Saturday, May 01, 2004

lady espina charts

by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Lady Crisis ~ Lady Espina is an energetic dj based out of Iowa City, IA. Behind the decks, you can find her bringing an unparalleled stage presence. There is only one word to describe the sound of her music - eclectic. She'll bump things ranging from breaks, electro, afro-broken beats and 4-to-the-floor stompers. When she's not representing her sound for the dance floors, you can find her playing electronic and hip-hop tracks on her weekly radio show, every Sunday from 9pm-11pm on KRUI. She is also an affiliate DJ with SheJay and Hip Step Sistaz. It was rather hard for me to get Lady Espina to cough up only ten tracks since she has such an attraction to all types of music, but here is what she dished out.

Anthony Rother presents: In Electro We Trust 3*12" Database Compilation Ltd - Wow. Anthony Rother is a household name for your finest in raw electro beats. This compilation features tracks by artists such as Larry McCormick, Billy Nasty, Dr. Scissors, The Advent, The Hacker and Anthony Rother. Dark electro at its finest, bring on the morbid bass. You will not be disappointed.

Kraftwerk "Aerodynamik" Alex Gopher/Etienne de Crecy Dynamik Mix - EMI Music Publishing Ltd. 12" - Kraftwerk, a name you love and admire. This mix of Aerodynamik" will blow up any dance floor with it's building squelching acid overtones and then a blast in your face you won't know what hit you. A stomper. Additional remixes by Kling Klang and Francois K.

LCD Soundsystem "Yeah" DFA Records 12" - Indie punk rock meets electronica. Released in '03, but still one of my favorites in the bag with the "Crass" version usually tickling my drums and hopefully the ears of others as well.

Leftfield "Leftism" Columbia Records 2*12" - Yes, I said it. Leftfield. Okay, so the album is a decade old, but so what, I've been quite pleased with it every time I hear any song off this pivotal release. If you haven't heard, I'm sorry.

Ellen Allien: "Remix Collection" BPitch Control Records. - Some amazing artists graced by Ellen Allien's special trademark sound. Remixes of Apparat, Barbara Morgenstern, Omr, and Covenant amongst others. Standout tracks include "Let's get in on" by Goldchains and Apparat's " Koax". I'm addicted to this release.

Kill Hannah "Kennedy/Boys and Girls" original and remixes 12" White promo - Tommie Sunshine and Mark Verbos bring on the electroclash with remixes from indie rock group Kill Hannah. Tommie was kind enough to give me this record and I've grown a strong liking to his and Verbos remixing abilities. Still maintaining the essence of the original tracks with added dance floor flair.

Novamen "We love/Dreaming of/There's No Escaping/Sloom" Viewlexx Records presents The Robot is your friend. 12" - Oh how I love thee colored vinyl, let me count the ways. I love the way your blue grooves glisten off the lights in the club, oh and the electro goodness that has been pressed on you ever so finely is a delight to have made acquaintance with as well. Can we get married? A perfect relationship consisting of everything you would want to hear, with no unnecessary noise.

Dave Clarke feat. Chicks on Speed "What was her name?" Blackstrobe mix. Skint Records 12" - Oh yes, this time on delicious pink vinyl. Blackstrobe has been putting out some amazing self releases as well as quality remix work. This fine mix features the Chicks, but without overdrawing there vocalic riot capabilities. The production on this record is outstanding and blows up the floor. Rockin'.

Matthew Dear "Anger Management/Future Never Again" Ghostly International / Spectral Sound 12". - Will those from Michigan ever stop? Doubtfully and hopefully never. Not sure how this one fits in with the rest of my charts, but I love Matthew Dear and his amazing musical talent. Damn fine techno.

James Lavelle "Romania #26" Global Underground 3*12" - Let's be real here, I'm usually not a sucker for the GU stuff, but on occasion and exception is made here and there. Mr. Lavelle has sewn together some fine tracks here featuring producers and musicians such as DJ Shadow, Chemical Brothers w/The Flaming Lips, U.N.K.L.E. himself and Medway amongst others. Progressive house, breaks and hiphop fused quite nicely.
Have comments about this or any other article? Post them to the Forum!

Check out Lady Espina's profile at SheJay or on HipStep Sistaz and be sure to tune in to the radio show on KRUI - every Sunday night from 9-11 pm Central Time.

garrick michael charts

by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Jerome Montalto ~ Garrick Michael is the man behind the scenes of Nebraska's top electronic club, Bricktop. Holding a residency and managing the bookings at Bricktop, Garrick is very familiar with the crowd that frequents the hard-wood dance floor. Garrick has been a staple to the Nebraska scene for years having played at Club Joy during the notorious Blue Production events, Bar 415, Velvet Lounge, Shark Club and Bada Bings to name a few. When Garrick finds a track he likes, he's rather secretive about letting other people know what he's bumpin', but I've talked him into giving phocas an exclusive look at what he's moving the dance floors with at the moment.

Jurgen Vries-The Theme :: (trance) Ultimate end of the night track.

Ferry Corsten- Rock Your Body Rock :: (trance) If you don't know this track by now, hand me your headphones, you are no longer a dj.

Paul Van Dyk featuring Vega 4-Time of Our Lives (PVD club mix) :: (trance) Great track, great male vocal.
Chemical Brothers-Get Yourself High :: (breakbeat) hip-hop vocal over dirty breakz. Bass line gets dark and, for a lack of a better term, farty. You will like!

Utah Saints-Power to the Beats :: (breakbeat) Chuck D on vocals. Uses rock riffs throughout.

Agnelli & Nelson-Holding onto Nothing :: (trance) Great female vocal. Driving trance at its best. Everything Agnelli & Nelson doing is good. Scratch that, Platinum!

Way Out West-MuthaFu**a (Mix 1) :: (progressive trance) Unlike anything Way Out West has done before. Pitched up a bit this is a high energy end of the night track.

Plummet-Cherish the Day (Antillas Remix) :: (trance-breaks) Starts out breaks, moves to trance, back and forth till the end. Great builds, great female vocal.

Iio-Smooth (Airbase Remix) :: (progressive trance) Remember Rapture, remember At the End? More great trance by Iio. Quick tid bit. Iio was originally named Vaio since they created all their music on a Sony Vaio laptop. Sony sent a cease and desist letter so they changed their name.

BQQ-Cold as Ice :: (hard house) Vocal from Foreigner. Everyone knows the original so it is always a crowd pleaser.

Have comments about this or any other article? Post them to the Forum!

For more information and some of Garrick's Mix Sets, be sure to check out Garrick's web site at www.garrickmichael.com.

don tinsley charts

by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Don Edmundson ~ Don Tinsley is a man in the midwest scene that needs no introduction. Whether it be promotion, dj'ing, producing, or playing in his live house band - Urban Jazz Naturals - Don has all the aspects of the industry covered. Don holds a residency at the weekly event, Sweet Spot at the Pepper Lounge bringing in headlining house acts. He currently has a mix being hosted on the infamous UndergroundHouse.net . His band, Urban Jazz Naturals will be playing alongside Demarkus Lewis and JT Donaldson in Chicago on May 7th, and they have an upcoming release on Gallery Music Group from their track entitled "How Can I" which has received reviews from URB and BPM magazine. Don has given us the inside tip on his top 10 rockers of the dance floor at the moment. Don't get to anxious though, you'll have to wait for a bit before you can buy some of these tracks. He's got the promo hook up, and he's been nice enough to provide us with a downloadable mix set, so make sure to check it out.

1.JT Donaldson “Vanguard Nights” Vista - Deep jazzy goodness as only JT can do it
Rithma “Everyone's Sleeping Today” Om - The Jacob London remix is smoking dancefloor material

Don Tinsley & Matt Bandy feat Troy Dillard “New Light” promo - Another awesome vocal by Troy Dillard (watch out for this kid in 2004)

Deep House Soldiers “Summer Love” Limestone Recordings - Never be afraid of a lead

Don Tinsley & Ben Armstrong “Finger Funkin Good” Uniform - The first track released by the Missouri - Arkansas Duo (keep your eyes peeled for the Jason Hodges Remix coming soon)
John Hawley - Funky Business - Bunchlox 08 promo - You will be a Hawleyoholic on first listen, this stuffs worse than crack

Kaskade -Steppin Out (Hawley's Switch it up remix) – promo - Again John Hawley does what he does best
les Jardiniers - Funky Daktari - Society Hill - includes retouches by the man Derrick Carter and they are dope

John Hawley - Sigue la Gente feat. Javante' & Evan Christian – promo - I cant get enough of John Hawley. This smoking promo features live guitar and Latin vocals. A sure classic
Olivier Desmet & Chuck Diesel - Long Term – Siesta - This smooth groovin ditty by west coast allstars will get your hips in motion

To support these artists, go down to your local record store and pick them up. Buy Local – Think global

Have comments about this or any other article? Post them to the Forum!

You can download Don Tinsley's Mix Set, "Live at LO on 2/4/4" on the Urban Jazz Naturals Web Site or just click here.

Read more about Urban Jazz Naturals at www.UrbanJazzNaturals.com

If you are going to be in St Louis, check here for more information about the weekly event "Sweet Spot".

musique

Interview by Brent Crampton ~ Photos by Misha & DEP, courtesy of Ultra Musique ~ Flashback to 2001, it’s a Thursday night and you have nothing to do. The big one-off event isn’t until the weekend, but you want to go out and dance now. If you live in Omaha, you’ll just have to wait until 2004 before you can go out and enjoy posh clubbing on any given week night. Musique has been the catalyst in Omaha that has taken the underground sound into the clubs of Omaha.

Having hosted weeklies and the occasional one-off event, Musique has brought in regional talent such as Josh the Funky 1, Mars Cruiser and Simply Soul Syndicate to name a few. Musique has booked nearly every dj in the Omaha and Lincoln area and has given rise to the club culture in Omaha. The one-year anniversary of the company is approaching this month so I’ve taken some time out to talk to the owner, Ethan Bondelid, to see where Musique has been, and where they are going.

What's the story on how Musique got started?

Omaha has long been a pub town with the all to common Juke Box variety nightlife. We've had several successful production groups (some which I've been a part of) hosting one off events, and bringing in some great talent, giving our local guys a chance to play. Musique was formed with a different focus in mind. We wanted to bring house music to an every day lifestyle, as it should be. This grassroots approach of establishing small weeklies started with one night in one venue. Now DJ's can have regular gigs, and take it more seriously. They've grown just as mush as the scene and us as a company.

What gave you the motivation to start the company?

Basically, I wanted enjoy a house record when I'm out on a Tuesday, in alternative to what a record company decided was one of the most popular 40 songs. I wanted to get DJ's regular gigs, so they could make a living and we could have fun doing it. And mostly I've noticed a lot of people are hesitant to go to party if they are new to the music. Bringing it to them on a regular basis, I wanted to open their minds to the music and bring more people to our scene. I hear less and less people expressing that they don't like "techno music," to being able to identify which genre suits them.

Define the scope of Musique, what is the goal of the company?

I think It's illustrated above. In an even broader scope, I’d like to take us into a venue ownership to give us more freedom with the music. A place formed around music, for the DJ's. When that happens you'll see headliners playing on a regular basis, like we see locals finally doing now. It's the next progression most metropolis have went through already.

So the one year anniversary is coming up here soon. What have you accomplished in the past?

If anything I hope we've set the ground work for a stable scene. I've seen so many fluctuations with crowds and trends. I like to see a more generous culture produced that isn't going to go just away because of a few bad parties.

What's in store for the future?

More Dj's, more venue's, and more patrons. I think we'll definitely see a needed development of trendy clubs and lounges popping up all over town. This will bring more competition, which can thrive businesses, and get a better treatment to quality DJ's from the venues.

What's the plan for the anniversary party?

Unfortunately It's a bit to early to tell, but if all goes well, it will most defiantly be a unique and memorable event, one to rival the Cruise party on the river boat. Stay tuned to our web site to keep posted.

Have comments about this or any other article? Post them to the Forum!

Be sure to check their web site for all of the latest at www.ultramusique.com

shawn new

Interview by Brent Crampton ~ photo by Moonfire ~ Shawn New is a dj and rookie producer based out of Iowa City, Ia. I have had the pleasure of seeing Shawn New perform at a couple of Iowa parties recently, and I can attest that he has a driving and emotional passion for deep and dark progressive house. He’s the type of dj that gets very personal and connected to his crowd when he is playing out. When it comes to his ethics behind the decks, he’s an all around purist. There is nothing posh about this dj - just clean mixes, interactive stage presence and love for the music. Shawn is very active in the scene in Iowa. I often see him on Ubersonic.org and he always seems to find his way to the dj roster for the parties in the Iowa City area. So here’s the low down from an Iowa head about his experience with life lived in music.

Alright Shawn, let’s start with the basics. How long have you been doing your thang and how did you get into it?

Well, I went to my first party back in ’94 and I was just amazed by the power and control the deejay had over the crowd. All I could do was stand in front of him and watch what he was doing, and I would turn around and see tons of people with smiles on their faces and dancing like no one was watching. I said to myself, “I want to be the guy that makes all these people happy.” It wasn’t until ’98 when I finally got my hands on turntables, and when I first touched them, it was love. I had found my niche, and I just took it and ran with it. I am 26 now and I started playing when I was 19 . . . it’s been a long tough and road, but well worth it.

I had a similar experience as you which motivated me to become a dj. Who and what influences your music now? Where does your inspiration come from?

If I had to say what influences my music, it would be seeing people dancing to the beats I am playing. My style kind of makes people put on the “I mean business” face. I really enjoy making eye contact with my audience, and I can tell if they are feeling me or not, and this inspires me to give them more and more. So really, my audience is my inspiration and major influence. I would also say that one of my influences include mostly my friends and fellow crew members. We have a crew called the Iowa Mopeass crew and basically we all critique each other all the time. Which motivates me to attempt to get better.

What is the Iowa Mopeass Crew?

Well, it started when my long time close friend Susie Douglas and I went to Atlanta to visit some friends. They were talking about starting a crew called Mopeass crew. It started as a joke but then Susie and I came to the conclusion that we should take it back to Iowa, and call it the Iowa Mopeass Crew. we immediately talked to Zach Douglas, Ryan Isenhart and Ryan Klassen. The Iowa Mopeass Crew was formed. It was put together just as a group of friends who loved music and loved to spin records together. Then we talked about throwing an event, and it just got bigger from there. We have manifesto on our web site along with all of our bio's , mixes, and such. We try to keep things fresh and real. All of our deejays are really solid, and we just like to see a lot of smiling faces at our shows. We try to make it a place where people can go and feel welcome, and be safe. The best thing about our crew is the diversity. We try to represent many different genre's so people will have more to choose from. If you haven't been to one of our parties, or seen one of our deejays, check it out. We think you will be pleased.

If someone was to hear you at an event, what could they expect?

Hmm . . . hard one. People could expect me to put my heart and soul into what I am playing for them, also to go on a little journey. I pride myself on not just spinning records, but trying to create a little roller coaster ride of emotion. Also, I love to hype the crowd, so they could expect to see me animated and getting into my music as much as they (hopefully, hehe) are. Usually when I take command of the decks, the environment tends to get a little dark and spacey.

You definitely have a passion for your music. What is the best, and worst, party you have performed at?

Actually, its funny you ask this. Just last Saturday march 27th , I played at the best show I have ever been to. The vibe was amazing and it had that old school warehouse feel to it. I came on at 1 am, and the intro I started with was a dance floor killer. It is something that my friend Ward and I produced just for this party, and will probably be the intro for my next cd. This is a little review I wrote to the crowd and the promoter for letting me play: “The party MVP on this night goes out to the crowd. I am sure you have all heard I cried during my set, and it was all because of you . . . you guys were by far the best crowd I have ever played for . . . amazing and I am still floating from it today . . . thank you Iowa. One more reason I am glad I am in it and a part of something so beautiful . . .”

“My review of this night is unexplainable in words. I don’t even know where to start, so I wont rack my brain. Thanks a million to the mi6 for providing such a great party and I will never forget this party. Everyone did an awesome job and the vibe was the best I have EVER felt!”

“I love you guys (partygoers) and thanks for helping me feel something I have never felt - truly an amazing experience. I am proud to say I live in Iowa because of you.”

So yeah, I am sort of emotional.

If I had to pick the worst, it would be this new years party in the middle of nowhere Iowa. We get there to find out we’re playing in an unheated barn, on top of hay and horse doo doo. The sound system was the worst, and the people that were there were looking at me like I was some freak or something. Well, the power went out so we were saved and could finally go home. And just for the record, we don’t make a habit in Iowa about playing in horse crap filled barns.

(laughs) I sure hope not. Who are your favorite producers?

Man, I have so many. I love Gabriel and Dresden, Shawn Astrom, Steve Lawler, Martin Villeneuva, Marcelo Castelli, Vinny Troia and Dark Providers are only to name a few. I have many more, but I wont bore you.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to take my career to a higher level and really concentrate on producing. I am basically just a novice producer right now but I plan on getting one of my own records pressed in the next few years. I would also love to go to different cities and play for people and just have a great time meeting new people. I have kind of a joke with my friends, I usually tell them that I will be the old guy walking up to the decks with my oxygen tank fastened to me and my cane in hand. I will never stop playing music.

How much is too much for a dj to get paid?

Wow, that is a really controversial question. I would say, it is entirely up to the deejay as to how much he or she wants to get paid. If they want to live the superstar/rock star life, then so be it. Let them charge whatever they want and see how many gigs they get. It would also depend on what kind of crowd they could draw, and how much the cost of the show was. I on the other hand, as long as my costs are taken care of and I have a place to stay, I will spin anytime anywhere on anything just because I love to. I am not trying to get rich being a deejay or producer (although it would be nice). I simply want to be able to do what I love to do, and have a good life doing it. And anything more than that would be too much.

If your house was on fire, and you could only grab one record - what would it be?

You know, I really don’t know, I would honestly probably burn up trying to get them all. They are in flight cases you know. Just kidding, I would probably grab one of my newest ones, by Dark Providers, called “Believe” on the Intenso label. That track is sick and dark. Or it would be a toss up between Lexicon Avenue “Dusk 'til Dawn” (Weekend World remix). That one always destroys the dance floor.

Thanks for talking with me Brent. It has been a pleasure. And if I may end on a quote, “Music binds us together with invisible threads” and “Long live the Underground.”

Have comments about this or any other article? Post them to the Forum!

Read more about Shawn New and others involved with the Mopeass Crew at www.mopenation.com.

You can download Shawn's mix "Brink of Obscurity"at www.Iowa-Mopeass-Crew.com

life as we know it

Review by Joe Hensen ~ photos by todd & Joe Hensen ~ The kids were pumped for this party and the night was looking to be filled with good times and good people. The venue was not too hard to find if you could follow the directions from the info line and was at the Knights of Columbus hall, another bingo hall somewhat like Knights of the Pythius only smaller with bad air circulation. The entire room was well lit unlike most venues where darkness reigns, but there were still a few spots where the spotlight setup could not reach.

First up on the decks was the Professor spinning some interesting mixes noticeably the Doors remix of Riders of the Storm. Even though he was the first in the lineup, the Professor put a excellent show. I know I danced a bit myself. Second to whip out some vinyl was local favorite, Frooky. People were steadily streaming through the door and finding themselves mesmerized by some retro remixes of "I Want My MTV." I know I started jumping when I heard that old school sound being pumped through that sound system.

About this time, the venue was starting to get a little packed and everyone was noticing something was just a little wrong. It was hot. Not just Hot, but Really Hot. Because people were not being allowed re-entry, the promoters had decided to allow smoking inside. The smoke combined with body heat and heat of the light setup, turned Knights of Columbus into a virtual sauna. Everyone was getting sweaty and starting to shed clothing.

Feeling refreshed after jumping outside for a breather, cQuence took control of the turn tables. It was time for a little Jungle love. Immediately after cQuence took over the room had a new feel, though the heat and humidity persisted. To make things worse, they ran out of water, but that was soon corrected with a fresh supply.

Reid Speed took the decks around midnight, right after cQuence and was ready to move the crowd. As she started her first track the masses started moving as one. There wasn't even room to make your way into the crowd.

Too hot to dance, I found myself wandering to the back of the venue where it was a couple of degrees cooler. Near the door where there was one of the biggest cuddle puddles I had ever seen. I took a few pictures and passed out some water. Most of the kids in this area were suffering from heat exhaustion. They danced so long and hard under the oppressive heat for Professor, Frooky, and cQuence's sets that they had nothing left for Reid Speed.

We stayed for Reid, but just couldn't stay any longer. I gathered my friend I had come with and headed out. I feel a little disappointed not having seen Kid Icarus or Blue but I did here that they tore it up after Reid Speed. The party was good and had an excellent vibe, but we really could have used some of those big industrial size fans to move the air around a little.

first impressions get labeled

by Kourtney Anderson ~ To make a name as a DJ is difficult in a market that is flooded with talent. In the beginning one thing is crucial to success, the demo. Before the CD ever hits a player it is evaluated on its appearance. A DJ name scribbled on top of a CD-R with marker is not the first impression aspiring DJ’s want. A demo should look professional; it should stand out from the numerous others in circulation. Eye catching graphics on your demo is a good way to increase the chances it won’t end up a coaster.

A sticky label is the most common way to produce catchy CD’s. Labels can be found all over the place and are printed on any ink-jet printer. Relatively low in cost, they are great for the high number of duplicating needed when circulating a demo. 100 matte labels run about $20 and if you hit re-bates right you can get a 100 spindle of CD-R’s for around that price too. Although the odds of becoming a coaster have decreased by slapping that label on top it still might never be played.

The sticker labels have a tendency to increase its appeal as food for your car stereo. Although the person will probably not forget your name from here on out, you will be forever associated with the demo that had to be pried out of the player scratching the label and the CD all to hell in the process. So what do you do now? Reverting back to chicken scratched demo’s may prevent your CD from being lunch but there are some other solutions that will give a professional look with no thick label to get stuck.

Silk Screen Labels: Most CD’s purchased at the local music store have silk screen labels. They are durable and very professional but are too expensive for a demo that is given out for free. A silk screening machine runs $5,000+ so unless you plan to start a CD duplicating company save some cash and pay someone else to do it. This is cheaper than buying the machine but is not cheap by any means. Most companies have minimum orders of 500 with each CD costing around $1.50. Per CD cost does decrease with the increase of order size but who needs 500+ demos starting out? Save your $750 and buy some new records.

Thermal Transfers: In contrast to inkjet printers, which create images by applying liquid ink, thermal transfer technology works by conveying solid wax from a coated ribbon onto a disc's surface through a combination of heat and pressure. Thermal transfer labels are thus more durable since they are water-and-scratch proof as opposed to their inkjet counterparts. Thermal printers can be found for as low as $100 and should be printed on shiny surfaced CD-R’s for the best quality. These shiny CD-R’s are priced comparable to any other blank media making them a good alternative to adhesive labels. But of course there is a catch!

Thermal labels are for the most part dull. The lower end printers are very limited on design. Forget about images because these printers only have one color and have such a low dpi that even black images will be distorted. A specific print area limits design even more allowing text only above and below the center hole. Professional looking? Yes. Eye catching? Not for $100. There are multi-color thermal printers out there but be prepared to drop $2,000+ and that still won’t give you full design reign.

Inkjet: Besides using any old inkjet to print sticky labels there are also specialized inkjets that will print directly on certain CD-R’s. Printing directly on the specially coated disc lets you have total design freedom just like an adhesive label but without the extra weight and thickness that can lead to problems. In the past an inkjet that could print directly on CD’s meant it came with a big price tag. Thanks to Epson this is not true anymore. If you go to your local Best Buy you can find an Epson 300 printer for under $200 that has this special CD feature.

Although the price of the printer has dropped in price, the media still has some catching up to do. A 30-pack of printable CD-R’s will run about $15. This is more than a regular spindle and will add up quick with mass duplication. Epson specifies the disc’s need 24 hours to dry, making them no good for last minute copying and distribution.

Mass producing CD’s is a time consuming process and definitely not one of the highlights of being a DJ. If you are just starting out it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money on labeling but it is necessary to have a professional demo. To keep costs low stick with the good ole’ sticky label and add some spice to it. If you do get a complaint about an eaten CD give them another copy and warn them to only use it in a tray feed player. If they really want to listen to it in the car they can burn it themselves.

artificial irrelevance

Electro-Clash Stakes it's Claim to KC ~ Story and Photos by Michael Bradshaw ~ Among heaps of cellophane-wrapped records that make up a collection of more than 3,000 pieces of vinyl, DJ Christopher Landis Shively balances on the hind legs of his desk chair and smiles wickedly under a pair of thick-rimmed glasses. Behind him, twin computer monitors glow next to an imposing stack of samplers, sequencers and drum machines. A pair of turntables flank the pile of flickering machines and are covered, like the rest of the rig, in hundreds of tiny stickers featuring Japanese cartoon characters.

Shively, 21, knows a lot about electronic music. At age sixteen, Shively entered the rave circuit DJing retro break beat and hardcore records to dance floors ten years his senior. Since then, he’s participated in a number of electronica-based club nights in Kansas City and recently put on a fashion show/ electro party in Lawrence called, “Robolust.” Presently, he’s the music director at KJHK, the University of Kansas’s student radio station in Lawrence and host of “Super Disco Gallactica”--a three hour, Friday night swim through obscure electro-pop, new-wave and house recordings from the late 70’s and 80’s.

At the station, Shively takes turns beat-mixing (making fluid, rhythmic transitions between songs by adjusting the tempo of the record), taking calls on the station’s request line and gobbling up a sandwich.

“I play pretty much any historically important electronic dance music.” Shively says with a grimace. “This show is all about the self-indulgent crap I couldn’t play out at a [show].”

Super Disco Gallactica has evolved into one of KJHK’s most popular Friday night programs. For a year and a half, Gallactica has navigated the waters of electronic music and ebbed in notoriety from, most likely, what is quickly becoming the newest fad in underground music. Purists will squabble over the proper terminology: synth-pop, future-pop, electro-clash--most DJ’s, like Shively, dismiss the name game all together. Whatever you want to call it, the synthesizer-bending brand of pop-based electronic music Shively and a handful of other DJ’s in the area are playing is catching on in art, fashion, indie-rock, and rave scenes. Fast.

Like most underground movements that hit the Midwest, electro-clash started in the New York underground according to web sites dedicated to the genre. Influences such as Kraftwerk, New Order and the Italian disco movement (imagine blending new-wave and disco music and setting it to Italian vocals) led the way for what was to be a musical crock pot that sat untouched while the rest of the world reveled in Hip-hop and rave beats during the 90’s.

“You feel a peculiar sensation: it’s not exactly like time travel, more like you’ve stepped into a parallel universe,” One electro-clash fan Website says. “An alternative history scenario where rave never happened.”

Only now is this “alternative history” filtering into KC.

Outside Jilly’s bar in downtown Kansas City, the members of No Mathematics, a local electronica DJ group, loads turntables and other equipment into the deceivingly small and anonymous establishment. In the window of Jilly’s hangs a sign that reads, “Unofficial home of the First-Fridays (Kansas City’s monthly arts craw) after party.”

In the club, people file in and order drinks as the group of young men connect chords between amplifiers and mixers. John Dewbarn, 25, wearing a gray, one-size-too-mall, T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Detroit,” activates a small sampler that groans, “no... mathematics...”

“I think electro-clash is today’s answer to 70's-slash-80's electronic music.” Says Dewbarn. “All while incorporating and fusing the concept of fashion, image, film and art as a whole.”

As the crowd thickens, one of the groups members stabilizes a digital projector in one of the booths near the stage. An image of a 1950’s family watching a television, on which even more vintage footage of a naked woman dancing on stage flickers directly against the faces of the DJ’s. The crowd gives an inaudible signal of approval as the first record drops, sending a wave of electricity through the room.

The crowd is surprisingly mixed. Shively says the appeal of electronic music is that it crosses the line between club music and independent rock.

“The fact that this kind of revival has happened and this time the indie kids have been in on it, is helping to create new, kind of, hybrid genres.” Says Shively. “I think it’s going to evolve into something interesting.”

Indeed the audience for electronic music seems to be diverse. The crowd at Jilly’s is speckled with everything from button-down shirt, club-goers to urban beatniks with baggy pants, to trendy art kids who look like they just stepped out of a Strokes video.

Dewbarn says that the essential retro quality in electro-clash music is what attracts people across scene lines. “A lot of great electronic music came from the late 70's and early 80's, stuff that was so new, experimental and ground braking as well as, having a very distinct sound completely unique for it's time.” Said Dewbarn. “Everyone can hear or see those influences and find a certain familiarity to something they loved then and still love to this day.”

Based on the crowd’s reaction to No Mathematic’s music, the people at Jilly’s would agree. At the peak of the night, the dance floor is at capacity. The effects of alcohol are blatant. Bodies hover over the turntables cheering, with fist pumping the air, many resort to simply jumping up and down vigorously as the music pounds into the night.

Shively experienced much of the same reaction at his last show, Robolust.

“We went a good deal over capacity.” Says Shively. “It was great. We had people dancing on the tables.”

There are those who dismiss the electro-clash movement as merely a revival of a genre that’s long since passed. The Web is littered with Punk purists that resist the integration of electronic synthesizers and other instruments into a traditionally guitar-based sound. However, if it is possible for one to remember what critics said about the rise of hip-hop, rave and even rock and roll music in it’s infancy--and the controversy over Bob Dylan when he decided to go electric--it’s best to accept that music simply changes over time.

To fans of electro-clash, the more electric, the better.

its getting hot in here

A Few Thoughts on the Spring Saunas ~ Story and Photos by todd ~ Spring in the MidWest is one of those times of the year that literally screams for an outdoor party because it usually brings with it a welcome break from the extreme cold temperatures predominant in this part of the country. Few promoters dare to risk an outdoor party however, because those milder temperatures are typically accompanied by unpredictable weather events. There are always the bizarre temperature changes, rom 20°s F to 80°s F, that can take place in as little as 24 hours. And, as if that was not bad enough, there is lightening, thunderstorms, tornadoes and other extreme weather conditions that pretty much dictate that promoters stick to indoor venues or face the possibility of losing on their investment.

There is nothing wrong with these indoor venues. They are great venues and have provided shelter and warmth throughout the bitter winter months to everyone with the need to "get their groove on", but these venues are rarely adequate for the spring months. Noise restrictions that make it necessary to keep all doors and windows shut create a situation where heat and humidity build up quickly turning any party into a virtual sauna, or worse.

When selecting a venue, those with no central air conditioning are the first to be viewed as completely inadequate by promoters, for obvious reasons. What some do not realize though is that regardless of whether a venue has A/C or not, when the temperature and humidity inside start to climb, it is almost always for the same reason.

While setting up for any particular dance event, a lot of organizers sometimes unknowingly contribute to the problem that arises later in the night. They are usually running in and out of doors, gathering up equipment and setting it up. They may have all of the doors flung open for easy in-and-out access. They might even have some of the windows open. Unfortunately, while all this has been going on, huge amounts of humid air have filled the venue. It doesn't matter if it's warm or cold. If it is humid at all, that humidity is going to fill the air of the venue and it is going to be a while before the A/C can remove that humidity from the air again.

Lighting can also be a very ugly culprit. In a "standard" 75 or 100 watt 120 volt bulb, the filament temperature is roughly 4600° F. Most stage lighting, such as Par cans, use 500-1000 watt lamps and the temperature anywhere near them will and does rise very quickly. Standing in front of just one, you can feel the heat being generated from them.

The dance crowd is also part of the problem, though they are more a symptom a multitude of other conditions. The human body hovers around 98° and generates one heck of a lot of heat just standing still. Dancing muscles create even more heat and sweat. The human body can sweat up to four liters per hour; for longer periods (up to 6 hours), 1 liter per hours is common. In addition to the sweat, your body also loses water vapor during respiration.

The event is being held for people to dance and they are there to dance, and so can't really be blamed, though they remain part of the problem. Most of the responsibility for temperature regulation falls on the organizers of the event. The temperature inside the venue may only increase 5° F or so and be only mildly uncomfortable to the hundred or so that are already there. The A/C might even be able to keep up at this point, but the more populous the party becomes the more the temperature and humidity will rise. After a certain point, there might just as well not be any A/C. This is especially true if there are no outside facilities to get fresh air, no outside facilities for those that smoke and "No Re-Entry". The perfect venue has now become the not-so-perfect sauna.

There are things that can be done to keep it from getting too bad though. Obviously, always try to use a building with A/C. Summer or Winter, doesn't matter. If you can't get a building with A/C, get a lot of fans or plan on having the event outdoor. Even if the venue does have A/C, get fans. You don't know that the A/C is going to be able to handle the number of people that will be in attendance.

Open any doors or windows you can, as soon as is necessary. Let some fresh air in. If there are noise restrictions, find out what time they are and make sure you get the venue opened up for a little while before it is no longer an option.

If there is no outdoor access from within the venue, free re-entry should be allowed for. There is no reason to charge for or block re-entry when your venue has the potential to be life-threatening.

If you are attending the event, be sure to find out as much as you can about the venue and dress accordingly. If you think it's going to be really hot, dress in layers and strip 'em off, if you need to.

Drink Water. Whether you like it or not, drink it. Alcohol will dehydrate you more, so if you are going to drink alcohol, drink water too. Evaporation of your body water can happen quickly and sometimes before you are aware of it and your body functions are severely limited when you have lost 10% of your weight due to dehydration.

Don't block the fans! If you are standing in front of a fan to cool yourself off, you are preventing the fan from circulating the air properly and depriving about 100 other people from being able to cool off.

Piling in to a corner with a bunch of other people is not a really good idea either. The air needs to be able to circulate around your body so that the heat can dissipate faster, thereby keeping you cooler. Bodies piled on top of each other only creates more heat and a more dangerous situation.

There are a bunch of other things that can be done to keep things cool. The best thing to do is just use a little common sense, regardless of whether you are the organizers or the audience. It is more important than you think and people will remember it. Besides all of that, nobody wants to leave a party in an ambulance.

may 2004 editor note

More traveling this month, though not to very far off places.

This month, I made a trip to Manhattan for the party "Up!" and to hang out with some of my friends (photo) stuck down in that little college town. The venue that they use there is very cool. You can even play a little basketball if the beat moves you in that direction.

The cover this month comes from the party "Life... As We Know It". That party, as well as a couple of others proved to be a catalyst for this month's main article, "It's Getting Hot in Here: A Few Thoughts on the Spring Saunas". Sometimes it's hot because you're dancing hard and sometimes it's hot because there isn't as much planning going in to ventilation as there should be. Read up and let me know what you think.

I made a couple of trips to Frisky at Kabal for Miss Honey Dijon and to join DeepFix Records in celebrating their Fourth Anniversary with Rob Mello, as well as an interesting little 420 party that was held by the guys that do the regular Tuesday night called "Ritmo", a Drum N Bass and Jungle showcase.

The weekend before though, I was priveleged enough to be able to witness a really nice little warehouse party in St Louis called "Rejuvenate". It was put on by a collective of several different people that were formerly part of some rather well respected St Louis Krewes who had gotten together to form SquareOne Productions. Be sure to be on the lookout for more interesting shows from these guys.

Unfortunately, because of various issues, I was unable to attend InterFuse, though I heard it went off really well. I had intended to do a story on it this month, but... well... that's how it goes sometimes.

All in all though, it was a fun little laid-back month. I hope everyone is ready for summer, because from the looks of things, it's going to get pretty interesting.

until next time


~phocas~ 

may 2004 issue