Monday, November 01, 2004

on decks november 2004

Here's what I have received this month on CD. Get me a copy of yours and we will have a listen and post a thought or three up here. Eventually, we may even create some sort of rating system or something. Until then, this is what's on the street this month!

AC - The Morning After
contact: 666Records.com

More great stuff from the Topeka Chillmaster that recently came down for phlashback! This one isn't just for morning after. You can slip this in anytime you wanna slip away for a moment.
Omen aka Nemo - The Split: An Unfinished Work
contact: omenakanemo@walla.com

J. Phoenix - The Harvest Moon Session
contact: Syde-Sho.com

Selections from :beats: - This bonus 1/2 hour includes 2 unreleased cuts.
J.D. Staley - Gustoh
contact: 816.304.2340

Progressive House with a floaty sort of Trance edge. There were a couple of rough spots, but overall a good selection of tunes.
The Negro Sco - Dante Everglade Vegas Escapades E.P.
contact: addictz@yahoo.com

With beats by Dusty Rythyms and Acument, he's back with a word or two for ya... so listen up! Recorded live in Las Vegas, March 2004.
Brent Scholz - Mix Four
contact: bscholz@mmgworldwide.com

Deep, Sexy House from the dood with the fro that helped rock Union Station at Terror at the Train Station II!

sydeburnz charts

intro by Brent Crampton ~ The Rave-Master with oversized sideburns is at it again. DJ Sydeburnz is giving us with his top ten tracks of the month. And with his rock star attitude, he’s let us know exactly why he’s digging these tracks - “because they kick ass!”

For the past year, Sydeburnz has been expanding his genres into deep tech house. This genre could argueably be at the forefront of advancing electronic music. And with Sydeburnz pioneering the sound in the local area, there’s been an increase in deejays also picking up the sound. So jump on the band wagon and buy these tracks.

Switch - Get on Downz - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Isolee - Raum Eins - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Matthew Dear - Dog Days - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Ada - Blindhouse - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
2raumwohnung - Ich Und Elaine - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Switch - Get On Downz - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Basteroid - Operation Gelungen - Patient Tantz - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Jacob London - Gutterballs - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Meotope - Lifedriver - I chose this track because it kicks ass!
Ricardo Villalobos - Easy Lee - I chose this track because it kicks ass!

For more information, check out djSydeburnz.com

odi charts

intro by Brent Crampton ~ photo courtesty of CymbalismRecordings.com ~ Dj Odi is one of New York City's finest jungle DJs and an artist on the Cymbalism Recordings roster. His signature style is characterized by his unique blend of scratching and sampling both of which were more prominent elements of hip hop music. His accomplishments as an innovator of urban music were further recognized in 1998, when Odi became the first jungle DJ to ever be accepted into the prestigious ZULU Nation, forever demolishing the barrier between hip hop and drum n bass.

After spending hours putting together only what Odi feels to be his favorite tracks at the moment, this Cymbalism Recordings artist gives it to us in his own words. Make sure to check him out in Kansas City at the party, Blueprint, on November 13th.

Alliance(gener8) - Jive - This one is from the alliance crew outta Maimi and it’s a dancefloor killer! Female vocals lead up to a huge bline drop and hard hitting drums that support the tune perfectly! Huge tune from Gener8!
Comatron & Nu Breed - War - Commin outta Germany, Comatron has been busy remixing and working with some of the best the world d’n’b scene has to offer! On this one he teams up with the Nu Breed crew featuring McFoxy, Fatman D, Shorston and more for a ragga influenced MC led stormer! Pure dancefloor fire!
Decorum - Conrtax (weapon remix) - The Weapon crew comes through with another blazing dancefloor stormer! This time remixing Decorums huge Contrax! “Weapon” features Andy Sine, Dieselboy, Kaos, Karl K, Jae Kennedy and they have been killin it for quite some time now! I was lucky to get my hands on this one and have been playing it everywhere!
Karl K, Kaos and Jae Kennedy - All Night Long - From the original Philly crew comes this slice disco influenced dancefloor mayhem. The track has massive sub work under the cheeky vocal chop and rolling drums to set this one apart as a standout in the bouncy tunes of the day!
John Rolodex - Raver Blues - Dark, hard and runnin’ is the best way I can describe this one. With some great old school rave samples working over precise drum chops and a wicked bline, John comes correct with this one and I am glad to have it in my arsenal!
Ben Sage - All about you VIP - This one was suppossed to be on the recod label Gian, but never got released! Amazing female vocals combine with sweet synths, full atmospherics and tight drums to take this dancefloor masher and bring it over to the musical crew!
Strategic Crew - The Boro's - A little shameless self promotion on this one. Written by myself and my partner deejay Vandal, this is just pure fun! We wanted to make something that we could enjoy playing that took what we liked the most about the music, drum chops, massive bass and hip hop attitude. And this I hope captured exactly what we wanted. I think we got it right it got us signed to Cymbalism Recordings!
Tetradin - amGOD - HUGE! . . . That’s all I can say. Tearin Reece bass, old flavor drums reminicent of the old virus sound, and wikked production make this one a killer . . . Stateside stand up!
Slip & Slide - Let me Know - This one’s a classic from ‘96 that I try and bring into rotation every once in a bit. With the alliah sample and warm Reece bline, this one gets em going every time!
Frou Frou - Let go - I heard this on the Garden State soundtrack and it’s one of those tunes you can’t get out of your head. I’ve been closing with it just to change it up and show people that d’n’b isn’t always Andy C and tear out tunes!
For more information, be sure to visit CymbalismRecordings.com

jonjon and nawna b charts

intro by Brent Crampton ~ photos courtesy of BreakfastClub.com ~ Jon Jon and Nawna B make up the duo of Breakfast Klub Productions. Based out of Wichita, Kansas, these two are loving house music, and each other in marriage, until death do them part. How often does one come across a married couple that can come home at the end of the day and tag-team house records together? And considering that these two are the only ones in Wichita playing that boompty/chunky/funky kind of house music, these two deejays make quite the couple. As to overlook their individuality and just group them as a pair, I had them work together to share with Phocas.net the top ten records they are playing at the moment. In their own words, here is what they are playing and why.

Kill Hannah – Kennedy – DC mixes - CMC - The vocals are killer, and the track just rocks the socks. We first heard it when Lance Desardi dropped it at Frisky.
Marmelade feat. Karine – Lullabies – Alex Kid Club Mix – Missive - Great acidy work with a sultry, sexual vocal that makes you hump the dance floor.
Lavish Habits – Dance Wit You – Select - Simple bassline, Mos Def vocals, and it is great to move some ass to!!
Dimitri – Infatuation – Tweekin - Killer bassline and very boompty-boomp. Shawna got the record with a scratch on it. Such is her luck, but she still plays the shit out of it.
Clyde feat. Capitol A – Serve it up – (brooks hip house mix) - Mantis - Heard the song on a Pat Nice CD and was hooked on it ever since. Awesome lyrics! Pheromones rule!
Lawnchair Generals feat Angela C. – Tell you Something – Westbound - This song has always made our asses move on that dance flo’. Sexy female vocals.
Kaskade – Steppin’ Out – Jason Hodges Mix – OM - Reminds us of each other!! Isn’t it b-e-a-utiful and sickening all in one?
J Rod & Pat Nice – Peter Pan (Land Shark Remix) – Pin-up - Doesn’t everyone feel this way every once in awhile? Reminiscent of how things use to be before we had to grow up. Jon says, “Catch you on the B-side, Pat!”
Demarkus Lewis – Crown Royal – Brique Rouge - To Shawna, this song makes her smile. It has a fantastic female vocal and she has danced to this song on more than one occasion. Makes Jon feel all tingly on the outside.
The Human League – Don’t You Want Me - This old 80’s tune has been remixed and reworked and is an oldie but a goodie.
For more info about these guys, check out their web site BreakfastKlub.com.

ac november 2004 goa

intro by todd ~ photo by Hardrive ~  AC is definitely one of the most under-rated DJs by the MidWest Dance & Music scene, but outside of our land-locked area, you will find him playing to audiences cross-country, as well as crowds as far away as Germany, such as the recent Voov Festival. He is not just a DJ though, but also a musician, producer and owner of one of the very record labels in the Central MidWest, 666 Zip Code Town Records. Master of Goa and PsyTrance and most recently, Chillout at phlashback; with an accompanying new release Muladhara, here's a few Goa selections from AC this month, to help give you a better idea of the kind of things you will hear from his record bag.

Phi "Plz Pass Me Beer & Acid" (Elf) A step back to the good old days of full-on beach stompin' acid.

Hydrophonic "A Place Like This" (Yellow Sunshine Explosion) A searing stormer ignighting doofs all over the planet. This is the aural roller coaster from hell as being the most fun your ears can have.

Cronneloctopus "Power Beers" (Unreleased) The sounds of Duff Beer and lysergic insanity wrapped tightly around a throbbing 4/4 beat.

Grapes Of Wrath "Birds Of Prey (Y2k4 Edit)" (Paradiso) Absolute pure sickness for the dance floor. The Grapes are the new masters of the late night madness.

Kode IV "Fall Into My Heart" (Cibea) A dance floor favorite from the home side of the pond. Always in my crate.

Dark Nebula "Lucifer In The Sky Of The Diamonds" (Paradiso) Snivetts take to the dance floor devouring everything in their path, including your mind. A masterfully dark stomper.

Enterprise "Soma" (Tribeadelic) Full-on weird science!

Cameleon "Clear Vision" (Turbo Trance) Unique percussive sounds chip away at your ego and force you to dance like a dervish.

Nomad "Stay Clear" (3D Vision) Frantic synth work weaves in and out of driving percussion to bring your ear wax to a proper boil.

Lazar "Shaggadelic" (Implant) Somewhere in space and time, Timothy Leary and George Clinton gave birth to this blinding piece of psyfunkiness.

AC can be found lurking about his record label web site at 666Records.com

ac november 2004 chillout

intro by todd ~ photo by Hardrive ~ AC is definitely one of the most under-rated DJs by the MidWest Dance & Music scene, but outside of our land-locked area, you will find him playing to audiences cross-country, as well as crowds as far away as Germany, such as the recent Voov Festival. He is not just a DJ though, but also a musician, producer and owner of one of the very record labels in the Central MidWest, 666 Zip Code Town Records. Having received his newest chillout release, Muladhara, I was really anxious to have this DJ play at my event, phlashback. I knew that people enjoy it every bit as much as I did. Bringing a live Sitar player with him for accompaniment, I was absolutely right and heard many praises for his set, and a lot of people asking exactly what they had heard. So, here's a few chillout selections from AC this month, to help give you a better idea of the kind of things you will hear from his record bag.

MIDIval PunditZ "Forest Dreams" (Six Degrees) A wonder-filled journey through distant lands...a monster of a morning track!

Aes Dana "Sub Morphing" (Ultimae) From the Ultimae label what more do you need to know? Another must-have of spacious psychedelic ambience.

J.Viewz "Untracked" (Candyflip) For the cabbage, a weird little ditty that morphs in and out of downtempo atmospheres teasing the listener to completion.

Gargoyles "Space Baby"(Backroom Beats) A groovy, lushious space filled with slinking chuffers. Pure pillow funk for the spoons.

Kerry Lannan & AC "K├╝rten Krunk" (666 ZipCode Town Rekkids) Blunted downtempo moodiness with a healthy slice of TR808, sitar and answering machine samples.

Soul Surfer "Sunrise @ Bells Beach" (Yellow Sunshine Explosion) This is what life sounds like as you watch the sunrise at a beach doof. It is a blissed out explosion of awe.

Aes Dana "Dusts" (Ultimae) Another reason to dance and listen inwards to the coded wetware of gaia. Sealed with the Ultiame sound of perfect mastering.

Banco de Gaia "Harvey and the Old Ones" (Six Degrees) The best way to greet the sunrise. So much energy and awe explodes at the peak of this song, you just can't help but to smile and dance.

Rx "Dick is a Killer" (Unreleased) A brilliant piece that sports George W. Bush as the lead singer professing his love of Dick and a sex change. It is pure madness signaling a new standard in production. This song NEVER leaves your head.

Shulman "A Magnificent Void" (Aleph Zero) A sonic tapestry of inner-space, as this is what a Alex Gray painting sounds like.

AC can be found lurking about his record label web site at 666Records.com.

steady

an interview by phelyne ~ photos by todd ~ One of Kansas City's most talented, yet humble djs, Nick Steady was a DJ I had heard of for a few years but never really got to know until recently. Being a huge ragga fan myself, I was thoroughly impressed to hear him throw down a ragga style set when he was booked at the Cup and Saucer for Wednesday's Perk a month or so back. So, I took the liberty to pull him aside, and talk with him for a bit. I wanted to know more about his views on the world of music. Here are some of the great things he had to say.

Nick, when were you introduced into the scene and what peeked your interest about electronic music?

I was first introduced to electronic music back in 94 or so. A friend of mine had some bootlegged videos from parties in England and they were mostly playing breakbeat hardcore, the stuff that was popular right before jungle came into being. I didn't accept it with open arms at first, but it did peak my interest and so I gave it a little time. I think it was the way it sounded. It wasn't about any certain message as far as it not being very lyrically driven; it seemed more important for the music to make you feel an emotion. It lacked ownership like most mainstream forms of music, so it was easier to feel like a part of it yourself. A lot of the sounds were very new, unlike anything I had heard before. I had gotten so bored of rock and the other things I was listening to. This was fresh and unknown. It was all very exciting to me then, and still is today.

What motivated you to learn to dj and how long after you got involved into the electronic music culture did you decide to start djing?

It took a while. For a long time it didn't even occur to me that it was something that I wanted to do. I had always played instruments growing up. I played cello from the time I was eight and played bass guitar in highschool. I had stopped doing both around 99 and it left a huge void in my life. It wasn't until 2001, I think, when I was spending most of my time around a record store that doesn't exsist anymore, and almost every one of my friends were djs. They thought I had good taste in music and wondered why I hadn't taken up djing before. It all kind of started there. None of them played jungle or dnb and that's what I wanted to hear, so I started buying records and practicing all day and night.

What store are you referring to and who were the people that were inspiring you on a local level?

Goodtimes was the record store. The people that really pushed me in the right direction were Rob Lee and Nitro. Rob sat me down in front of the tables and explained how everything worked and left me to my own devices to figure it all out from there. It was a good strategy. It didn't take me long to feel my way through it at all. Nitro really helped me boost my confidence. He wasn't much of a drum n bass fan, but he always had good things to say about my track selection and my growing ability to mix. When I would start to doubt myself, he would always know exactly what to say to make me stop feeling sorry for myself and to get back up on the horse. They were both great mentors.

Who would you consider to be your major musical influences that were not local, whom you might have never had contact with?

Electronic wise, or just in general? I guess it all ties in together either way, because there is a lot of non electronic music that influences me in what I do today. I suppose it's all relative. But to answer the question...The non electronic music that has influenced me has been bands like Tool, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, PJ Harvey, The Who, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, even classical composers like Vivaldi, Handel and Grieg. As far as electronic music that has influenced me, producers like Square Pusher, Dyllan, Tech Itch, High Contrast just to name a few.

Do you plan to persue music as a career or keep it as a hobby? Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now, musically?

I don't like to make plans. I'm the type of person that can go where ever the wind carries me. If it turns out to be a career then I would accept that with open arms, if not, it won't mean that I'll stop playing. Whatever is meant to be will be. As long as music is in my life in some way shape or form, I'll be happy. The important thing to me as that it remains something that I enjoy. I do plan on getting a little more serious about it in the next few months, but I'm carefull not to get overzealous about it. Ten years from now, hopefully I will have stopped procrastinating and made a few tracks and really have a defined style I can call my own. Really, and I suppose this is true of any dj, I would like to have found my niche by then. I think I'm still testing a lot of the waters at this time, but I'm startin to be able to separate the different styles I enjoy apart from one another. Wow, I didn't think about the fact that I'll be thirty-five in ten years, so let's say that this is what I want in five. Of course, with the way this music is ever-chainging, it's very hard to pinpoint anything as far as predicting the future.

faint blue note

by Michael Bradshaw  ~ photos by Andrew Nolte ~ At this point in the game you can still get away with not knowing who The Faint are. However, the window for that opportunity is closing fast. On the other hand, if you are aware of The Faint and you don’t like their music, whether you’re a techno head or an indie-rocker, there‘s simply no excuse not to like this band.

When the opportunity arose to write a review for The Faint’s show at the Blue Note Tuesday night, I jumped all over it. I was taught in my journalism classes to be weary of stories where bias might skew my objectivity. After the first paragraph of this review I hope it’s clear that I am a die-hard Faint fan so this is going to be skewed as hell.

That being said, I will admit that I have walked away from shows by DJ’s and bands who I love, wishing I had spent the night doing something else. I know the difference between a good and bad performance and have no trouble giving a bad review to musicians I respect.

Fortunately, I wont have to do that here.

After wrestling with the door for a while Tuesday night in front of The Blue Note in Columbia, Mo, The Faint’s tour manager escorted my photographer and I into the show in time to see the opening band touring with The Faint. Beep Beep was the name of the group and they were just crappy enough to provide me some quality time to reflect on how my love affair with The Faint began two years ago.

I remember the first time I heard their music I was living in London. A friend of mine brought home a copy of “Dance Macabre” fresh from a live show at Oxford Circus. Some other friends and I were already pretty inebriated and had little energy to protest her putting the CD on. After listening to the opening track, “Agenda Suicide” for about eleventy-million times in a row and trashing our flat to the remaining tracks, it was clear my relationship with The Faint had just begun.

“Damn,” I thought, “London has some really cutting-edge music.”

When I learned the band was actually from Omaha, Ne, I simply couldn’t believe it. Not to rag on Omaha or anything, but, The Faint got remixed by Paul Oakenfold. I can’t think of any other band that has exploded on the scene like they have and can claim the Midwest as home. Some would argue The Get Up Kids have done it, but I’m talking exclusively about bands with talent here.

After suffering through Beep Beep and a lukewarm performance by TV for Radio, the time for The Faint was nigh. I stood in anticipation sipping my drink and smoking nervously as the crew set up the video screens and keyboards.

Before I knew it, The Faint took the stage and proceeded to pound out track after track of twisted ejecta that plumed in the theatre like a phoenix rising above the crowd. It frothed and shit rainbows and firebombs sending the entire place into a tizzy.

Yes. It was that good.

I had the opportunity to preview The Faint’s latest album, “Wet From Birth” so I was pretty familiar with all of the new songs. It didn’t matter if most of the crowd only recognized stuff from “Dance Macabre” and their first album (the first of their albums that matters) “Blank Wave Arcade.” The tracks from “Wet” are equally as danceable and squeal with the same high-intensity voltage The Fait are known for.

My only disappointment with the show is that The Faint didn’t play what I think is the best track on Wet from Birth. “Southern Bells in London Sing,” is to me a fine example of just how far The Faint is willing to take it. Some criticism has been written about The Faint in regards to “Southern Bells” saying that it’s “overly ironic.” I disagree. I think Southern Bells is quite sincere. Sure, the Indo-European folk music meets no-wave punk-thing is a stretch, but it works. Even though I think I’ll look back on writing that last sentence in twenty years and laugh, the song is good and there’s no arguing it.

There is also no refuting that Wet is a great album. The Faint can simply do no wrong. Most of The Faint’s critics site that the band is too dance-oriented, too electronic, too 80’s. To that I say, dance rock is what’s popular right now (thank god), electronic music is popular right now (because it’s, uh... the year 2004) and people are just now realizing that there was some darn fine music in the 80’s and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating that fact through the advent of new musical trends.

This last point is important because ultimately The Faint is an 80’s band transported to the 21st century. After a particularly stirring cover of “Psycho Killer” originally by the legendary and totally essential, Talking Heads, it was obvious The Faint is aware of their roots--I feel I have to include the artist who originally recorded “Psycho Killer” because half the crowd Tuesday night seemed to be stumped. Though, I was to busy having an orgasm in my pants to give it much thought. However, the crowd was definitely in tune to The Faint as is half the musical world at present. After their cross-country tour to promote Wet from Birth, The Faint is tackling Europe (again), Australia and Japan.

And, my fellow Midwesterners, they’re from Omaha.

After drinking enough to drown a monkey, dancing to my favorite band amidst the clamor of synths grinding over drum machines, I figured it was time to put my pants back on, find the photographer and head home.

“To wrap it up,” I thought to myself as I stumbled to the car, “The Faint are great, no-wave and punk are great, I love the 80’s. Beep Beep sucks. Midwest represent.”

For more information about this band, including downloads of some of their hottest tunes and remixes, be sure to drop in on their web site TheFaint.com

sound effects

by bPositive ~ Imagine it’s the weekend and you’re out at your favorite club. It’s got a hip, mod decor, the latest lights and a huge, boomin’ sound system that is tuned to the “nth” degree. The DJ is dishing out some tasty platters of your favorite tracks. Yet, there are, at most, 15 people on the dance floor and as the night goes on, those numbers gradually dwindle. This scene has been played out in Kansas City quite regularly in the past six months.

What’s behind this recent epidemic of half-empty dance floors? There’s probably not just one cause. For one thing, the club scene, in Kansas City at least, had such success in 2003 and early 2004 that clubs now have a lot more competition. There is not much that can be done about that. But, there also seems to be a surprisingly simple, and addressable, reason that might explain some of this lack luster dance floor action: sound levels have simply become so loud it is chasing people off the dance floor!

It’s no coincidence that several clubs that are experiencing this phenomenon have just recently installed new sound systems with massively upgraded speakers and amps and are now capable of producing much better quality sound. Unfortunately, the increased amplification available means these systems are also capable of producing much louder sound. Without the telltale sounds of overdriven speakers to signal that sound levels are too loud, often DJs and club owners keep turning the sound ever higher.

Many people equate louder sound with better sound, but fail to understand that people enjoy being able to talk to each other while dancing, especially early in the night when the dance floor is just getting started. If there are any lulls in the DJs set, dancers will quickly notice any unpleasant loudness and leave the dance floor. Once a dance floor is empty, sound levels become even louder and more likely to annoy patrons, creating a situation where people will then be even less likely to return to the dance floor.

One club in Kansas City has already keyed in that loudness is a problem. Their staff is on board with keeping the levels reasonable. However, many DJs will push a system without being aware of it's effects on the people dancing in front of them. After all, they are standing behind the speakers. They may not realize that sound levels have gotten past the comfort levels. This is where it behooves the conscientious club owner or promoter to let the DJ know. A compressor or limiter might also help but is not the total answer as DJs can still push the sound levels via the mixer.

No DJ likes to play to a half-empty dance floor. It’s counter-intuitive, but I have a strong hunch that when people can hear themselves talk again on the dance floor and don’t get ringing ears just from walking in the room, people will begin dancing more again and will stay at clubs longer rather than leaving well before 3:00 am like they have been lately.

If clubs and DJs don’t figure this sound level thing out, I predict, there will be some that don’t survive. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the single factor that killed the club scene was sound systems that were too good!

And, let’s not forget the most important reason for keeping sound at sane levels – our hearing! All this overly loud music can cause hearing loss over time. And, as I am fond of saying, who wants to be too deaf to hear their favorite music when they are 50 or 60?

According to an organization called H.E.A.R (hearnet.com), if you have to raise your voice to be heard by someone less than three feet away you should be wearing hearing protection. When was the last time you didn't have to raise your voice to be heard by someone right next to you on the dance floor at almost any club or even bars in Kansas City? It’s obvious that hearing damaging levels of sound have been emanating from most clubs and bars every weekend, a trend that has been steadily increasing over the past year. As evidence, I routinely wear hearing protection, and my ringing ears testify that sound levels have consistently grown louder in the past year and are now routinely exceeding the level of safety.

This upward trend of ever louder sound levels can’t continue forever. If the clubs and bars want to continue to thrive and prosper, they will need to achieve a healthy balance between sound levels and the safety and comfort of patron's hearing. I’d love to hear any comments on this issue, or ideas for how we can get sound levels back to a happy balance.

Sidebar from HearNet.com:

“Here's an easy, safe and effective way for musicians and fans to check to make sure loud concerts aren't hurting your ears.

Before the show, set the volume of your car radio to a level where you can barely hear the words. A talk show works best, as sometimes it is hard to understand lyrics in music. After the concert, turn on the radio to the same setting.

Can you still hear and understand the words? If not, you're experiencing a form of short term hearing loss called temporary threshold shift. When this happens too many times, the damage can become permanent.

If you notice these early warning signs, or have any hearing difficulties, get your hearing checked by an audiologist or physician. Other signs of possible problems can be acute or chronic dizziness, pain, discomfort, and drainage from you ears. If you have any of these symptoms, consult an ear specialist.”

election 2004

story and photo by todd ~

"These are the times that try men's souls" - Thomas Paine.

I have given a lot of thought to the most recent presidential election that is to be held in the next few days. In fact, I have always given a lot of careful thought to each and every election that I have been able to participate in. I have always tried to participate in this one last vestige of democracy.

It is really too bad that only a very narrow percentage of our population will be joining me this election day as I head out to go and excercises this right, guaranteed to all citizens of this country, by the 15th 19th & 26th Amendments to the Constitution.

We are not talking about a privelege reserved for the upper class of this country. It is not a privelege that is reserved only for the business leaders in this country. It is right that each and every one of has.

There are multitude of things that keep people from voting. I will not sit here and go over every one of them, but they do all have one thing in common. They are all a bunch of excuses and nothing more.

Probably the most common theme among these excuses; people will simply tell you, "My vote won't make a difference. They'll do what they want to anyway." Of course, these same people will go on to explain to you how horribly overbearing and oppressive their government has become. Aside from being the most common theme, I also consider this the most ridiculous reason for not voting.

Imagine this. On Election Day of this year, only 10 people from every state in the country go out and vote. We would have 500 people telling nearly 300 million others what to do. How fair is that exactly? Would it not make more sense for the same 300 million people to be deciding their own fate?

300 million. Yea. We are pretty close to that number in this country. Don't say I didn't tell you that we have the numbers to make it stop. With those numbers, we have the power to make it change. We have the power to make a difference and choose our own destiny.


You know what to do.

All you have to do is go out and do it!

Make a Difference!

Vote!

I don't care who you vote for or what.

Just vote.

don't consume create

by Brent Crampton ~ photos courtesy of Chicago Groove ~ By creating, instead of consuming, Chicago Groove is pushing house music to new boundaries. Cofounders of the site, David O’Malley, aka david.o, and Ramiro Solis, first conceived the idea for the web site while drinking tequila and expressing their desire to altruistically spread Chicago house music. “Chicago is everything to me, from the best food, the skyline, the change of weather, to the unbelievable amount of music here,” says david.o. “There is 3 events worth going to every night.” From the cocktail napkin that they brainstormed on that night birthed the concept of Chicago Groove.

Looking for mixes from Rick Garcia, Janel Roland, or Alexander East? Chicago Groove’s got that, plus much more.

From the hundreds of Real Player mix sets to check out, picture gallery of all the hottest clubs in Chicago, and the events list - Chicago Groove is a house-heads connection point to the underground house scene in Chicago.

The web site “is about our love of promoting Chicago’s best deejays, music and events, while throwing our own events,” said david.o. “All in all, it’s about fun.” Web developer, Nino Chavez, aka Nino, said, “ The web site simply lets us share our experiences with everyone else.”

With their weekly event on Saturdays at Beviamo Wine bar, and their monthly on the first Saturday of every month at Big Wig, Chicago Groove has booked international talent from Iz & Diz, Lance Desardi, Lady D, Derrick Carter and Mark Grant to name a few.

But Chicago events are, according to david.o, “kind of on a lull right now compared to a few months ago.” Nino said, “Chicago is rich in house music talent. But it’s a small population of house heads with so many events and people trying to make a name for themselves, it spreads the community too thin.” He went on to say, “there are too many times when I hear people say, ‘it’s not like it used to be,’ but I’m not quite sure what that means yet.”

To help remedy that situation, Chicago Groove is “promoting house music all over the city,” according to John Daminato, a local Chicago deejay that has his bio and mix hosted on the site. “By hosting mixes on their own dedicated server, booking local deejays, maintaining residencies and collaborating events with X’ess, they are helping to keep house music thriving.” Another strategy that Chicago Groove takes avoiding a cover charge at their events. “Chicago Groove attendees never have to pay a cover,” says david.o.

Considering that the web site is averaging 300 unique hits a day, the organically-grown concept is practically producing its own fruit. “ It‘s weird when people to come up to me when I am out, saying that ‘ you are david.o,’ and me not knowing them.”

When it comes down to it, whether it be buying records, playing the vulture-game with trying to get gigs, or jumping on any opportunity to promote before others, many deejays in the industry only consume. Nino, david.o, Ramiro and the whole Chicago Groove are creating.

Be sure to check these guys out at Chicago Groove.com!

vault of heaven

Burning Man 2004 ~ by Ron Hauser & Zay Thompson ~ illustration by Rod Garrett ~ photos by Ron Hauser

The Burning Man festival is a week-long art and culture celebration that takes place in the desert of Northwestern Nevada. This year, over 20 people from the local area journeyed out there and played together on the dry lake bed (The Playa). Upon their return, these Midwesterners blew off steam at HullabalU, an "afterburn" party, held outside of Lawrence, KS on October 9th. At HullabalU, the burners tried to bring some of the Playa life back home, reconnect, and share memories. This article continues that effort by attempting to portray Burning Man experiences and culture.

Most non-burner events follow the format of a crew or company presenting entertainment to an audience. This arrangement has resulted in great events for years. However, burners experiment with community by taking a different approach. There is no crew or company responsible for booking talent. The insane entertainment at burner events is provided by every person who attends. If you would like to see something specific, you must make it happen. The entire festival is your canvas. It is up to you to decide what to paint. It is real responsibility, but amazing creative freedom!

Obviously, there are many things that help a person have a good time but they are too big for one person to handle. Individuals need each other! This is why we have community! At Burning Man everyone has the opportunity to volunteer to help take care of the infrastructure, as greeters, rangers, box office workers, Department of Public Works crew members, Earth Guardians etc. etc. Volunteering is a really good way to make new friends as well!

People band together to create the performances, fantastic art projects, and theme camps, sometimes larger than any one person could accomplish. A person hanging upside down spinning fire would not seem nearly as amazing without all the music, dancers, and jungle scenes. By creating your own awesome experience, you end up ensuring that other people have a good time too. Your creativity is a gift to others and vice versa. When everyone creates magic together, it becomes a giant positive feedback engine, and a gift for everyone.

Commerce can be too impersonal, while gifting is deeply personal and a fundamental feature of Burning Man. Just think of standing in line at Wal-Mart. When I see a gift, I remember the person who gave it to me and all the good times I had with that person. Even if I just briefly met that person, the gift helps them stand out in my mind. And unlike consumer goods, it’s hard for that gift to become trash. A gift is a personal bond, a memory cache.

Vending, commercial sponsorships and advertising, and money are banned. Even bartering is discouraged. Anything that is exchanged is a gift.

The gift economy also enhances the community in broader ways. The most unique form of gifting that I saw at Burning Man 2004 was during a Sol System party. A couple of guys pushed a cart into the middle of the dance floor. The cart had a built in sink, toothpaste dispensers, and hundreds of separately packaged toothbrushes. A tooth brush bar! Perfect for the funk that builds up on one’s teeth after a full night of dancing. Because of these guys, the entire dance floor had nice breath and sweet mouths to kiss!

It is hard to pick out particular moments at Burning Man and describe them, because in the cool, rational light of "the default world" they seem to lose their color. Everything at Burning Man is informed by the massive amounts of personal energy put into the event by every single person. Everything at Burning Man seems bigger than life. My friends seem bigger than life. I do. Strangers do. But I guess one of the cool things is that when you come back from such an event, that "bigger than life" feeling sticks with you and you just really want to spread that feeling around, because it isn't anything arcane. Any group of people can generate that level of energy, just by joining in together, participating, throwing their talents and energies into the group.

There were two images from the night of the burn this year that really made a specific impression on me. With any luck, some of the energy from those moments will trickle through this imperfect channel and will please and delight you.

Saturday night in Black Rock City, 3rd Degree Burn, a local Kansas City fire troupe, performed in the fire procession at their first Burning of the Man. There are about 1000 fire dancers in a huge circle around the man, spinning poi, staff, whips, ropes, fire fingers and breathing fire. Any performance you can do with fire is there. A staggering site, and our friends from 3rd Degree are in the thick of it. I was in the front row watching with Johnny. The fire dancers complete their performance and turn, along with 35,000 participants, to watch the man being engulfed in flame. For a moment, I see the following in perfect silouette against the roaring flames: Agni Tara (the shortest one), Aaron (the tallest one), Scary Carrie (with the crazy hair), Kaalin (in his big leather tophat); along with Boozer, dragooned as a safety guy (wearing big phat hakema pants). Right at that moment, I thought "Happy first Burn, 3rd degree!!!"

Later that night (the time was unknown because a watch was just not going to be used to pace my wanderings of the city), I encountered a most amazing sight, even by Burning Man standards. I saw, out in the open playa, a big collection of lights. I was sure that there had not been anything out there on previous nights. I had been out past Sol System (the most popular rave area to watch the sunrise) several times earlier in the week. So I cruised over to figure out what was going on.

Lots of structures had been put up in the middle of the open space. There were a couple of flatbed trucks, scaffolding, cages, video screens, control booths. The trucks and some of the scaffolding provided a stage. There was a fork truck, a big propane truck, a forest of palm trees with carpets under them and lit by crazy lights. There was a big drill rig with the boom out over the stage. Drummers were playing on a handful of drum sets, along with some big drums and a huge gong. An electronic music artist was mixing tracks, with gas flares going off in time to the music. There was a guitarist playing into the mix, and he had a flame thrower on his guitar that would go off on the beats. A couple of video artists were mixing wild images up on the screens as lasers were going off overhead. On the stage was a dance troupe of several women doing a dance number. People were getting down all around the stage area.

I hopped up on a structure to see better, and realized two things. First, I realized that the electronic track had a vocal sample in it which was "drop the laundry" and second, the women were doing a really energetic, burlesque kind of number to it. Meanwhile, above the stage, there was a guy swinging from the drill rig, by his ankles, spinning fire! It turns out this creation was a collaboration between The Mutaytor and Xara. These were two theme camps that had set up together during the day on Saturday just for the burn night performance. Wow! That was a bad ass party!

Interwoven through all the fire, the great parties, the monumental art, and the surreal landscape is a unique culture that makes burner events possible. Most importantly, when you go to a burner event, you find that you are completely responsible for making sure you have a good time. This statement is not just about having a good attitude or mouthing nice slogans. Everyone who attends Burning Man events must bring enough food, water, shelter, and whatever other supplies he or she needs to be comfortable at the event. There is no vending. Personal survival is at stake. A person must also pack out all of his or her trash and leave no trace by not littering and polluting the land.

To sum things up, thirty five thousand plus intersecting imaginations run amok for a week, projecting themselves on their environment, and then disappear without a trace. As a result the festival feels like a group dream, a mirage in the desert. One of the local community members puts it best when he said that he has to go back every year just to prove to himself that it happened. In the end, like true art, Burning Man is what you make of it. With that in mind, what kind of mirage do you envision?

To see more photos from Ron & Zay's Fantastic Voyage into The Vault of Heaven: Burning Man 2004, be sure to drop by our gallery. Look under Festivals & Cultural Events!

For more information about the Burning Man Festival, you can visit their web site at BurningMan.com

Or, to hookup with local burners, you can visit MidwestBurners.com, for all the latest on local burner events.

november 2004 editor note

Well, we have survived yet another Halloween and there's tons of photos to prove it. The cover photo this month is from a contribution made to the gallery by Ron Hauser of the Midwest Burners, be sure to check out the related story, Vault of Heaven. I think the photo is just completely hilarious, if you understand the painting this particular piece of art at Burning Man was based on. I had no idea that God wore a Sombrero!

Lest I forget, the photo just to the right here is of me and a friend of mine, Kristin, who was also one of the Security folks at my recent party, phlashback. This photo was taken by the headliner, DJ Hardrive. Thanks for the help Kristin and thanks for a great set Hardrive! And yes, there's an evil monkey in my closet, but he wasn't always that way.

I did want to take a moment here to send out my thanks to each and every single person that made phlashback possible! There is simply no way that we could have pulled it off without you. You will not be forgotten, ever. I also want to thank everyone that came out to see what it was all about, you helped make this party one hell of a success and I won't forget that either. Hopefully, we will be able to do it again sometime really soon. My goal was to have a party for you, to come out, have a good time hanging with old friends and meeting new ones and just have the best possible time. Who said you can't throw a $5 party anymore, eh?

It certainly has been a crazy month. I think we broke our record for photos taken, with just over 2000. That's just crazy, but between myself and Joe and Kourtney, we are doing are very best to keep up with the rest of you!

I checked out a couple of odds and ends this month, with the GladFest Parade 2004, a Midwest Burners gathering in Lawrence, and a Juggalo gathering right here in Kansas City, with plenty of Faygo for everyone!

All Hallo's Eve was definitely the big treat though, for anyone that was out and about this past Saturday. Wow! Who would have thought there ever would have been a party at Union Station? The costumes and the setup were fantastic and I definitely look forward to seeing a third round of Terror at the Train Station. The Official After-Party, held at The Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub was no less than the party itself had been, making for a solid night of revelry, matched only by New Year's Eve.

November looks to be a little more quiet, but you never know. The way things have been poppin off lately, it might just take us all by surprise.

Oh! And keep your calendar open for December 11th! The Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub will be hosting our third anniversary party, entitled phocas 3 (as in cubed). Flyers will be circulating this month! Keep your eyes peeled. You are not going to want to miss this one. We are bringin in some House music from as far away as Jacksonville, FL and New York City and we intend to House Kabal up right.

Until then, you know I'll see you out on the dance floor!

~phocas~

november 2004 issue