Northern Soul: An influential British musical moment in electronic music culture

“The northern soul scene, to me, was like an eighth wonder of the world. You’re looking at the depressed north of England, where there wasn’t a great deal there apart from steelworks and coalmines. You had people doing this boring repetitive work during the week; and hard work, too. And when they went out on a weekend, they really wanted to go out. Going out until 11 o’clock to the local pub just wasn’t going to be good enough. When the whole rave thing went ballistic it felt like northern soul twenty years on. Lots of people getting off their heads, dancing to fast music and this love attitude. House is this generation’s version of northern soul…” – Ian Dewhirst, northern soul DJ ~1999 [From Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The … Read More

[Sat. March 1, 2014] Chiditarod: Checkpoint Shenanigans

Chiditarod is an annual human dogsled shopping cart race/food and donation drive/bar crawl. Over one hundred teams of 5 people each will be gussying up a shopping cart, dressing up in crazy costumes, collecting canned good and money donations (that’s where you come in), and racing around the city like maniacs. The Secret Gentlemen team and I are working with Chiditarod Chicago to raise money to fight hunger in Chicago and have a hell of a lot of fun in the process. This Saturday morning and afternoon—March 1—a team of ten Secret Gentlemen will be racing, and a team of another 25 will be running one of the race’s checkpoints: Club Foot (1824 W Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622). I will be DJing from 12:30 – 4:30, and … Read More

Funk documentary focused on London in the 1970s & 1980s that happens to have a hobbit keen on forty-fives

Here’s a documentary on the funk scene in Britain, a tale told through many talking heads, and one of them happens to be Martin Freeman, of Sherlock and The Hobbit fame. You might miss him, since it was apparently before he employed a stylist and committed to a workout routine, but he’s in there as a fanboy / collector / DJ of funk / rare groove. I was sent this next video, Martin Freeman Goes to Motown, from Marc of Meiotic Chicago featuring a star-struck Martin wandering around Detroit meeting people who were artists and studio musicians on Motown Records (city councilwoman Martha Reeves, former lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas; Duke Fakir, the last surviving member of the Four Tops; the Funk Brothers jamming out at … Read More

Morrissey retiring from health issues; here is a cover of “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” Schneider TM & Kptmichigan

“The Light 3000” Smiths cover by Schneider TM & Kptmichigan is my favorite glitchy electronic one and does the original justice in its own, haunting way. From his interview with Mexico City radio station Reactor 105.7 (transcript and audio in English): I never cringe if anybody sings or covers a song, I find it very moving even though it might be quite bad, I still find it very moving that somebody would be bothered or interested to do it. Some of them really do affect me emotionally. But I find it extraordinary that every single day, that I hear new cover versions of songs, somebody is covering a Smiths song, every day, which I find incredible. Because British radio would never play the Smiths and they’ve (the Smiths) … Read More

Pitchfork (*cough* Chicago), I love you, but you’re bringing me down

“The very mundanity of Kelly’s performance leads to my second, sadder conclusion about his presence at Pitchfork: That the formerly Chicago-now Brooklyn-based brains and businessmen behind the festival and the Webzine, … just don’t think that the music we embrace means anything at all in the real world. It’s just a cool, digitally stored backing track for your oh-so-hip and groovy lifestyle at home, and every bit the ideal tool in concert for marketing and money-making that we see at the festival’s larger corporate cousin, Lollapalooza.” Here’s Jim Derogatis’ insightful review of the Pitchfork fest in Chicago, and a critique of the mainstream music industry as well with the whole “irony thing” going on. Although irony can elicit personal and cultural emotions, it’s a double-edged sword. On some … Read More

Brandt Brauer Frick: “Bop” deconstructed techno via classical music

From the band: “We had felt for years that most instances of combining techno and classical music lack an authentic approach. Instead of using only the typical epic orchestra or piano sounds, we love to explore the dirty and percussive sides of those instruments, adapting techniques from composers like John Cage or Helmut Lachenmann: preparing our piano with screws and rubbers, knocking against every single part of an instrument, until we find that one great sound.” — Paul Frick

Nile Rodgers secretly created the coolest pop music on the planet

In this BBC documentary called “The Hitmaker,” we learn that Nile Rodgers not only spearheaded Chic, but he is basically the Chuck Norris of pop production. He was classically trained and went on to provide the uber funkiness in the pop, disco and R&B songs of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. You’re going to le Freak when I start embedding some of the songs he produced, after the jump (below). Let’s see… David Bowie, Sister Sledge, Madonna, Duran Duran, and (yes, sadly) Daft Punk’s latest attempt at mining other people’s creative capital for their own good. He migrated the funk and disco aesthetic over to pop music, and you didn’t even see it coming. Here are some examples: Sister Sledge: “We are Family”