Articles tagged with Chicago

August 10

Roberta Flack – Uh-Uh, Ooh-Ooh, Look Out (Here It Comes) (Steve Hurley’s House Mix) 1988

Years ago, my homeboy Dave Michael put me up on this record exclaiming ”Steve Hurley is that motherf*cker!” as he pulled the vinyl from one of his crates. I would have to agree with that sentiment, but in order to hear just how bonkers the Silkman’s remix is, one must first listen to the original Roberta Flack composition, which is a pleasant, yet mellow 80’s R&B ditty written by Ashford & Simpson.

Then take a listen to Arthur Baker’s Dance Mix on the A-side of the 12” single, which takes a more upbeat Stevie Wonder-esque approach. Usually, the legendary Mr. Planet Rock, doesn’t forfeit the gold to any other producer, but in this rare instance, he got smoked by Chicago’s finest!

Hurley’s take is glitchy but at the same time smooth – a secret weapon of House destruction complete with Art Of Noise-like vocal sample chops, stabby bassline and piano stabs, booming percussion, and stuttering echo effects. That reverse bongo drop at the 0:35 mark absolutely kills me every single time. Perhaps most interesting, is the use of Roberta’s voice, which on the other versions is harmless and serene, but here sounds haunting and melancholy. On first listen, you might mistakenly overlook this track, but if you were to hear it on a thumping sound system, I guarantee that you’d be desperately trying to Shazam it. Thank me later!

-Rok One

Ten City – "That’s the Way Love Is" (EeeTee edit)

June 14

Last week we had a guest posting by Eugene Tambourine, and this week I’m pleased to say he’ll be writing regularly for us beginning next Monday. I met Eugene when we were neighbors 5 years ago, and we bonded over a mutual love of Vicky D. Eugene has more edits than an iPod could ever hold in his archives, but he shares a lot of them with the world on his Soundcloud.

Ten City’s “That’s the Way Love Is,” a top 10 hit in the UK that never had the same popularity in the states, has been a favorite of mine ever since Eugene shared it with me. It evokes moods often left behind on the dancefloor. Regret. Remorse. Wistfulness. Emotional acceptance. Eugene’s edit stretches out all the right parts and tucks aside the track’s weaknesses. Without resorting to a 10 minute mammoth edit, it succinctly elevates the original to higher heights of feeling.

Ten City – That’s the Way Love Is (EeeTee edit)

P.S. I once saw Jens Lekman covering this tune live, and you can see him do the cover (and segueing into Sipping on the Sweet Nectar) on Youtube, you’ll get some serious goosebumps. Here’s to hoping he records it someday.

/// Brian Blackout

April 6

Armando Gallup was a famous Chicago party promoter, DJ, A+R for Felix da Housecat‘s Radikal Fear record label and foremost, an early acid innovator.  Sadly, he passed away from Leukemia at 26 at the height of his powers.  In his short time on the planet, he recorded a slew of influential dance tracks.  Perhaps best known for bouncy lysergic work outs like Land of Confusion, 151, and Downfall, Armando was not afraid to twiddle some knobs and let his 303 run wild.  

Recorded when he was just 18, Don’t Take It is, by contrast, a slow burn.  It’s repetitive in a way that defined early Chicago House.  15 full seconds of kick drum lead off the track.  No high hats, no snare, no nuthin’.  Then the 303 line comes in, dropping five short simple rhythmic bass notes over the kick drum.  Next, Sharvette Cole’s vocal enters.  It’s raw, unselfconscious and in your face.  Legend, and internet rumor has it that the vocals were laid down in one take in a hotel room bathroom.  The effect is claustrophobic, hypnotic and startlingly fresh.  Around 2 mins, we finally get high hats.

As the track continues, the acid line bubbles up in the best way.  The filter takes about 6 minutes to fully open.  The squelchy bass lead creeps from innocuous to acerbic and then finally to straight up gnarly.  At five minutes in the 303 gets absolutely drenched in flanger and delay.  It’s dubby, trippy and no doubt sounded like something from outer space to the kids down on Milwaukee Avenue back in 1988.  Don’t Take It goes up the back staircase, tip-toes down the hall, crawls across your bedroom floor, slips under the covers, grabs you and then doesn’t let go.  

-Dope Werewolf

April 5

Lately I’ve been reading The Record Players, the newest book by Frank Brewster and Bill Broughton of Last Night a DJ Saved My Life fame. I’m knee deep in the origins of Chicago House, the world of folks like Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, and Farley Jackmaster Funk. Most folks credit part of the house sound originating with the Hot Mix 5, five prominent radio DJs (including Farley) who made italo disco‘s synthy arpeggiated grooves a staple of Chicagoans musical diet in the mid 80s.

In Flagranti, longtime purveyors of kitsch and sleaze, have decided to pay homage to that moment when italo morphed into house in one of their newest video singles, Gridlock. From early house, it pulls in the relentless looping percussion and a thunderous four on the floor pulse. From italo comes a tropical LinnDrum assault that’ll get your blood pumping for hot sticky weather. They wrap things up nicely with a dope sample from Hot Mix 5’s Ralphi Rosario calling out to the radio world, and a quirky little video of an artist drawing a Chicago cityscape (EDIT: YDHT2S experts assert this is probably Wesley Willis, even radder). Consider it a history lesson and a dance lesson all in one.

You can pick up a copy of the single at Juno (it’s an exclusive there) along with all of their excellent new singles, like this week’s selection, Physical Maturity, which is more than a little NSFW, but totally banging on the breakbeat rhythms.

/// Brian Blackout