A brand new pressing plant called Smashed Plastic has pressed the first vinyl record in the birthplace of house music in more than 20 years. Located in the northern part of the Windy City, Smashed Plastic will press records for several local labels. One of the four investors who collaboratively established Chicago’s new Smashed Plastic is Andy Weber, a DJ, who outfitted the plant with a new vinyl press sourced from Toronto, Canada, manufactured by one of the two companies that make new vinyl presses worldwide. Weber’s investment is said to total around $200,000.
Smashed Plastic will make its full launch in January 2019, and for now will assist smaller scale imprints and Chicago-based artists with record pressing. The investors’ idea to open Smashed Plastic reportedly followed several conversations with local musicians, who expressed the challenge inherent in finding a vinyl presser who could quickly deliver new records.
Dim Mak headmaster and two-time Grammy nominee, Steve Aoki, is bringing an across-the-board congregation of label front-runners to Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom tomorrow, Nov 10, as he uncorks his thoroughly-anticipated album, Neon Future III.
The multi-pronged event will host the house-heathen, BROHUG trio, off-the-wall animated wobble bass from Bear Grillz, as well as further support from house beat devotee, Max Styler, and trap insurgent, Bok Nero. Of course, the EDM cake boss himself, Aoki, will secure the headlining seat––Neon Future III in hand, no doubt. Grillz’s NEIGHBORHOOD debut carries a particularly timely element, as he just last month released his bass-abundant Dim Mak EP, TOO LOUD.
In anticipation for the multifarious affair, Dim Mak has curated a playlist exclusively tailored to foreshadow what is sure to be an unforgettable endeavor.
Tickets to Dim Mak NEIGHBORHOOD can be purchased here.
Spring Awakening Music Festival, the largest strictly electronic music festival in the Midwest, is set on returning to Chicago for its eighth year this June–but with the festival’s home base for the past few years (after leaving its original Soldier Field housing), Addams/Medill Park, purportedly under construction, the fest has called an audible and has announced new digs at spacious Douglas Park.
However, it seems the Chicago-based event mega-brand, React Presents, jumped the gun big time announcing their relocation plans Monday, as the decision was apparently made without consulting the proper channels within the district. Now, the community and its officials are bristling at the sudden news.
To complicate matters further, Douglas Park has already played host to punk/alternative haven, Riot Fest this past September, and is hoping to celebrate its 15th anniversary by returning to the location next year. Riot’s organizers were praised by the community and its officials for working with the locals and community overseers prior to their move in order to assess environmental and community impact, highlighting the stark misfire on SAMF’s part. Although the situation may yet to have crossed over into irreparable territory, Chicago’s 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas issued some firm pushback in regards to Spring Awakening organizers’ actions, telling the Chicago Tribune:
There’s a lot of things to consider here, which makes me upset. There was a lot of work that was done to ensure that Riot Fest was successful and all of a sudden, we get this unexpected news release from folks who are coming in without going through any process. It’s completely wrong.
Cardenas attributes his concern with SAMF’s preemptive announcement to his not wanting to see the community, “taken for granted.” However, he conceded he would still be willing to meet with the festival organizers to rectify the situation should they chose to reach out for his approval.
Paradigm Presents has carved its way into the Chicago club scene for years now, meshing swimmingly by way of its house-driven ethos, booking deep and eclectic talent. In the past, the brand has hosted venerable names like Thugfucker, Solomun, and Dusky at its meticulously curated soirees. Now, PP prepares for a particularly ‘DEEP’ Halloween, summoning some of the Burning Man Playa’s biggest names for what’s sure to be a mystical outing.
All Day I Dream owner Lee Burridge will be headlining the multi-environment HAUNTED DEEP, set to spook city-goers Friday, October 26 at Mine Music Hall. Burridge will be bringing his dreamy brand of house and fluid mixing skills to the table. Among the roster of 10 total DJs booked for the affair is MR C, who runs California institution, Superfreq, and his colleague Jay Tripwire. This is Burridge’s second appearance in Chicago in under two months, as September saw him bring the second-ever, immaculately decorated ADID to the Windy City lakefront.
A simple press run for David Guetta has turned into an all-out internet burn session against the French producer by October 22, 2018 — and even more so against ABC’s Nightline program.
According to Nightline and the original web copy by the ABC web team, Guetta purpotedly is the “grandfather of electronic dance music” who *apparently* “helped bring house to the US.” There was only one caveat in this tale: the crossover star didn’t bring house music to the United States at all. In fact, some might be shocked to hear that this popular genre of dance music and the vaguely-related pop version that Guetta purveys were actually born right here in the country, in the warehouses of Chicago. Dance music and all its contemporary offshoots wouldn’t even exist, had it not been for minorities and the LGBTQ community gathering together under the banner of house to escape persecution from the outside world. It’s disappointing — albeit, unsurprising — to see a large news organization like ABC choose the watered-down, whitewashed version of history around the sound when really it should be expressing pride in a home-grown movement. Nor did it help that Guetta’s response completely missed the mark as to why he’s the indirect subject of such widespread outrage.
A more accurate angle of the Nightline report would have been, “How Frankie Knuckles, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, and others brought house music to France/Europe.” Since this more accurate angle wasn’t taken, we here at Dancing Astronaut have decided to put our teaching helmets on and educate the masses on a few critical house essentials that actually helped shape the global rave revolution — no David Guetta required.
“My House” is one of the most, if not the most, sampled American house tunes of all time. It involves Chuck Robert’s famed “In My House” speech, and the original version proves to be far ahead of its time. “My House” by Rhythm Controll was originally released in 1987, and continues to capture the intrigue of dance fans worldwide thirty-one years later. The famed speech was also re-used and cemented into house fans’ cycle when re-patched with “Can You Feel It,” another huge anthem of the era.
If there’s one good thing that came out of the Guetta fiasco, it’s that he has good taste in classic house. The producer’s Instagram rebuttal pointed to the above record by Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk as the one that started it all for him as a young teenager in France. It’s one of the biggest anthems of its time, and for good reason — it’s a quintessential house tune at its core, down to its piano stabs and disco elements set to a 4/4 beat.
Acid house in particular is what caught Brits’ attention in Ibiza and kicked off the European rave movement that later birthed David Guetta. Phuture’s classic “Acid Tracks” was one of the biggest anthems of this era, and a pioneering track within the then-nascent subgenre of house. Its scintillating synthesis still raises hairs, and the original is still rinsed quite often throughout the international circuit.
Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body” pretty much defined the house formula of the day. Many pieces aimed to emulate the catchiness of this song, but simply cannot come close to the original. It’s no wonder this record climbed the charts even before most people knew what house music was. Not to mention, the vocal sample manages to retain a sense of refined class in it despite its repetition that other house vocal clips lack today. Try not to feel transported into a euphoric, sweat-filled warehouse while listening — we dare you.
One of dance music’s very first wunderkinds was Adonis, who had a mass hit on his hands at the ripe age of 19 with “No Way Back.” Considering Trax was THE house label at that time (keen readers of this feature can note the majority of our picks came from here), it’s quite the accomplishment to have created a production that’s considered one of the imprints greatest releases of all times. Its encouraging clap samples, hypnotically-classic bassline, and stripped-down atmosphere makes it hit in all the right places.
It would be absolute blasphemy to not feature Frankie Knuckles somewhere on this list. The legendary, and sadly departed, producer and DJ is considered the actual “godfather” of house music and is credited by everyone except ABC for helping to make house a musical institution. His celebrity is so great that even ex-President Obama has been seen celebrating his achievements and contributions to the industry in the past. “The Whistle Song” is from 1991 — a good half-decade or so since he really broke the glass house ceiling. However, its breezy, happiness-inducing nature made it a fitting cap off to an already nostalgic list.
Following the release of his soulful I O U 1 EP earlier this month, Norwegian producer Lido has announced its follow-up in a new and inventive way. I O U 2 will be presented as a “visual EP” in November and shown in select theaters.
The film will be shown in Chicago at The Davis Theatre on November 5, followed by Toronto’s Fox Theatre on November 6 and Seattle’s Grand Illusion Cinema on November 7. After viewing the film, attendees will have the chance to participate in a Q&A with Lido.
I O U 2 will be “a visual EP about coming to a conclusion with ones true reality and feeling comfortable with oneself,” according to the ticketing website. Tickets are on sale here.
Chance the Rapper’s solidified his stance his stance as a great hip-hop philanthropist with the recent pledge of $1 million toward Chicago’s mental health services. The new initiative, which Chance has called “My State of Mind,” aims to create a go-to, modern resource for Chicagoans to learn about and access mental health services. Its setup allocated $100,000 grants to six different mental healthcare providers in Cook County, Illinois and was also accompanied by the news that the rapper would be expanding on the donations he made last year to Chicago’s Public Schools.
“This year, 20 more schools will get $100K…” Chance told the crowd. “We will be upping the game in terms of equity, in terms of what is rightfully yours. Principals, teachers, we got your back.” Last year, Chance donated $1 million to Chicago Public School Foundation “for arts and enrichment programming.”
Owners of the most powerful factions in the Chicago dance music scene, The MID nightclub, has announced its permanent closing as of February 2019.
In addition to hosting a fierce fleet of farewell events (details to be announced soon) at the iconic N. Halsted locale, The Mid’s founders, Lucas King and Nick Karounos, have revealed they will be opening, not one, but a series of new venues “in the near future.” The closing comes on behalf of the aggressive recent expansion in Chicago’s West Loop and rapidly developing Fulton Market District–particularly on the residential front. However, organizers will be dedicating the coming months to commemorating The MID’s rich event history, while simultaneously foreshadowing future endeavors.
“These last remaining months will be a celebration of the past and a toast to the future,” said King and Karounos in a recent release. “We want to thank all the fans, artists, employees, agents, managers, and promoters who have supported us throughout this era. As a token of our appreciation, we are putting together some very special events leading up to that ‘One Last Song.’”
In less than a decade of operation, The MID garnered an unquestionable ranking from Chicago music patrons as one of the most sought-after electronic entities in town. In addition to hosting a slew of sold-out Lollapalooza events year after year, it hosted landmark performances from Skrillex, Green Velvet, Claude VonStroke, just to name a few. Most noteworthy is probably its housing of Tiësto in support of Chicago’s Blackhawks following their 2015 Stanley Cup victory. Chicago’s EDM devotees can undoubtedly expect venerable future ventures from King, Karounos, and team.
Chance the Rapper made a brief, but impactful announcement on his Facebook page on August 17. A thirty second clip entitled “Good Ass Job” shows Kanye West on stage at Chance’s Open Mike event announcing he is making Chance’s next album. It will, of course, be entitled Good Ass Job.
Recently, Chance ignited speculation on social media that the pair’s rumored joint album would use Kanye’s long forgotten tentative fourth album title. As it goes, Kanye’s fourth studio album planned to use the naming convention of his first three records, The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, and ultimately, a Good Ass Job was promised thereafter. The album was shelved in the wake of Kanye’s mother’s passing and a failed marriage, and eventually gave way to Ye’s 808’s and Heartbreak. Now Chance is putting rumors to bed, and hopefully setting the course Kanye set a decade ago straight, confirming Good Ass Job is officially on the way.
KAMI has been heating up Chicago’s hip-hop scene for a minute and with the release of the new Cole Bennett-directed, Chance The Rapper and Joey Purp-assisted music video for “Reboot,” the Chicago Fire Department should be on their toes like it’s 1871.
“Reboot,” the lead single from KAMI’s second studio LP Very Slight, set to drop September 14, features a stacked cast of Windy City torch carriers that boast a must-listen just by gracing the same track together. Now their collaboration comes with some well-deserved visuals. Cole Bennett’s fast-paced and fluid directing captures the energy of “Reboot,” an energy that demands attention with its resolute and unbridled style. The off-beat rhythm keeps the listener’s ear keen for what the line up has to offer. “Reboot” is flush with one-liners, callbacks, and hooks. Like Joey Purp says they, “put it all on a pendant.”
What’s more — the “Reboot” video received support from the non-profit Refuge Foundation of the Arts, whose purpose is to create venues for artistic expression in places without the means. You can scope out the new video below.