want things to go. We’re not big name chasing folks or trying to follow what’s supposedly hot. We’re legitimately about putting out what we feel is dope music regardless of whom it’s from accompanied by dope artwork.

9. Who is your favorite DJ and what is the best DJ set you’ve ever personally witnessed live?

a. This is tough question to be honest. As my very close friends give me shit about, I can never straight forward answer a question, there’s multiple layers as anyone whom is reading this interview has probably taken notice of. I’ve honestly seen a lot of great DJs, man. I think for me it depends on my state of mind, how I was feeling, etc. As far as favorite DJ; I just can’t concretely answer that question. I’ve witnessed so many dope genre crossing DJs over the years that I can’t truly say like “yes! So n’ so is my favorite”. That’s like asking me who’s in my top 5 all-time lyricists; there’s multiple layers to that question. I think that the best set I’ve personally witnessed was Ron Trent at Smart Bar, I believe it was 2009. I remember I was really going through a lot of personal things at the time and just needed to go out and release. Trent’s opening track was “Paradise Regained” and I just danced and felt the sweat and tears flow and the rest of the night was just dope. It was a testament to the power music can have on us and how the DJ really can feed off the crowd. It was almost like Ron knew what the hell I was going through and played every single track perfectly for what I needed. I can’t remember the event but I remember that night and it was exactly what I needed.

10. How would you describe your musical style?

a. My musical style is personal, introspective, ethereal, dark, and mysterious. These are all prevalent themes in my productions and my DJ sets.

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Check out Perpetual Rhythms here:


https://perpetualrhythms.bandcamp.com/

The post 10 Qs With Nick Marshall aka Taelue appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

May 27 2018

23:06

May 17 2018

14:56

DJ as Critic

This article is an interesting read and it made me consider the aspect of djing that was always the most captivating part of the whole operation. I think that being a dj (at least used to) put one into an inherently critical space by its very nature. Sure, you were kind of expected to “have a more creative relationship with the creator“ that this writer accuses the new form of fan-critics of having. But this was absolutely the whole point of being a dj.

It is, at its root, a creative act defined at once by both the inclusion of certain songs in your sets as well as the exclusion of others. The power to “break” a record to a group of people simply by playing it at the appropriate time and place would seem to be the envy of the critic in any other art form. In fact, it can be viewed as the theory of criticism’s true praxis.

Djing also allows possibly the most well targeted kind of criticism possible. Unlike the film reviewer whose opinion is broadcast out into the world via a newspaper read largely by people who don’t care one way or the other about film, djing can be specific from a general radio audience down to the most underground of events full of nothing but the most educated of dancers and listeners.

For me, though, the best part of djing as criticism is its immediacy. It is basically a gut reaction from the dj when they are selecting the music to play, and the response to it from the crowd is also known in real time. Instead of pissed off letters to the editor, a selection that is rejected by the dancers is met with an emptying dance floor. And that reaction can be based on so many factors that can be weighed very quickly. Anything from “I don’t like this chord progression” or “that bass sound is annoying” to “this is just not music for the culture I am representing” can be a discounting factor for either the dj or the dancers.

This is in direct opposition to the written word criticism of dance music where it seems to me that there is more effort given to convince the audience of the qualities of something that in many cases just aren’t present. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a “critically acclaimed” track generate little energy on a dancefloor while one that all critics ignored set the floor on fire.

This was always the weakness of written criticism of dance music for me. I would read about some track that was described in breathless detail telling how amazing it was, and then I would hear it and…. my gut reaction was to make it stop. In terms of finding useful written words about dance music, guest review columns by actual djs in magazines tended to be the most useful. These were done by people who, whether they are consciously aware of it or not, are able to have a connection to a culture, evaluate the effectiveness of any piece of music for its purpose within that culture, and then test it out and get direct feedback on their process.

That sounds like a damn good critic to me.

Obviously not every dj was a top level independent mind capable of doing this well. But the best djs were using this process to get the best possible results even if they didn’t know it, and I think that is still true today. And ironically, those same djs who excel at this are often times ignored by the written critics. I’m not sure why that is. But the dancefloor knows what is what.

The post DJ as Critic appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

May 16 2018

02:51

EXCURSIONS DETROIT 2018

Every Memorial Day Weekend, the world of dance music converges on Detroit to pay homage to the city’s long heritage and musical traditions. Deep in the underground a party called Excursions draws people from all walks of life for it’s annual Memorial Day event; to celebrate dance music and her culture. The party is the brainchild of long time Chicago DJs Cordell Johnson and James Vincent.

Excursions was created in Chicago spring of 2010 by the duo to give themselves a creative outlet in which they could curate an event according to their vision. Johnson says it’s simple, unpretentious atmosphere, fine tuned sound, and DJs who can play anything. The aesthetic gives for a party only found in the midwest, with lost inhibitions, and music so far off the radar you cannot help but move.

At the time the party was created Johnson says Chicago was at a low point for soulful house music. He and Vincent saw an opportunity to fill a void, and that is what they did. Staying true to their vision and sound Excursions has made a deep impact on the Midwest underground. In doing so their event has become a pillar which people far and wide look to them for inspiration.

Excursions Detroit was born from their concept in Chicago. It could not have been at a more opportune time as well. Johnson had started out hosting events with Detroit’s legendary DJ Rick Wilhite during DEMF. Wilhite started to receive bookings from other promoters. This left Johnson on the sidelines waiting. Knowing he could play and had his own vision he decided to take a shot at hosting his own affair.

Partnering with local Detroit DJ’s Marcellus Pittman, Taz of Gruv Detroit, and Kevin Dysard of Got Mixes. The team came up with a concept that had filled a large void and has now become easily one of the most anticipated parties of Movement weekend. The group’s back to basics approach of hosting their event has proved to be highly successful. It has now become recognized as one of the parties of the festival for soulful underground dance music.  

2018’s edition they are not holding back, delivering yet another stacked night and morning of solid dance music. On the bill this year are two talented live PA’s, Hieroglyphic Being and Radius, from Chicago. Both artist’s music runs to the obscure but always soulful. Likewise, Excursions residents Marcellus Pittman, Taz, Loftsoul aka Uchikawa, Cordell Johnson, and James Vincent will provide an atmosphere that is untouched by most events Movement weekend.

With years of experience between the five of them, there is no wonder the level of energy is so high when they begin to tag back and forth. Their versatility, range, and depth of music allows them to take the audience on a journey between disco, funk, soul, techno, house, and back again. The minute you embark on this ride you will realize you are on an Excursion.       

The event takes place Sunday May 27, 2018 at Baltimore Gallery 314 East Baltimore Ave Detroit, MI 48202. Admission is $20.00 before midnight and $15.00 with and Excursions t-shirt. From 10pm until 6am, dress to sweat because this one is going hot and heavy all night.

https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1069797

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April 23 2018

21:13

You Booked Your Homie For Your Party And That’s Why It Was Whack…

How many times have you gone out to that party with a “dope lineup” expecting to have a brilliant night only to come back home wanting something different or something more? How many times have you seen the DJ that should actually be playing at the party watching just like everyone else? Yeah me too, millions of times now. The new standard isn’t about who can actually play it’s about who can generate the most likes on social media and convince promoters they are cool enough to get kids to attend the event. Now I know a good amount of people are going to be offended by what I am writing, and in return I’ll just say sometimes the truth hurts but indeed it must be said.

It’s understandable that promoters would want to attract as many people as possible to their events, but simply booking someone because they are your friend (who can’t bang, has terrible taste in music, and will ruin the event because of it)  will play for fifty dollars, and a drink tab. Here’s why it’s whack, you for the prospect of saving a few dollars have compromised your party with bad music, bad programming, and bad talent. Just because your friend can bring twenty five people through the door doesn’t mean he or she should be playing. Make them a Goddamned host; I promise those twenty five people will still come out.

Often times promoters do what is comfortable and easy just to ensure they will make a profit. This does nothing for the scene except line their pockets. How many times can you see the same headlining DJ in one year? Just because that big DJ is your friend doesn’t mean you have to host them seven consecutive years in a row on the same weekend every year. There is far more talent out there that should be heard. If you are one of these promoters who books the same talent year after year, you are either tone deaf, have no flavor, or afraid to try something different. I’d say if you feel as strongly about your brand as you say you do then surely you believe that you have enough trust of your following to bring anyone you feel.

Yes I understand that hosting parties is a risk, and a business as well. However, it is about showing people something that is unfamiliar, something that is uncomfortable. When you decide to take these variables away the events become stale. The freshness of something mystical is lost. Let’s get back to basics and start taking chances again. After all that’s what the Underground has always been about.

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March 20 2018

23:26

March 15 2018

13:04

Records I Didn’t Even Know I Had

I’m starting something of an organization of my record collection. First and foremost is weeding out all the shit that needs to be sold (something I highly recommend doing every few years as it becomes much more of a pain if you wait longer, especially if you have a lot of records), thus freeing up space. The process of going through my records to pull these out has unearthed records I didn’t even know I had and also confirmed the disappearance of some records I KNOW FOR SURE that I had. This post is about the former.

https://youtu.be/cYkb2nKnZWE Video can’t be loaded: St Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Masters at Work Dub) (https://youtu.be/cYkb2nKnZWE)

St. Etienne “Only Love Can Break Your Heart (MAW Dub)”

I’m not even 100% sure where this came from. Maybe a gift from my friend Eric Justin? Regardless, I knew I had the other St. Etienne with MAW mixes (“Nothing Can Stop Us” which did not survive the cull), but apparently I also had this. And it looked as tho it was never played before. A nice classic to just have now, lol. MAW took their nom de guerre very seriously, because they are masters and they put in serious work.

https://youtu.be/vRam9qfOsEk Video can’t be loaded: Francois K – FK EP – Hypnodelic (https://youtu.be/vRam9qfOsEk)

François K “Hypnodelic”

Another one that I have zero clue where it came from. I’m guessing maybe when I bought a bunch of records from an old friend back in like 07 or so? I can see why this didn’t really resonate with me at the time with the almost progressive sounding vibes. But the soul shines through for me now, and I dig it.

https://youtu.be/nHE1zvC_-QQ Video can’t be loaded: THE B-52’s – Tell It Like It T-I-Is (MK Underground Mix) 1992 (https://youtu.be/nHE1zvC_-QQ)

The B-52s “Tell It Like It I-I-is (MK Underground Mix)”

Now this one I do now recall getting. Years and years ago I went to a local shop with a huge unruly room full of 12”s armed with a list of MK remixes and tried find as many of them as I could, buying the best of the best. I’m still banging out some of my fav of the lesser known ones and I’m not gonna tell you about all of those. But this one somehow got in the bunch and never made it into my rotation or my discogs collection and then was trapped behind piles of records leaning against other piles of records. Anyway, this one isn’t super special but it’s a good version of that deep garage bump that MK is known for. This joint has now officially been welcomed into the collection.

France Joli “Your Good Lovin”

Now that I am thinking about it, I believe this came from a bit of vacation digging at a small lake town a few hours north of Pittsburgh. I came across an old shop that had a room full of 12”s and I cleaned out all the dope shit over a few hours and paid maybe $0.20 per 12”, including many rare and dope joints. I’m guessing I bought this on the strength of Darryl Payne and Eric Matthew’s names listed for production (no listening station at the spot unfortunately) and then missed that and listened only to the far weaker flipside when I got home. It immediately went into the discard pile. Thankfully I checked all those before getting rid of them. Really lovely sexy boogie shit right here.

The post Records I Didn’t Even Know I Had appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

March 07 2018

14:00

REPRESS PLEASE!!!!!

ALERT ALERT!!!!!!!

Hey frustrated DJ….

Do you often find yourself in the discogs comment section for a recent release that came out only a few months ago saying things like “REPRESS PLEASE!!!!”, begging these ungrateful labels to just press a few more copies so you can get your greasy hands on one and be the envy of your social clique? If so, I am here to help you with a easy to follow plan.

Step 1: have style

Step 2: have taste

Step 3: stay aware of new records in the genres and subgenres that fit your taste and style

Step 4: purchase said records that apply to step 3 as soon as they come out, paying no more than standard retail price

Step 5: play DJ sets that make other people sweat YOUR selections because you are on top of things and have good taste and a cool style

Sure, this seems easy enough, but there are some pitfalls to watch out for as well!

DO NOT sit around scouring the internet looking for mixes by and playlists of your favorite DJs’ sets. This is especially annoying when in the comments section you are demanding TACK ID PLEASE so someone else can do the work for you to rip off your favorite DJ. If your style is “whatever I already heard Hyped DJ XXX play on Boiler Room/RBMA/Rinse FM/Red Light Radio”…. YOU HAVE NO STYLE. And also, you’re mad late.

DO NOT fall for the discogs price traps created by everybody else sweating the same damn records you all heard from listening to these online sets. You’re a sucker if you’re paying $50 for a record that just came out simply because it has been co-signed by whatever “cool” DJ you are trying to emulate. If somehow you discover a record that you missed despite following my simple plan, and it has already suffered from discogs inflation, you have two choices. Pony up for the inflated second hand price (if the track means that much to you, what is spending a little bit of money on it?) and get the record you so desperately need, or STFU. Easy peasy.

Lastly, if all of this sounds too complicated, there is an even easier solution. Quit pretending to be a DJ by biting other peoples’ style and go do something else with your time. Knock yourselves out.

This has been a public service announcement from infinitestatemachine. You may now resume whatever the fuck it is you were doing before. Peace.

The post REPRESS PLEASE!!!!! appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

March 05 2018

14:30

10 Qs with Volcov

Volcov in the mix

Enrico Crivellaro aka Volcov is a cat whose music and labels I have been buying for basically my entire time in dance music, stretching back nearly twenty years. Neroli is in my opinion the strongest house music record label in Europe, and usually ends up being the trigger that forces me to do an overseas record order. You’ll recognize a number of Neroli jams in my year end lists, including last year which was incredibly strong for the label. In fact, it was only recently that it occurred to me that despite this fact even *I* had maybe been sleeping how strong his whole catalogue is.

His labels Archive and Neroli have both been home to a number of classics. His edits have been staples in the sets of some of the best disco and funk DJs. His own productions have been very strong, especially the Rima album he made with Domu which still features in many of my own DJ sets and rate as classics in my book. His compilations focus on strong music with soul and funky rhythms, not rarity.

There really isn’t anything in this world (lol) of dance music he hasn’t tried his hand at and done successfully. Despite this, he remains a humble, chill cat who keeps churning out quality. Enrico seems content to let the music speak for itself, but I was curious to know more so he was the first person I hit up to christen our new 10 Qs interview series. I am very happy that he was down to share with us. He also dipped deep into his personal archive (lol again) for a few photos from the parties he has been involved with over the years.

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How did you get into music and what age did that occur?

*classic stuff: started buying few records [mainly hip hop] at around 14, some friends had turntables and i got hooked….bought few chicago house things the following years [including Mr Fingers ‘what about this love’] and that was it!

Who is your favorite DJ, and what is the best DJ set you’ve ever witnessed live?

*my fave after all these years is still Theo Parrish by miles….for the selections and proposing certain type of songs in certain moments…playing things like D’angelo or Hiatus Kaiyote in the middle of the night for example..…a for a single set: i have a great memory of Ron Trent’s set at a Rush Hour/Somewhere in Amsterdam event from a 2-3 years ago though! Also witnessed quite few Sadar Bahar’s crazy sets…

Where do you find more inspiration, digging for old music or discovering new music?

*i do enjoy both worlds..…buying jazz and fusion album in stores as well as looking for new ambient or soul on bandcamp really. In general i get a good kick from discovering some new music, but i’m not obsessed with it. A new record to ‘enter the bag’ ideally has to be as strong as an older one.

Kaidi Tatham and Seiji at Pergola in Milano circa 2000 or so

How do you prepare for one of your DJ sets?

*i listen to the newest things i recieve or buy in the car….best way to ‘learn’ your tunes in my opinion…and then i present them over the weekend mixed with some other records that have been on rotation over the years. I’m a bit picky with what i play i have to say, so certain things stay in the bag for long.

What is the difference in purpose of your labels Archive and Neroli, and is there any plan to release more on Archive?

*Archive was way more conceptual and was inspired by A.R.T., OP.Art, Retroactive, B12…basically labels i was religiously collecting, so the idea was to have a label that could release music that people would collect without regretting in the future…..Neroli came a couple of years later as a more housey project…i tried to get some of the artists i used to have on Archive to do some house cuts or tracky based material….over the years Neroli became more organic and eclectic and i dont see much difference now. Nothing planned on Archive for 2018 so far, while plenty due on Neroli [Trinidadian Deep & Lars Bartkuhn, Alton Miller and Specter/Jose Rico Our Own Organization will the next ones].

What is your favorite record you’ve released as a producer? On your label (by any artist)?

*mmm of my own tracks i’m not so sure…i like certain tracks on the Rima album [with Domu] and a couple on the Isoul8 ones, but i dont really make much music anymore.
On Neroli i guess all Dego releases are really special, but I also have a soft spot for Trinidadian Deep ‘Oruns Jam’ and Latin Soul Brothas ‘Peace ‘n Strenght’.

What is your local Italian scene like, and what is your relationship with it?

*i think its pretty alive with some young djs with fine taste in music, like i guess a bit everywhere nowadays. It opened up to good music in many cities. In my own city we’re trying to build a little community around our Go-To monthly party where i play with my friends Patrick Gibin and Native. We have guests from time to time, it’s still growing but the musical output is really consistant. Also we have a really nice radio here in Verona called Rocket Radio where i do some long redundant jazz/ambient radio shows called ‘from the Archive’. Ornella and Sounds Familiar are based in Roma, although i guess is more of an international entity. I was never part of the main italian dance scene to be honest, not much back-patting to the big djs from my side. I always been part of the more alternative club circuit: i used to have some Archive parties in the late 90s in a squat called Pergola in Milano where we had people like Dego [several times], Phil Asher, Kaidi Tatham, Seiji, Recloose, Ian O Brien, Chateu Flight, Alex Attias, Titonton, Nubian Mindz and so on, but certainly it was pretty underground.

Dego at Pergola in Milano circa 2000

What is it about soulful music that has kept it at the forefront of what you do for over twenty years?

*ahaha i dont know, i always bought, played or released music that for me had a certain flavour, that gave me a buzz without really following a certain tag or category….i was never really cynical in my musical preferences….in general i always been more interested in the more musical things rather than beats/drums.

Tell me what you think the future of soulful dance music looks like…

*i dont really know…i think at the moment there’s far too much attention to reissues and not enough quality new music on the dance tip, at least for my taste. Plenty of fresh new jazz records etc, but not many inspiring house records for example. Or least for me. I hope kids will leave the edits alone and will go back to make some fresh beats.

What are your favorite things to do outside of music?

*outside of the music thing, i try spend most of my time with my family. As an italian I have of course a strong interest in food and wine.

The post 10 Qs with Volcov appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

March 04 2018

18:43

New Feature: 10 Qs

Over the years, our interviews have been some of the most revisited posts on infinitestatemachine. As much as I loved doing those extensive phone chats, the transcription and editing of them was truly one of my least favorite things I have ever done in my life.

After doing a little ten questions email interview with Kai Alcè last year for 5 Mag which turned out well, my desire to introduce more people to the underground characters I know was rekindled. This format of interview is much easier to do and turn around, so I will be able to do many more of them and be able to share the love by including less well known cats along with the names that define this music.

The interviews will go like this: I will send ten questions, and the interviewer can reply in however much detail they like. I will keep their answers exactly as they send them back to me. A few more general questions will be reused across different interview subjects, but each will also have personalized questions that I hope will show some of their personality and ideas that make them interesting. I will also ask for some photos to add to the post which can be of the interviewee or not, entirely up to them.

I’ve already heard back from the first group I asked to be part of this, and they were all down with it. The first one will drop tomorrow morning. I hope you all enjoy them.

The post New Feature: 10 Qs appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

February 28 2018

14:30

Some Recent New Records

These jams are where my mind is residing in early 2018….

https://youtu.be/QTmVbtkDjuc Video can’t be loaded: Marcellus Pittman – Can’t Forget About You (https://youtu.be/QTmVbtkDjuc)

Marcellus Pittman “Revenge For Nothing” Unirhythm 12”
Marcellus Pittman “Can’t Forget About You” Unirhythm 12”

It’s been a hot minute since Marcellus dropped a new record, and here come two within a month of each other. The “Revenge For Nothing” jam fits into the minimal Pittman acid banger school, but isn’t really my favorite example of it. The flipside “Red Dogon Star”, however, is total insanity. I first heard this when Theo Parrish dropped it at his Sound Gallery 7 party last September, and it sounded like some strange ass alien funk techno.

For my purposes, the purple record is the overall stronger of the two releases. All three jams here are really lovely, leaning more towards that warm funky end of his style. “Can’t Forget About You” is a nice little groove that relies on electric piano, a nice bassline, and a chopped vocal sample. Nothing groundbreaking in many ways, but the execution is exceptional and the vibes are right. “All Is Love” keeps djs on their toes with the crazy drum edits, while the instrumentation wouldn’t sound out of place on Theo’s Sketches album. “Creepy Crawlers 2” juxtaposes a menacing beat and bass sound with playful and soulful keys. All in all a very strong EP for listening and playing in sets.

https://youtu.be/7JPJSMVyW-U Video can’t be loaded: Volcov presents Isoul8 – On My Heart [Kai Alcé remixes] (NERO040) [Preview] (https://youtu.be/7JPJSMVyW-U)

Volcov presents Isoul8 “On My Heart (Remixes)” Neroli 12”

Long time ISM readers will not be surprised by the excellence of Kai Alcè’s remixes here, nor the overall quality level of Neroli which is consistently the best European house music label in my opinion. But still, music like this is always a welcome addition to the conversation. “Delvyn’s Groove” mix is the big one here for me, lacing Paul Randolph’s vocals from the original early 00’s Isoul8 track with soulful Rhodes and strings for an instantly anthemic feel that I will be beating to death for a long while. The “KZR Blazed Vocal” is a more lush synthy version, which in a very rare occurrence for me is a second remix also quite likely to get play in addition to the one I prefer. I have zero sympathy for those afraid to drop bad ass vocal cuts in their sets, so the Instrumental of that mix is not even necessary but it’s here if you need it. An old spoken word Isoul8 jam with Osunlade on keys is also included for a little bonus.

https://youtu.be/WJnHgL45x2s Video can’t be loaded: ABACUS – BASIC AMOUNTS (IM-002) (https://youtu.be/WJnHgL45x2s)

Abacus “Basic Amounts” Innermoods 12”
James Duncan “Untitled” Innermoods 12”

Also no stranger to the ISM crew, James Duncan has been keeping that deep Prescription style house vibe alive for over a decade and a half. His previous label Le Systeme had many dope releases before he pulled the plug on it, but now he is back with his new Innermoods label and both of the initial releases fit right in with his aesthetic. The big news here is the return of Austin Bascom aka Abacus, known for releases on some of the best house music labels ever like Prescription, Guidance, Fragile, and more. While his style has been endlessly aped over the years, the original is always gonna be superior and that deep hypnotic soulful vibe is a timeless one done up very classic on “Basic Amounts”. James also brings it on his two tracker, with the inner cut’s strings a testament to simplicity’s effectiveness. It turns out that old dogs don’t need new tricks when they have such deft craftsmanship in their toolboxes.

Q’D’ “Pure Amethyst” Wild Oats 12”

This one is too new to appear on YouTube, so you’ll have to go check out samples here. I’ve generally been really feeling Wild Oats over the past two years or so, both musically and aesthetically. Kyle Hall has really done an excellent job building his label into one that I trust as much as any other label right now. For this record, he debuts a new artist Q’D’ aka Caron Miller from Detroit and it is a very nice first record. It’s all about the A side “Pure” for me, with its arpeggios gently riding a drum machine pulse before lush chords fill out what is a simple but beautiful track. “Amethyst” on the B side goes for a rougher feel and makes for a perfect contrast. Together on the beautiful translucent purple vinyl (and I am not generally a fan of colored vinyl!), this is a really striking record both visually and sonically.

Jason Hogans “Work The Terminals EP” Moods & Grooves 12”

Having first heard Jason’s music on a now nearly twenty year old 12” on Planet E, his return was long overdue and came not a moment too soon. Typically a remix by Andrés would be the highlight of most records, but not this one. It’s a fine example of his style but not as inspired as his previous outings on M&G. On this record the originals shine brightest. “Sue” features the vocals and bass playing of Paul Randolph (low key beasting this set of reviews) on a quirky love song. The title track “Work The Terminals” is clearly a modern twist on that late 90s early 00s Planet E sound that I honestly can’t get enough of. Straight machine funk house music of the highest order. In fact, both originals would work well in a mix with Recloose’s Cardiology LP, which is some of the highest praise I can give to new music. I can only assume that people are sleeping on this record since it’s not on YouTube, but since you read this now you have zero excuse.

The post Some Recent New Records appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

February 26 2018

15:02

Some Thoughts on Dance Music Journalism

I’m kind of combining some of my tweets from this morning into this post. If you don’t follow me on there I am @pipecock not surprisingly. I am more consistent in posting there than here even now so follow me if you don’t.

Read this transcription of an interview with Chuck Klosterman.

Klosterman is kind of a tool but has some interesting insights here on criticism and especially the criticism of music in 2018. I think dance music was actually way out ahead of the curve in the trend he talks about putting the context etc before the content. And this is why for years I’ve read these articles that make music sound revolutionary and then I hear it and it’s a boring ass techno song.

All we have now in dance music is writers breathlessly pronouncing the cultural importance of boring ass throw away garbage music. And if you disagree with that…. you’re irrelevant. And this ties into the part at the end of the transcript there that describes how being knowledgeable used to mean actually, you know, knowing about shit that happened before. And despite all the overabundance of reissues, that hasn’t changed that aspect of dance music writing. At best you’ll have writers breathlessly telling you how amazing and important some record that literally nobody heard was (like Charanjit Singh “inventing acid house” lolololol) and I mean what the fuck even is the point of that.

What you really don’t have in dance music writing is people who have some knowledge of history and some taste in music who can use these points of view to synthesize some kind of useful form of criticism from all of it. Like when I see some new artist hyped to death, my thoughts are: what is this writer’s history that leads me to believe that they know what is good at all in order to be making this distinction in the first place. And the answer is almost always “nothing”.

But the end result of this is not to find a wider audience for quality music that audience might otherwise not hear. The goal is to elevate an artist to the festival circuit of djing so they can get the big performance money their PR dollars have paid for. If you think about the dance music media in this context, everything makes sense.

The post Some Thoughts on Dance Music Journalism appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

February 16 2018

17:36

Some of My DJing Tendencies

Fall of 2017 marked twenty years since I first purchased turntables, and sometime earlier in the year, twenty years of buying dance records. This year will be two decades since my first gigs playing records in front of the general public. Thanks to starting a LONG overdue organization of my records (they have never been organized in any way before), I’ve been going through the collection to separate styles and pull out joints to sell off and it has given me an interesting look at some of my general DJing and music buying tendencies that surprisingly haven’t changed too much over the years.

The first thing I noticed is that overall, my buying has mostly stood up well to the test of time. I was regularly rediscovering records I purchased early in my DJing days that I had totally forgotten about and they were quite dope. And very few records over the years that I purchased as new records are getting moved to the “sell” pile for musical reasons (most of that pile is for used thrift store records I couldn’t listen to beforehand that were $0.25 so worth a risk). But the specifics were even more interesting.

In a general sense, my favorite kind of music has a balance between funky and soulful elements and more experimental and textural elements. My love for Theo Parrish, hiphop, Anthony Shakir, and jazz music are obvious examples that illustrate this perfectly. Not every record I like will walk that line, and it seems that there’s a clear limit in terms of how much my record buying deviates from that line. My taste seems to consistently prefer something soulful or funky over something more strictly experimental by a large margin. For every ambient album I have, I probably own one hundred soul albums or more. When thinking about my listening habits, this seems to fit right in. This brings me to techno.

I have long considered myself a fan of techno music, and it seemed to me like it was for a good reason: I like techno. But having looked through almost all of my records, I can now see that this is not really true in the sense of how most people think about techno and house. I own basically zero looped up drums techno bangers. The closest thing to minimal techno in the strict sense are records by DBX, Robert Hood, and Basic Channel, all of whom tend to be amongst the funkiest sounding minimal techno. The rest of it is heavily melodic Detroit and Chicago techno, along with some of Laurent Garnier’s hits (Man With The Red Face, Acid Eiffel, etc). And it tends to be slow enough that it fits in with house tempo, which is realistically how I play as a DJ.

If I consider this techno to be more of an offshoot of house music, it makes a lot more sense. I don’t buy one slim subgenre of house, I buy across a range of years and styles that cover much ground. Some of the extremes might not even sound similar at all (Robert Hood vs Osunlade? lol) but I can easily draw a line between them and across a number of other records so that they wouldn’t sound odd in the same set. Now this dot connecting is an idea in my DJing that I have been conscious of for a long time, but it also allows for another tendency of mine that I’ve become more aware of recently and I can now see has also been present basically the entire time I’ve been playing records for people.

Due to having so many different possibilities within my usual DJing style, I tend to try to find equilibrium with what’s going on in dance music on both a micro and macro level. Let me explain. If I am DJing a night with other “house” type DJs, my natural instinct is to give the dancers something they aren’t already getting from the other DJs. If they are playing lots of drum machine and synthesizer music, I will play more live instruments and unquantized drums. If they are playing fast, I will play slower. If they are only playing four on the floor with a heavy foot, I will play off kilter rhythms. I would say that so far, taking this approach is consistently rewarded. I’m always going to play a variety of sounds, but it’s more interesting to give people some of what they don’t already know they want. This is what I would call a micro level, within one event.

On a macro level, my awareness of what trends are happening and what kind of music is popular in specific places makes me want to give people something different than what they’re already hearing. When I am playing a club known for a style, you can pretty much guarantee that I’m going to push away from that style a lot. Like I’m not going to drop modern Brooklyn techno at Bossa Nova Civic Club. I’m gonna play Brazilian music and gospel house. And this is something I’ve done going all the way back to some of my earliest gigs. I remember playing at Steel City Jungle in late 1998 at a time when Ed Rush and Optical and music like that was huge. I played jazzy and funky jungle instead.

Successful DJing for me has always looked a certain way, and that can be described as balanced and timeless. I’m never going to play a set of all one subgenre. Acid seems to be quite popular for this, but for me acid is a spice to be used sparingly mixed in with other sounds. Juxtaposition between light and dark sounds, drum machines and live percussion, vocals and instrumentals, fast and slow, old and new, four on the floor and broken beats, known and unknown, etc. is way more important to me than a smooth transition between records that sound similar to each other. I’ve been playing music in this way since I started, and it is the one constant. Listening back to my old recorded sets, the only thing that can date them is the presence of whatever the newest record on them is, not of their general sound or relying on a subgenre which was only popular for a short period of time.

So I supposed I can say I’ve been successful in my aims, and that is totally reflected in how my record collection looks. And the artists and labels who are most heavily represented in my collection are the ones who have a large amount of variety within their catalogs.

I’m looking forward to cutting out some of the collection that isn’t carrying its weight, and that’s something that probably should be done to any collection every couple years at most. But I don’t foresee any difference in my approach as this one has achieved results I am quite happy with in terms of music to listen to and music to DJ with.

The post Some of My DJing Tendencies appeared first on InfiniteStateMachine.

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