As another year draws to a close I recently had the privilege of DJing the OpenGovChicago holiday party with my brother in decks, John Tolva. In preparation for the gig I recorded this set of classic-futurist-dancehall-pop. Farewell 2013 and all the best in 2014:
Here’s a blend of genres containing already blended genres. From electronic dub, to a series of tracks that wobble back and forth between hip-hop, dancehall and jungle, to pop-undergroud mashups, this mix, featuring tracks by Wildlife, Disrupt, Goulet, Krinjah, Vinyl Blight and more, is all over the map. Just how I like it!
Download: DJ C “The Blends” ->
Or listen on Mixcloud:
When I heard M.I.A. was performing at the Superbowl halftime show it was almost compelling enough to get me to tune in for that oh-so-overblown of American past-times. I didn’t, partly because I knew if there was anything interesting to see it’d be all over YouTube before you can say YouTube.
Sure enough, the most talked about aspect of the Super Bowl this year — besides Clint Eastwood’s ode to American sticktoitiveness — was M.I.A.’s middle finger. It doesn’t sound very interesting on the surface but if there’s one thing M.I.A.’s really good at, it’s being controversial, and with one tiny little gesture she was able to whirl media spin rooms into a frenzy.
Meanwhile, M.I.A.s new video for her track Bad Girls had already been generating some controversy of its own. Whether it’s for vapid lyrics, or stereotypical Arab imagery, not everyone gives the track or the video a +1. But I tend to agree with this assessment in Albawaba In Defence of MIA’s ‘Bad Girl’ Arab-Bashing. Here’s an excerpt:
Bad Girls is surely not something new in the pop-world with Madonna and many before singing vacuous lyrics on ‘material’ feisty or just ‘naughty’ girl types. If ‘bad girls’ on this occasion signifies gun-touting or even, in being strewn over, and in, cars, criminal, girls in a country that prohibits them from driving (while filmed in Morocco it is distinctly meant to represent Saudi Arabia), then the video presents a distinct challenge to the stereotype of Arab subjugated women.”
Anyway, I find it to be a compelling piece of pop with an underlying sense of rebellion that invokes the kind of discussion which brings me back to the heyday of Public Enemy. It’s beautifully crafted in a way that truly paints M.I.A. as a bad girl in the eyes of both the east and the west. What’s your take?
The drawback for me was that I couldn’t easily find an instrumental version of the bangin’ beat by Timbaland protege Danja, so I decided to make one through the magic of editing.
And while I was at it I whipped up a little mashup featuring another of my favorite female vocalists, Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon.
That’s right, folks. Experimental party music is coming to Chicago. Nearly 8 years after DJ Flack and I began Boston’s Beat Research, the franchise is sprouting a brand new limb.
The Boston branch has hosted some of the best and brightest DJs and producers of underground bass music in the world, given a number of young luminaries their first gigs, and presented an utterly motley collection of tech-addled live performances. The long list of guests includes DJ Rupture, Kingdom, Eclectic Method, Ghislain Poirier, Vex’d, edIT, and Scuba.
Beat Research has been hard to match for Bostonians seeking out innovative sounds. Now Chicagoans can look forward to their own bi-weekly session for discerning dancers and enthusiastic head-nodders.
When I first heard the TB303 “acid” bass line sound I was blown away by its alien feel. The wobbly portamento tones sliding into each other struck me as an audible illustration of the mailable, bouncy nature of rubber.
I also remember when I first heard Fatboy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank I thought the vocalist was saying “Right about now the funk’s so rubber” and while that was a great way to describe the bouncy guitars in the track, it was an even better way to describe the elastic acid-breaks tracks I had been getting into at the time. So I was disappointed when I figured out the vocalist was not sharing my enthusiasm for rubbery sounds but instead was conjuring “the funk soul brother.”
Those acid sounds which developed in the ’80s Chicago house movement, and continued to evolve throughout the ’90s worldwide, are still a major influence on bouncy tunes today. I’m always a sucker for a good tweaked out acid line and this mix encapsulates some of my favorite rubbery tracks throughout the ages:
DJ C – The Funk So Rubber ->
- The Big Heist ft. TOK & Beenie Man – “Bring It On”
- Hardfloor – “Knuckle Skills – Home Run”
- Mr. Scruff – “Sea Mammal”
- Luke Vibert – “Lover’s Acid”
- Mr. Scruff – “Ug”
- Luke Vibert – “Funky Acit Stuff”
- Hardfloor – “Dubdope”
- Hardfloor – “Drive Thruw”
- South Rakkas Crew – “Hotter Than Them (Extended Mix ft. Kid Foreigner & Bigga Boss)
- Like Vibert – “Acid2000″
- LyricL – “Loose Broken”
- Fast Eddie – “Ain’t it Funky”
- Josh Wink – “Higher State of Counciousness (Tweekin Acid Funk Mix)”
- Blawan – “Kaz”
- Fatboy Slim – “Everybody Needs a 303″
- Crookers – “Embrace The Martian (ft. Kid Cudi – Seiji Acid Remix)”
- Ultramarine – “Butch”
- DJ C – “Nanocheck”
- DJ Scotch Egg – “Aaron Spectre’s Scotch Acid Remix”
It’s quite obvious that “Dubstep,” weather it’s the indie-rock version or the metal version, has seeped it’s way into the pop world.
So I was excited to find in my inbox on the very same day, some music that to me represents something closer to a direct descendant of the roots of dubstep:
Disclaimer: Listen to this on a system with large bass capacity.
A few years ago I was asked to do this remix of Suffocation Keep by The Slip. It was a fun challenge to make an electronic interpretation of their sweeping, melancholic, indie-rock tack, and I really liked the outcome, but alas, it was never released.
I added it on as the last track on my Umami album, but instead of selling it along with the rest of the album I decided to give it away as a free bonus track.
Listen and download
***** Ableton User Group 8pm-10pm *****
***** Push Monthly from 10pm-2am *****
The Chicago Ableton Live user group is starting up again for 2011 with a Free Ableton Workshop and The June Chicago Usergroup Meeting Thursday, June 16th from 8:00PM-10:00PM. Certified Ableton Instructors Thomas Faulds and Orville Kline will host and give presentations on cutting edge studio production and live performance techniques with Live, Max for Live, and Ipad Live control.