I got the chance to play the regular Mixology night at Gabe’s in Iowa City, and for the past few weeks I’ve been collecting tracks I wanted to play and fiddling around with a DJ setup for them in Live. I had two impulses — play current and current-ish music that I like, and to collect some of my all-time favorite tracks. I was also mercilessly stealing ideas from other DJs. I grabbed the “The It” tracks (actually Larry Heard) on Thomas Cox of Pittsburgh Track Authority’s recommendation, and the Boards of Canada remix I heard in a mix by Aidan O’Doherty.
But tracks like those by Moodymann, DBX, Basic Channel, and DJ Pierre are ones that everyone played fifteen or twenty years ago, and among the first that I got to recognize when other DJs played them. The DJ I opened for, RAfrika wasn’t even born when some of those tracks came out. But I figure if they worked in 1996, they’ll work now and the kids dancing will never have heard them.
One track that always gets me: Patrice Rushen “Haven’t You Heard?” Larry Levan did the edit, but a lot of people first heard its musical DNA in the Daddy’s Favorite track “I Feel Good Things For You.” Always like playing the original of something sampled on a big track.
This is the last Noise Radio show of the Spring 2014 Semester. After a break, Vince Woolums will be back for the summer, and we aren’t sure what’s up for the fall. As Vince & Mike & I get busy, we’re having trouble finding other guests to help cover Saturday nights. It’s a tough time to have a radio show if you go out Saturday nights.
But anyhow, this show is a bunch of different tracks I’ve found over the past few months, though it’s almost all in the straight-up Techno and House vein, moreso than my other mixes. Enjoy!
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/2014-05-03-Chaircrusher-KRUINoiseRadio.mp3|titles=Noise Radio 2014-05-03,artists=chaircrusher]
This week’s mix focuses mostly on 3 new releases: Autechre’s L-system, Estroe’s Comfort And Closure, and FourTet’s Beautiful Rewind.
Autechre is perhaps the most resolutely inacessible group to ever acquire a dedicated fan base; their music challenges listeners to find a new way to hear music. My thought while I was playing on the radio was that there were drunk people riding around Iowa City last night after the football game wondering what had gone wrong with their radio. I love that, but obviously it is an acquired taste.
Estroe (aka Esther Roozendaal) is a Dutch producer and DJ who has a long association with Eevolute/Eevonext Recordings, Stefan Robbers’ seminal Dutch techno label. This new album is a triumph; she has always been a gifted producer, but Confort and Closure manages to be both a great dance floor and a great listening record. FourTet’s Beautiful Rewind is yet another of his releases that finds him exploring his own sonic world; it’s tangent to popular dance music — a DJ can play his tracks out, some of them to devastating effect — but not contained or limited by it. I also include his remix of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”. NAW (Neil Wernick)’s new SUB BUS is a remarkable piece of music. Dub techno has an awful lot of tracks that sound the same. Neil finds something new and dramatic with this release — it’s spiky, chaotic and still funky.
Kid606 has been messing with the bounadaries of popular electronic music for over a decade now, and every album has at least something unexpected about it. The new album Happiness does something really strange in taking House Music and slowing it way down (to below 90 BPM from its customary 120 BPM), and employing sunny, naive major chord melodic material. There’s a feeling that each track is a jam, though I’m not sure how exactly he’s jamming; the same sounds or notes collide and bounce off copies of each other.
For some reason, Ableton Live did not record the cross fader for this set, which is really odd; either that or I don’t understand the new-fangled way it manages automation. So the track sequencing was live, but I had to go back and re-draw all the cross fades as best I could. So this is a ‘live’ DJ mix only approximately.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-2013-10-26-NoiseRadio.mp3|titles=Noise Radio 2013-10-26|artists=Chaircrusher]
Another semester, another Noise Radio Show. Comprising mostly tracks I’ve been sent, either by the producer themselves or label promos. Plus several of my own productions. Hope it hangs together for y’all.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-2013-10-12-KRUI-Noise-Radio.mp3|artists=Chaircrusher|titles=KRUI Noise Radio 2013/10/12]
The 2 month gap since my last radio show means that a lot of new music has come out so this set has some ‘new’ stuff that’s a bit older than usual, and advance promos played after their release. No matter.
The two releases that are of particular note to the summer’s mood are http://www.bordercommunity.com/?p=5240 and Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest. This is a new BOC album after a long silence, and I think that it is a brilliant album, though the critical and fan reaction has been muted. This is, I think a result of BOC no longer being a musical surprise. But it stands on it’s own merits, and by the way did anyone say to Mozart “Another bloody symphony, when are you going to come up with something new?” It took me longer to come around to James Holden’s record — on first listen it seems pretty discursive and aimless. But on repeated listen there’s something that gets under my skin. “Blackpool Late Eighties” is a perfect standing wave of dream logic romanticism, using Kraut Rock loopiness to build a mood that takes flight. The musical equivalent of being hypnotized by clouds out a jetliner window.
Estroe’s collaboration with Nuno Dos Santos on Eevonext is interesting for breaking out of the techno mold, “Second Thoughts” is nearly beatless, moody, and uses bass to create a forboding mood. The always excellent FourTet shows up repeatedly, in three radically different tracks, including the trip-hop reimagining of Tori Amos’ “Unspoken.”
Detroit Electro veterans Aux 88 sent me a promo of their new EP, from which I chose the Detroit House track “Blue Love.” My revelatory discovery this summer is the Japanese techno producer Takuya Yamashita, whose track “Daybreak” is an instant classic of the emotive Detroit deep techno style.
Closing out, with a blast of low-fi techno from the last century, Joel Brindfalk’s “Great Dose Of Monotonous Techno”. Released under the name ‘Ü’ (try googling that), it is a time capsule from 1992, both in terms of production technique — Roland TR909, a synth or 2, and effects — but it has a deep connection to the new wave of lo-fi techno revivalists.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-2013-07-13-KRUISet.mp3|titles=Noise Radio KRUI 2013-07-13|artists=Chaircrusher]
The only thing the end of a college term means to me now is that the grad students in my office are scarce for a week or two, and we get a break on Noise Radio. But I tried to end the term on a high note, or at least a loud one.
I’ve noticed my tastes, at least for DJing, changing, in that more and more I crave things that are simpler and more straight ahead. I prevailed on my friend Tom Butcher to pull out some of the hard techno tracks he recorded in the 90s, that he’d sent me on a casette tape. I wore that tape out listening to it in my car, and luckily he’d rescued those tracks from DAT at some point. He also provided me with pre-release copies of his new record on Roam Recordings. so I used some of his oldest and newest music.
The irrepressible Shawn Rudiman has been releasing a backlog of his tracks digitally on Detroit Techno Militia. I took several tracks from the 4th volume. I’ve always been a fan of his live shows, and I’m frankly in awe with his ability to go into the studio and crank out so many high quality tracks. I don’t know when he sleeps.
Kataconda (Barry Ryan) is another guy who’s been going nuts putting out killer techno for a long time — he came to Iowa City and played at my ‘Off Seamus’ event concurrent with the 2002 SEAMUS conference for Electro-Acoustic music.
Bleupulp (aka Maxim Tanguay) is another prolific composer and the guy behind Pertin-nce net label, which has a huge catalog of mostly free, high quality music.
Andy Vaz produces his own intricately layered deep house from his base in Cologne, and Yore has graciously put me on their promo list. Two upcoming releases — a remix EP for his ‘Straight Vacationing’ album, and ‘My Love is 4Ever’ by Librah — are also featured here.
Along with those things, I’ve been trying to keep with my promo e-mails, and what Facebook friends are tipping, which accounts for the vocal pop I include in the mix. So maybe not 100% a techno purist, but hey, good music is good music, and I try to shoehorn in whatever’s making me happy at the moment…
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-NoiseRadio-2013-05-11.mp3|titles=Noise Radio KRUI 2013-05-11|artists=Chaircrusher]
New stuff, including several skimmed off the top of the promo avalanch in my inbox. Some older stuff — the Microlife tracks were resurrected by someone from the ashes of MP3.com. In honor of the date, I brought Nancy Reagan in for a cautionary message.
So this was a vinyl mix, which means it isn’t as perfect with respect to mixing as my Ableton Live sets. It’s more fun, and scarier, actually, and track ordering is more spontaneous. I did a few level adjustments and cut out the skips at the end of Mercedes Boy, but other than that it’s what went out over air and the radio, including skips in the Depeche Mode track…
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/2012-11-17-KRUI-DJ-Set.mp3|titles=2012-11-17 KRUI DJ set|artists=Chaircrusher]
… which takes things several different directions: John Tejada’s melodic Techno (which echoes/gives homage to The Black Dog’s late-90s sound), Dub techno sounds from DeepChord and Dom DuMoulin, the post-everything bass music of Deadbeat, and the incredible Dubstep/Cuban mashup from Mala.
I showed up and KRUI was dark, and there was nothing coming out of the studio to go out on the air. So I started up early, which accounts for the 140+ minutes of this mix. During my set I got onto Facebook to announce it, and the last DJ had left themselves logged in. I left a snarky message on his wall (isn’t that required?) and a few minutes later, he called the studio to tell me that he was going to come down to the station every Saturday night at eight to punch me in the face. So I have that to look forward to!
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/2010-10-20-Chaircrusher-KRUI-Show.mp3|titles=KRUI DJ Set 2012-10-20|artists=Chaircrusher]
Haven’t done a radio show since the spring, and had rather a backlog of interesting stuff that has been filtering in. Mr. DE from Detroit Ad– the man from ElectroFunk — Has a new album Sol+Mind which has an eclectic variety of tracks ranging from Prince-esque electro pop (Uh Oh) to R&B (Tonight) to Detroit House (All for Granted). Cooly G put out her album a few months ago on Hyperdub, and she’s a genre of her own. I got the entire Absoloop discography from Kevin Kennedy (aka FBK), Art Bleek is newish on the incomparable Eevolute label. Adam Jay did a IndieGogo campaign to release an EP and raise funds for exorbinant medical bills. I’ve included two tracks from the Mediastinum EP. The Orb just released an album of collaboration with Dub Reggae legend Lee Perry. And of course, I’ve induldged myself by including some of my own tracks from this spring and summer.
At KRUI, Joe couldn’t make his show, and apparently the guy that was supposed to play after me didn’t come, so this is a longish set — over 2 hours. Once again, I find it hard to gauge how much material to have available — I had 41 tracks cued up and actually got through 30-something.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-KRUI-DJ-Set-20120922.mp3|artists=chaircrusher|tracks=KRUI DJ Set 2012-09-22]
This is being played tonight (June 1 2012) on WNUR Radio’s long running Street Beat radio show in Chicago. Thanks to Max for the hookup.
Music-wise it’s my usual thrashing all over the map under the guise of eclecticism. Some Detroit, some UK Bass, some new Dutch Techno, Vince Watson, and my dubbed to frack slow-mo house version of a Desmond Dekker track.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-WNUR-DJ-Set.mp3|artists=Chaircrusher|titles=June 1 2012 WNUR Radio Mix]
This mix was delayed in posting to the blog because…I forgot it. It reflects some of my recent obsessions, including the new Burial EP Kindred which seems to reflect my mood right now in ways I can’t explain. It also is a bit more tilted towards techno than my mixes have been recently, because there’s a lot of good techno coming out. There’s also a lot of stuff that is roughly house and/or techno but comes from producers who a few years ago were thought of as Dubstep artists. But as Peter Kirn pointed out, there’s Dubstep and there’s “Dubstep” and no one who’s serious about good music wants to have anything to do with the latter.
[audio:http://cornwarning.com/xfer/2012-03-03-Chaircrusher-KRUI-DJSet.mp3|titles=2013-03-03 Chaircrusher KRUI DJ Set|artists=Chaircrusher]
Worth special mention: Cherie Pyne’s non-dance music track “Tender Steps” which is the closing credits music for the fantastic and fantastically depressing Canadian movie Crackie. I loved the song when I saw the movie; apparently the only way to get her music is to contact her directly — cheriepyn at gmail dot com. Cherie graciously sent me “Tender Steps” by e-mail. She’s also in the band Ledge’s Blast. She’s part of the whole separate musical world going on in Canada; I listen to the Canadian stations on XM Radio and often think that the Canadians that we know about in the USA aren’t necessarily the best, just the most ambitious and luckiest.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/2011-12-10-Chaircrusher-KRUI-DJ-Set.mp3|titles=KRUI DJ Mix 2011-12-10|artists=Chaircrusher]
I opened the night for Clancy, at the Blue Moose album release party for Iowania, Clancies new joint. You can listen/buy/download this on bandcamp here: http://iowania.bandcamp.com/. I did the mixing and mastering, and I’m a big believer in it.
I usually post a track list with my sets, but I’m too tired and have other stuff to do. So there’s some stuff you’ll recognize, some unreleased tracks from me & my friends, and a lot of tipsy effects tweaking. I selected the tracks by combining all the lower-bpm tracks from previous DJ sets, and I really like the sub-120-bpm territory.
I didn’t buy any new music in the past couple weeks, but Liz McClean Knight (aka Quantazelle) sent me e-mail about the new free compilation she’s releasing on her label SubVariant, Frequencity, and the day before David Powers sent me the promo for the new EP on Klectik, Back To The Islands by Synox. So I just figured out how to jigsaw that collection together, more or less. It ranges from 95 to 170 BPM, so some serious tempo creeping happens throughout. Not to mention the genre U Turns.
Full disclosure, Liz chose a track of mine for the last Subvariant comp Robohustlin, and I’ve had an artist crush on her ever since she played a show in Iowa City years ago. She does a lot of very interesting work in various capacities, from her music, to her electronic component jewelry, to the brilliant Electronic Musician’s Emergency Pack. Women are still relatively rare in Electronic Music, which truth be told is mostly a sausage fest, but the women who do get involved have something unique to offer.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-2011-11-05-DJSet.mp3|titles=2011-11-05 KRUI DJ Set|artists=Chaircrusher]
This mix is focused pretty tightly on a couple of upcoming releases – Elements Volume 3 by Sean Deason, and Panther Veil By NCW — and the very recent release by The Black Dog, LIBER DOGMA. It’s also one of the few mixes I’ve done that focuses on Techno almost exclusively. Though there’s plenty of the 4 on the floor beat that is techno’s hallmark, there’s other rhythmic grooves represented. I think that Techno is a feeling as much as it is a collection of common attributes, and these tracks represent a pretty wide range musically while staying true to that feeling.
The show itself was interesting because of a guest spot from DJ T, who played a short set of the sort of stuff I don’t really like — commercial ‘electro house’ — but it represents a generational difference. I thought T was a very nice guy, actually, so I don’t want the following to seem like I’m dissing him.
For anyone who’s been around dance music for a while — and I’ve been interested in it going back to the middle 1970s! — there’s always going to be stylistic breaks. I have a hard time getting into what’s currently popular with the 20-somethings, who don’t really know music that wasn’t made in the past 5 years. The current ‘it’ sound seems to be missing soul, and focuses on the least subtle and most ear-bleeding synth sounds. It seems to me that it’s immediate percursors are the music that I hated 10 years ago — poppy progressive house and commercial euro-trance. But I think it’s interesting that there’s a parallel underground scene, that the tracks in this set represent, that is every bit as current, and to me ismuch more musical, soulful, and durable.
But kids — what are you going to do with them. They like what they like. I’d like to think they can be taught about the history and ongoing relevancy of dance music going back 40 years or more, and I don’t think that calling what they like crap is a good way to start. I don’t want to be like middle aged people back in the 70s when I was a kid, holding tight to their Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey records.
[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-2011-10-22-DJSet.mp3|titles=2011-10-22 KRUI DJ Mix|artists=Chaircrusher]