Tuesday, March 01, 2005

lunatik on decks

forward by Brent Crampton ~photo by Lunatik ~ This month’s On Decks edition is bringing you a taste of the old school acid house sound courtesy of DJ Lunatik. Lunatik has been bangin’ electronic music in the Midwest for over a decade. Considered a staple in the Omaha scene, Lunatik has done it all. Whether it be throwing events with international talent such as H-Foundation and Frankie Bones or signing talent to his record label, Wreckless, Lunatik is a mad man of ambition. His newest mix, Room 303 is sure to bring those reminiscent feelings of the acid house days while simultaneously displaying forward-thinking aspects.

On the Decks gives the DJs themselves an opportunity to explain the feelings and progression behind the mix. Below are the words of Lunatik taking you guided tour while you listen to his mix.

Imagine it’s 1988 in a dark warehouse. Your spine is tingling, the sweat is dripping and your mind is tripping on the sound of acid house. While your body is jackin and your brain is crackling back and forth in time. Fast forward now to 2005 and things come full circle. That little silver box, whose presence was ignored, given reverence, despised and revered again, creates noises that moistens your mind. Room 303 is that warehouse and this music evokes similar sensations. Current tracks that jack you back!

Track listing:

Jack the Box – Kiko – Gigolo
This tune seemed like the perfect beginning to this mix. This track, although a current Gigolo release, is a flashback to the old skool feeling that this set aims to evoke. The vocal rhymes are reminiscent of “Jack the House” with a simple synth and drum pattern. Kiko is a solid producer, with this being an interesting diversion from his usually electro-fied sound.

A Jackin Freak – Acid House Obsessions – brique rouge
I think that the percussion spices up this tune. The “house music” background sample over the slowly-evolving 303 line work well with the percussive elements. When the open hi-hat comes in, the track is set into forward motion.

Jackin Fer Beatz – DJ ESP – Pro-Jex
The distinctive element in this track is the deep sub-bass drum sound that gives this tune a throbbing pulse. With the higher pitched synth speaking analog over a mid-range acid line, the familiar theme of “Jackin the Beatz” resounds endlessly. ESP is a rock star.

Better Than You – Mr. Negative
Pitched down vocals with a non-politically correct message. What is there not to love? I chose to turn to the dark side of the force when selecting this track. Although the instrumentals are not inherently evil, the selfish nature of the lyrical cynicism makes you want to punch your mother and spit on homeless people.

Jesus Loves the Acid – Electric Ecstasy Club(Duriez/Djulz rmx) – Bugged Out
Classic X0X drum machine styles give this old skool jam a rework. Complete with the “Aciiieeeed” call to the dancefloor, this tune will rock your warehouse like it is 1988. If you fall asleep listening to this on repeat, you will awake with black rave boogers. Well, almost.

All Depends on You – Starship 727 – Pigna
Another track with great percussion and pitched down house-muzik vocals. When the cowbell comes in, things are in full effect. One for the punters, complete with congas. Mandatory “Jack the House” samples included.

Woman Beat Da Man – Gregg f/Lotus & Carbon – King Kong Records
Slutty vocals and a sputtering TB 303 lead into laid back beats. This track builds like Legos, with the beats teasing the 303 back and forth. When the drum line thins out into a semi-break beat you take the needle out of your arm and begin to nod out. You are awakened by a dirty onslaught of sonic decimation. While not quite the brown frequency, its approximation makes you rush to the bathroom, bowels in a blaze. That ancient vibe is thrust into the future when the drums slam back into a noisy cacophony of acid delirium.

No 303 – Soul Mekanik – Music For Freaks
With the sonic architecture of this mix set resembling a topographical map of madness, the ebb flows into this aural morsel. The conversation contained is a one-sided nerdfest which offers insight into the world of dance music producers. Kind of. In this modern day land of Fruity Poops and tRreason cut and paste production, it is refreshing to hear the pale skinned, dungeons and dragons, basement dwelling sounds of somebody blabbing about analog gear. Poor guy has everything but a computer controlled silver acid box, Ill trade him mine for the rest of his set up. And throw in a d10 and a 7th level Paladin.

Acid Invader – Kebacid – Blank
Pure madness, angered insanity tracing the shadows of slides and accents. This track begins with fire chasing the 808 kick. An alien acid machine has taken over my mind is experimenting on my body. I kind of enjoy it in a strange uncomfortable way. When it all breaks down, the spaced out, pitch echoed, and modulated synth reminds me how lonely we are in comparison to the entire universe. Paranoia sets in when the random sci-fi/space samplefest in unleashed, and by the time the full beat is in full effect I have asphyxiated by choking on my tongue.

On My Elbows(Hardfloor Remix) – David Duriez – Duriez
Hardfloor has been warping minds for a long time. Serotonin levels are toyed with by astral projection. Neo-Tokyo-techno-Mecca beckons to the half-cybernetic wasted youth jacked into the matrix. The 303 is in awe-inspiring form.

Astridson – JD’s Acid Power – Blank
This confirms it. Insanity is imminent. This track melts minds. Who needs drugs when there is music like this? Psychedelic yet connected, filtered oscillators display a transcendental consciousness.

Keps – Hugg and Pepp – Dahlback
Everything is a buildup for when the dueling 303s wind up and down in succession. They play the same note sequences, but are slightly offset. Dripping down drains, slipping into the subconscious, setting the stage for further debauchery.

Computer Controlled (subject rmx) – Pascal Feos – True to Form Recordings
This begins as a testament to the power of percussion. Some Charles Manson sounding thing is going on in the background. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I know it disturbs me. When I hear the schizophrenic breakdown, I become more uneasy. Then the drum beat slams in. Wicked! What is this? It sounds like a robot abortion.

Sweat on the Walls – John Tejada – Poker Flat Recordings
Here to inject some sanity to the situation, Mr. Tejada tells a story about this wicked party where sweat is dripping from the walls. Everybody is taking drugs and having fun. This tune has a very deep, clubby kind of sound, without compromising the raw integrity of whatever I’m trying to get across here. I like the way it alternates between a high pitched sine wave manipulation and a 303ish acid line.

516 Acid – Josh Wink – Ovum
If you live in Antarctica, there is a chance you might not have heard this track. Otherwise, it needs no introduction. Josh is the man, thrashing 303s since the early 90s. His tracks build to an explosion, which is what happens here. I let this tune kick it for a while before mixing out, because I like the breakdown action with the tripped out stretched vocals.

Flash(Tigas Acid Flashback Mix) – Martini Bros. – Turbo
This track sounds like it is running a marathon. Or perhaps it is swimming the English channel, or competing in a triathlon. One thing is for sure, this track is heavily doped, and should be banned from international competition. I’m surprised the steroids haven’t shrunken its lead-line.

Make Me Feel – Benassi Bros/Dhany (Etienne De Crecyt Remix) – Division
So this is what the radio stations should be playing. Commercial enough to ensnare the zombie masses, yet underground enough to demand street cred from scenesters everywhere(maybe), the acied is here, just under the surface. And your girlfriend likes it.

To The Other Side – Woody McBride – Omniscient Records
303’s under a cloud of smoke, filtered through your mucous membranes. After the top 40 of the last track, this is a refreshing reminder that this is not some cheesy trance radio station you have tuned in to by mistake. This is room 303 baby, where the strippers are sexy and the champagne is always overpriced.

Lost In A Daze – Computer Controlled - ?
I love the thinly veiled 303 mindbend of this song. This is an unreleased track by Computer Controlled(Frantik) from Wisconsin. An awesome Midwest acid head-bender. If you want to learn more about this guy, check out www.computer-controlled.com.

solaris march 2005 techno

photo by todd ~ Local KC Techno DJ, Solaris is back once again with his picks for some of the hardest and rawest Techno beats for the new year. Always looking for ways to push the limit of your Techno experience, check out these tracks and, courtesy of DJ Solaris.

Nice stuff here. Leave it to Mark and Chrissy to find have the time to get this out. Great builder with a tinge of that acid feel for your flavored needs. This tool is great to prelude the night of the audiophiles.

I have to say that this label snuck up on me a month ago and I haven’t been the same since. Its nice to see one of those dedicated labels pull out floor stompers left and right. This one is no different. Great percussive madness with a kick to die for. Keep your ears peeled. I see great things from this label.

One of those well rounded records here. You have everything you need. From tech house to the nice peak hour groove. Its like a set in a sleeve. Suited for the taste of any crowd.

Nice and chill. Not the stuff I am used to playing, but defiantly the stuff I have loved since the time techno came to be known by me. This is how a night should end if your in your car on the way home with the sun peaking over the horizon.

Alex and his partner have revived the nostalgic of our time. Revamping the old theme with new ideas giving us this stomper. Have some fun and watch the old kids contort as they realize just what your doing.

E2 - TIM VISION - E2001
This one has some energy in it. Nice builds and a flavor that reminds me of a lot of Alex Calver’s stuff. Give in to your wants and needs. Your body will thank you after it has recuperated against the onslaught.

This is just one of those tracks you put on and you look around to find your head bobbing with the rest of the crowd. One thing I love about Rowland, he never stops. Always finding some new way to give those speakers their much needed exercise.

Its always nice to see a label and say crap!! These guys are always on their game. I have never been disappointed with them and I think this time I must reiterate “SHIT!” this thing has got groove. If only hal and dave were here in space with me.

Its always nice to leave you on the same note I would do at a party. Well here ya go a gritty drive like no other. Get into your frenzy then for god sake follow up on that distemper shot you have been meaning to get after this track.

process interview

by phelyne ~ An all around Electronic Musician who is talented enough to be signed onto 3 labels and who is more that just a jungle producer. True electronic musicians dabble in a little bit of everything, because electronic music stems from everything. Here is an in-depth look at what it is like to be an electronic musician, from someone who has been in the game for a decade and is still pushing forward. More than an up and comer, but still striving for personal and professional excellence, this man has some wonderful things to say about his journey thus far.

When and how were you introduced to electronic music? How old?

It was around 15 yrs old which would be approximately 1995 when I was first introduced to "proper" electronic music. It was while skateboarding I think, it was jungle on the New York university radio.

What did you like about the music for it to perk your interest?

The beat. First time I heard a jungle beat I was hooked. Aside from that I guess it was the mystery, so to speak, of electronic music in America. As you know, it’s taken a while for it to catch on and still quite hasn’t as compared to other, smaller parts of the world. So I think maybe the appeal of it being sort of unknown and fascinating had something to do with it too.

When did you decide to learn more about making your own music?

Well, when I was a teen I was playing guitar in some punk projects and dabbling a bit with noise music. It wasn’t until the end of high school and beginning of college when I started to mess with " Electronic Music".

What steps did you take to begin learning how to make music?

Well my friends and I had some early experiences writing our own music. Learning "dance music" though was quite different. It took a bit of studying I suppose, the way a tune is constructed is quite different from rock music for example. I was fortunate to have a little bit of help and pointers from Fresh and Vegas of )EIB( through a mutual friend around 1999 or so. They were really down to earth and quite helpful.

You have traveled around the world a lot in your life. Have you gained new knowledge musically from each place you have been?

the first time i went out in London was a big eye opener. The way things are done there, the speed at which the scene develops etc.. were all really interesting to me. I think the size and fact the dnb more or less developed in London and the surrounding areas has a lot to do with how dubs are moved, who's allowed in the circle , etc..

Explain how you see music fitting into your everyday life right now.

Well, everyday is consumed by wanted to succeed as a musician. What success is and should be and all that is quite confusing. Fortunately I’ve managed to reach some people with my music. Things take time, tough business. I don’t really listen to dnb unless I need a little inspiration boost or want to see what the current trends are. However, I’m really big on ignoring trends, I’ve got my own ideas of what dnb is and what my favorite sound is so I just stick to that really. I know it won’t cut a living so there’s no point in selling out, I love it too much.

How many records have you put out?

3 records so far. The first got decent distribution, primarily in Europe. That was under causal agency 001, process "you are somewhere" and skeleton crew "Peg leg".

The second was on ohm resistance 014 that was called "fascination”, a sort of remixish kinda of thing of a classic by the band "the cure".

Third was on the ohm resistance/offshore recordings split 10 inch subscription series, the tune was called "rickshaw"

Was it a hard process to have your own music pressed up on vinyl?

I personally haven’t dealt one on one with it.

Where would you like to go with making your own music?

Actually drum and bass probably consumes 20 percent of my catalogue. I’ve got 45+ non drum and bass songs. Mostly electronic based, heavily beat oriented, some with dramatic movie like themes and others more synthetic cold and experimental depending on the point in my life. I’d love to push that stuff a lot because drum and bass is only one aspect of what I create. As far as dnb goes, id love to just keep pushing my sound, whatever that is exactly. All I can say is to me drum and bass is beautiful because of the marriage between darkness and funkiness. I’m currently involved in a hip hop project and just finished a rock one over the summer. I’d love to release my own music, score films or TV, and produce bands or artists.

What advice do you have to someone who is just learning about electronic music, who wants to delve deeper into it?

Just keep trying, like anything, time is always going to be a factor. Things take time. Knowledge takes time. If you can acknowledge your creativity and are comfortable with it, try to learn about EQing and other mixing techniques. As an electronic musician you can learn a lot about making music as well as fine tuning sound itself.

Are you signed to any labels?

Currently: Causal Agency, Ohm Resistance and Translation Recordings

What kind of music do you make?

Drum and Bass, Rock, Hip Hop, Experimental

What is your favorite style of music?

Impossible to say.

What are your biggest musical influences?

I’d like to think a lot of people are my influences. I guess you can say I’ve been influenced by everything I’ve ever heard and I hold David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed and The Pixies in a high regard.

Do you have any upcoming releases?

None yet, but lots of tunes!

Check out these links!




kevo interview

interview by senseone ~ photo by lorri auer ~ Right in between Kansas City and St. Louis lies a little college town called Columbia, and if you ever find yourself there, you also might be looking for something other than your average college bar. This month, I took a minute to speak with my good friend, Kevin Mc. Gee, also known as Kevo. Kevo runs two nights in Columbia, one that has been going for 2 years now, at club Shattered, and has also another night now, at the Sapphire Lounge. Kevo, along with DJ Bernard Jones and Jim McKibben (aka Johnny5) also run Midwestmassive.com, a web site dedicated to bridging that gap between the cities and connecting the scene there in general.

How long have you been involved in the Columbia scene, and when did you get involved with Shattered?

Well I've starting getting into electronic music around 97 but didn’t really dive into until 2001 or so. Before then I was more like a bystander (sp) watching DJ's at numerous house parties around that time. Shattered was the one bar I found to be quite comfortable at when I first started going out downtown...it was full of diversity. Back in the late 90's I started hanging some of my artwork down there and continued to have a rotating display of pieces till shattered move to its new location on Broadway (where pure lounge was located). I DJ'd a SWING big band night at the old one on Mondays before it closed. That was a total flop... using cd's mind you, not mixing. That would probably be my first official shattered involvement.

Later on, the torch was passed to me, DJ Bernard Jones and Jim Mckibben to run the electronic dance night "THE VIBE" around AUG 2003. We decided on the name midwestmassive to represent the ideal scene that we should all have, a collective, getting everyone together. Our efforts are to bring in DJ’s from all over the Midwest to share their music to network and expand. We are all doing the same thing here, why don’t we help each other do it, you know? It shouldn’t be that hard. I personally never thought we would have done the shows we have and feel very fortunate to be able to book such talented DJ’s.

You've had plenty of headliner quality DJ's play down there, which was the most impressive? Who could you not believe you were able to book at the end of the night?

As far as big name DJ’s?? Don Tinsley has always been a favorite of mine. The guy is just soooo humble and has such amazing talent. Kid Icarus was an awesome guy to work with; I think all DJ’s should take note. I'm just talking about quality DJ’s here NOT big named supa stars. As far as bigger names go, I’ve got Paul Anthony coming up i'm sure my jaw will be on the floor all night for that one.....and soon after Simply Jeff.

In general I'm just very humble and appreciative to be able to book DJ’s and try to be the best I can at it. I've got a venue, u got records... do the math.

And now you have two venues?

Yeah, the massive part of our name sort of comes into play here, as we have added a second DJ night on Thursdays (the other is on Tuesday nights @ shattered) It's funny the location is where this other hole in the wall bar called "The Downunder Bar" used to be...now called the Sapphire Lounge. It's so much nicer...good spot for intimate sets. It gives me more options to book DJ’s, AND more work. It's a fun job (though I don’t get paid for it). I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When it becomes "work" I’m out.

You're also an artist right?

Yeah, that's something I've always done....just part of my DNA, though I've been slacking on it lately. I got a B.A from Columbia College, major in drawing minor in painting. Funny thing is I only paint nowadays. I love color, mixed media stuff.

Do you feel that bringing music to heads is an extension of that?

It's a form of expression in round about way I suppose yes. You've got to open their ears to new sounds. I'm always turning people on to new music I hear, got to pass it on.

What kind of stuff have you been playing these days?

I'm big into tech/house minimal stuff like Bill Patrick from 112CREW.COM, just amazing stuff, but I go thru phases, anything that is good music.

Was it a challenge at first, being that you're in the middle of MO?

It's kind of a convenience because we can draw DJ’s from St.Louis, KC, and Springfield. It is a bit hard to get the people to come due to the day of the week our nights our on, but at least there is something going on. With the DJ’s I’ve met from other cites I hope to help promote them with other DJ’s and promoters around and make them aware of the possibilities.

So what's going on with the site? It used to just be a message board.

Midwestmassive.com was launched in august 2003. Jim is our tech guy and has done tremendous work on updating it and maintaining it. We're currently working on having a through music section up and going (music.midwestmassive.com) where we can host local and regional DJ’s. The site is easier to navigate now. We divided the sections up so you can go to each venue for the dates that are coming up. I usually like to keep about a month or so ahead of schedule. The other features should be up and running soon. I just see a good future the way things are going. More and more events are happening....I feel like the right people are doing things now, and.... DONKEY ROCK!

the heavy lounge

written by the heavy lounge ~ photo by babygirl ~ New to the burgeoning Kansas City dance scene is a group of individuals who not only promote and play, but live the genre of music that has many names.

Downtempo. Trip Hop. Nu-Jazz. Dub. Rare Grooves. Minimal House. Ambient. Atmospheric Drum and bass. Jazzy Hip Hop. Neo Soul. The list goes on and on and crosses musical genres like a phantom.

This collective calls themselves the Heavy Lounge, which is appropriate in that the heavy part is the music itself. This isn't your cookie-cutter, run of the mill dance music or 4/4 beats. This is soul through and through.

The members of this collective, J.A.H., Ben Fuller and Candlewax (together as Tactic), Aural Assassin, Bucho, pictured left and right, RJ Bass, Sydeburnz, and Rob Lee, are in this for the music. There's no one person in charge, there's no hierarchy. It's communal in nature, it's pure, and most of all, it's universal.

"There hasn't been a genre other than downtempo, that I can play that caters to a family eating dinner, people drinking at the bar, AND people dancing simultaneously," says J.A.H. "It's something apart from the standard headliner with a heavy dance set in his crate, which we love."

This music appeals to all people. It's chilled out enough to put anyone in a good mood, jazzy enough to make your grandmother smile, and accessible enough for the general public to enjoy without having already been a fan of electronic music.

"We're just trying to educate people. This is a form of music that expands past boundaries. There's some deep, deep soul involved in a lot of the tracks that we play. The producers of our music aren't in this for the money. These aren't Top 40 hits we're playing. That's why we're out there, playing, trying to educate people and get them open to the idea that House music doesn't have to be all filtered or deep. That drum and bass can be danceable AND soothing at the same time," says Bucho.

Kansas City has seen it's fair share of amazing dj's who play house, dnb, techno, and every other form of dance music. It's time for Kansas City to experience the musical comedown that is the Heavy Lounge.

Aural Assassin, one of the dj's who doesn't get nearly as much of the spotlight as the others, unfortunately, says "We try to demonstrate a love for more than just one genre. Within 10 minutes you could hear a broken beat, jazz and ambient blended into some 4/4 house with a hip hop accapella or spoken word; nothing is sacred! The idea is to expand upon musical theory and knowledge, without being pretentious - and hopefully we accomplish that."

Type in "triphoprisy@hotmail.com" at MySpace.com if you want to join up to find out about new mixes, upcoming gigs, or any other news relating to the Heavy Lounge

march 2005 editor note

You know... every time I write this column I sit down and listen to the latest download. For the last couple of months, it's been the "on decks" column of this site, now being managed by Brent Crampton. If you have a mix you want people to hear. Get ahold of him. It has got to be a new mix though. We want you to give the massive something new that they don't already... aight?

Weird. All I started off to say was... Nice Funky Start Lunatik! I'm only 5 minutes into it and my leg is bouncing as I sit here and write. Don't miss this one. This is defnitely a good mix.

This month's cover was a bit of a problem. We didn't really have a photo that was related to the main article, so I had to go find something that was kinda loungish. There a bunch that I had picked out, but something about this one did it for me. The shot is actually one that I took at Kabal during the Bunnies & Billionaires party a few weeks ago.

The one on this page was taken by our newest addition, Shaun Williams. If he hasn't photographed you yet, I'm sure he will. I thought I took a lot of pix!

The articles this month are kinda on the slim side. There's a bit of a swirl chaos around my life right now and I haven't had much time to devote to anything but taking photos. Solaris brings us his monthly Techno rundown and Brent got us a really good mix with Lunatik. The main story this month was one contributed by The Heavy Lounge about what they are doing. Check it out.

Despite the lack of articles, though you know you can always check in with the galleries and see the story that we didn't write about, such as VJOnes display at Videodrome, which was a lot of Techno fun with Dietrich Schoeneman from NYC.

Earlier, the very same night, I stopped in at The Donkey Show at the Fahrenheit. A mixture of stand-up comedy, music, burlesque & break dancers, it almost had a Vaudeville feel that I will definitely be checking in to more. We had a lot of fun down there and definitely would like to thank the promoters of that event for inviting us down.

SenseOne brought us another peek into the party life in New York by giving us a set of photos from Ninja vs Robot in New Palz, NY as well as a Philly party called Heart Attack.

I should send congratulations out to Brent Scholz on winning The Pitch Ultra Music Contest at Jilly's on Broadway. I hope you have a great time down in Miami!

In addition, congratulations go out to my friend Emily, for a successful opening night at Davey's Uptown. Her show Sugar Puppy & The Lovely Dumplings, a Burlesque Comedy, went really well. I think everyone had a lot of fun and got some really good laughs.

See you out on the dance floor! Oh yea... speaking of dancing.. if you're not doin anything Tuesday (and I know you're not), phocas.net just started sponsoring a new weekly being done by DJ True. It's called True Tuesdays and will be every Tuesday night starting at 10:30 pm. Check the calendar and have a look at the flyer for more information.

see ya on the dance floor!

aka ~phocas~

march 2005 issue