I like architecture and urban planning, so you can see why I am intrigued by this lecture delivered from Gresham College (who has been all about talks open to the public since 1597 [!]) by Proffesor Thurley. This is totally one of those things you can put on and then walk away from, since there are only a few slides, and mostly a bunch of talking.
It traces the history of worker housing in Victorian Britain that sprung from the industrial revolution, but you will notice there are quite a few U.S. parallels, especially their take on light wells in the slums–the deleterious absence of which (amongst a gigantic amount of other basic things) was so famously documented in New York City by Jacob Riis in How the Other Half Lives (free and clickable, btw, through the Bartelby Project).
Here’s a video slideshow of some of Riis’ photos from New York City tenements (yeah, could not quickly find an online gallery with clickable thumbnails for those of us from the ADD generation *shrug*).
The second half–the “Splendor” bit– is about how London’s Italianesque architecture is a visual callback to the Renaissance Medici family, who so famously were both merchants and art patrons and basically shaped the architecture of Italy in doing so. Interestingly, London’s first futures markets rallied in pubs, which were razed to make way for London’s monuments to capitalistic wealth games and its financial center-ness.
Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday.
In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped.
The 2013 series of Wired Fridays in Chicago will be showcasing Chicago DJ-slash-promoters who have been passionately sharing their highly-specific tastes within their chosen branches of electronic music through their events, radio shows, workshops, and personal performances–albeit with the discerning eye of a curator who has been immersed in local musical culture long enough to be able to sift through the sand to find the gems.
What’s really exciting about this particular debut lineup is that every performer has contributed to Chicago’s electronic music culture in a very significant yet personal way over the years they’ve been in the industry. Unlike certain major festivals that seem to rely on headlining those global-trekking-performers who appeal to the most people to generate the highest revenue (and, if they get it down right, the festivals expand to other cities to repeat the template and income) these performers have chosen to work within and support specific communities, both musically and locally.
Friday, January 4, 20113
Striz, aka Ben Stroh, for instance is a dedicated member of the illmeasures collective that hosts unique electronic music events that can surprise, delight, and sometimes confuse their guests with their mix of live performance, video projection, crowd participation, and generally a Situationist-inspired, interactive space that can at some times conjure up an urban-based, toned down version of Burning Man. His DJ sets are equally eclectic and genre-bending, mixing funk grooves with downtempo, dup, breakbeat and instrumental hip hop.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Chicago-based Frankie Vega not only organized many showcases of underground electronic music in unconventional spaces (to rave reviews) he’s also a well-heeled producer of his own merit. While his DJ styles slinks between Chicago house, minimal, deep techno and acid, he’s made a name for himself through the patronage of labels like Kompute, A Squared, Blueline, Tora Tora Tora and Remains. You can find music from Frankie Vega on iTunes and beatport.com.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Chris Widman is a Chicago DJ that defies easy classification. As a host of the weekly radio program Abstract Science (celebrating 15 years in 2012), he is at the forefront of breaking new styles, brazenly crossing genres and re-contextualizing forgotten music into his vision that really seems to work. His DJ sets have the same philosophy, but less heady and more bass-y. http://abstractscience.net will keep you up to date.
Friday, January 25, 2013
With a unique ear for electronic music and international music, DJ Warp has become a staple DJ playing at many Chicago clubs and venues, including past residencies at legendary clubs such as Shelter, Smartbar and Sonotheque. In addition to playing music at venues like the Aragon Ballroom, the MCA, Navy Pier or Riviera, Brian was the very first DJ to ever play the Chicago Symphony Center. His cultural ramifications were not limited to simply performances, though–he has been involved with Chicago musical culture for some time, being a program coordinator for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture / Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
With an unique ear for the latest in abstract dance music and unusual in international music, Brian has been lucky to share the bill and support some of the world’s top touring talents of many styles including; Luke Vibert, Konono No.1, Art Of Noise, Four Tet, Femi Kuti, Basement Jaxx, Bebel Gilberto, Plaid, Manu Chao, Nicolas Jaar, Jamie Lidell, Talvin Singh, Prefuse 73, Amadou & Mariam, Biz Markie and Bassnectar just to name a handful. Brian looks to use DJing as another form of musical expression in an effort to continue his life mission of turning people onto damn good music. Visit facebook.com/djwarpchicago
Weekly: Every Friday
From: Jan 4, 2013 to May 24, 2013
Hours: 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Location: Chicago Cultural Center, Randolph Cafe
78 E. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
Yes, it’s by the BBC and they really go on about UK Garage at the end, but there are some real gems of insights and great interviews here. Set aside a few hours, even if you think you know the history of Chicago House. This one is really well done.
Remixing is a complex subject to approach, I’ll give it that. There’s intellectual property, collaboration, sampling, and legal licensing on the technical side. Then you’ve got to deal with what “covering” a song really means in the long term.
Originally the purpose of remixing was to tweak a song to appeal to different markets. It’s basically the same song, but with more elements to appeal to certain sub-groups. Like, “let’s add a steel lap guitar” to appeal the country market, but it’s still a pop song, but this time with steel lap guitar.
I can’t find the videos to prove my point right now, but it was two different Kelly Clarkson songs that were distributed to different markets. Anyway.
Back to remixing…so there’s this internal need on the part of the remixer (well, the good ones, at least) to maintain the original feel and structure, but then also their own take on it, to add to the novelty of doing something interesting with the general structure. It’s true in all remixes, and I’ve dug through many in my life as a DJ. Remixes are easy to do, but they’re not easy to do WELL.
My friend Bill Holland AKA Mr. Automatic took on a classic Giorgio Moroder track and brough it into the now with some tweaks here and there. And being an industry type, he knows what works and what doesn’t. However, I find his take on this track particularly good because it references the original, maintains the melodic content, and then is just professional in its handling of sounds. Check out both versions below.
Hi there! It’s been a minute since I popped up in your inbox, but you should be aware of some cool things. First off, this Saturday in Chicago, ATOM (Senor Coconut) and Tobias are playing to launch a new “electronic music education initiative and creativity cultivator” called Electronic Sound + Art Chicago (ESAC). The idea is to highlight interesting artists and bring a refreshingly sincere take on an increasingly scenester-and-PR-driven musical landscape.
ESAC’s opening choice of acts exemplifies their mentality. If you look at ATOM aka Uwe Schmidt’s discography, he constantly innovates, switches genres, collaborates, but he’s insanely talented and does it all extremely well. His early project, Atom Heart featured ambient / acid-tinged and atmospheric deep techno, and then he moves to Chile and decides to fuse an extremely German and dispassionate electronic act, Kraftwerk, with the sexy, soulful Latino music he’d immersed himself into, resulting in Senor Coconut. Hilarious and brilliant. More on Saturday is here.
OK, and the other bits of interesting things while I have you on the line… I’ve made a new paper toy called Sniffles the Frost Breathing Dragon that you can download, print and assemble, As Quantazelle I’ve contributed a classroom project and new interview for the second edition of The Digital Musician. Finally, I just DJed a wedding as a favor for some very cool friends who gave me pretty free reign, so I got to play some dance-rock, nu disco, funk, and stuff I haven’t usually played at gigs, which you can hear on Mixcloud.
Alrighty! Hope you’re well. I’m going to continue my Star Trek TNG marathon and zzz. Cheers!
Serving as a launch and fundraiser event for the new ELECTRONIC SOUND + ART CHICAGO (ESAC) organization, this Saturday will be the first in a series that takes a refreshingly sincere approach within an increasingly scenester and media-driven musical landscape.
This two-room multimedia extravaganza showcasing the Chicago/Midwest debut of ATOM™(Uwe Schmidt of Señor Coconut /Atom Heart fame) & Tobias.
It also features a couple surefire debut tag team spots (C.Widman vs Striz, DJ Warpvs F.Vega), as well as a second BEAT.SPACE room featuring performances culled from across Chicago’s varied electronic music community from the likes of Radius,Karl Meier, FMEL’s (((SONORAMA))), andTIME NICE (of dubscription). Presale tickets are available via Resident Advisor. The Viaduct Theater is located at 3111 N. Western.
Atom™ and Tobias Freund are veritable living legends of electronic music. Tobias began his career in the early ’80s, mainly using the pseudonym “Pink Elln”. He looks back on a long sequence of music making that has led him from mainstream pop to club music, and then onto the experimental and undefinable. Uwe Schmidt, better known as Atom™, has a similar musical background. He is most well known for his work under the Senor Coconut moniker, but has worked under dozens of other aliases, all with their own sound.
Atom™ and Tobias met around 1986, while both were still living in Frankfurt. The pre-techno scene was blossoming when they met in a studio. In 1990, Tobias was the engineer who helped mix and record Atom™’s first release ever. As a natural consequence, Tobias and Atom™ started to work together. Strangely, they collaborated not so much in a studio environment, but mostly playing improvised electronic music concerts. In 1992 they recorded one of the very first live techno recordings ever, the 12-inch “Elektroniikkaa”, which soon became an underground anthem.
Their paths would separate in the ’90s – Atom™ moving to Santiago de Chile; Tobias relocating to Berlin – but would reconnect on a live stage again in 2003 at Mutek Chile. Even with a 10 year performance separation, the reactivation worked perfectly and they decided to share the stage more often. They have been playing many concerts worldwide since the successful re-launch in 2003 (Berghain, The Bunker, Labyrinth), and we are excited to have their debut Midwest appearance coincide with the ESAC launch event!
He hides behind layers of avatars as a general rule (“Seven,” A faux-ly named Facebook account, etc) but the man behind the Chicago record label Chocolate Industries makes his personal tastes very well known, indeed. Take Push Button Object‘s IDM with a hard dose of hip hop, Half Dozen album. Co-released with IDM stalwart Schematic, it is IDM that takes the scenic route. It feels like hip hop, ala Merck via its Machinedrum releases. And then it goes straight local hip hop with releases by Chicago-natives The Cool Kids. To make a long story short, the man knows what he likes, and when it has that sticker of his brand, you will be assured it’s genuinely something he loves and wants to share with the world.
Now we arrive at Personal Space, Chocolate’s latest take on electronic soul in the form of a guest-curated compilation. Complete with the sound of a needle hitting the record, it’s definitely retro, but the soul factor seeps through, and the “electronic” part seems a given… it’s future-forward considering the time it was released, and it transports you to a time and place that, frankly, is one in which I wouldn’t mind owning a swinging bachelor pad, complete with the highest level hi-fi available.
And here’s the thing: it’s got SOUL. I hate to be the bearer of bad news to some, but to those of you that are die-hard fans of Deadmau5, Daft Punk, and that ilk exclusively, you’re missing the point. You’re being played.
Personal Space is educational, and it’s real. It comes from the heart of someone who knows things and wants to share. Sit down and listen, and imagine yourself in the space it creates. Let it move you, let it inspire you, and go from there.