CROSSFADE

The sun in Chicago has finally decided to show itself. Things are changing and summer is just around the corner; Winter has come to an end and it's time to move on to the next track. Moreover, the techno world recently lost a pioneer and godfather, Frankie Knuckles. I wonder what he would say about today's electronic music industry. The DJ is no longer known for his/her mixing skills and creativity with the crossfader. Their producing abilities now puts them in the limelight. This doesn't seem like a threat to the art, but things are just different from the days of Warehouse... are we "crossfading" into the next era? (yea, I know... cheesy eh?).

Starting tonight in Chicago, the birthplace of house, a group of DJs are trying to resuscitate the original craft with a tour across North America. The Apex Tour features a rotating roster of seasoned DJs, including Magda, Maya Jane Coles, Maceo Plex, Joy Orbison, James Holden, Michael Mayer, Danny Daze, Justin Martin, Tale of Us, and several others. This tour "aims to reconnect to the roots of dance music by celebrating the art of DJing." Stuck studying for exams (and a lack of $70 for the ticket), I'll have to miss the event tonight at Lacuna Lofts with Maceo Plex and Dixon. Their performance is best appreciated in person, but I hope they'll post the set online somewhere!

After listening to his set from Miami this year, I can only imagine what Maceo Plex will bring to Chicago tonight. However, I will bet on him playing his latest remix of Gus Gus - Crossfade. It's haunting tone, grainy bass sirens, and circling echoes make the track a powerful piece. Furthermore, I feel the lyrics can be seen as a subtle tribute (or nostalgia?) of mixing and working the crowd. I have yet to see his individual remix released, but Maceo Plex has slipped it in his sets in Miami and Germany with welcoming praise.

Below is his performance in Miami (his remix is around 43 minutes into the set, but I highly recommend listening to whole thing). Also, a preview of the track from Kompakt records.

BLACK ATLASS

How ya been? I hope warm... hibernating for me is becoming too comfortable and converting me into a hermit. Nights in my cab have been slow, as I assume more people are choosing a similar way of life. Spring is approaching, fortunately, and my last summer vacation ever... a last "walk-about" of sorts before medicine owns me. Haiti, Vegas, Yosemite, Lake Michigan, and (most importantly) the altar are the planned destinations. This summer can't come any sooner.

The world still turns outside my Chicago Igloo. Climate Change is certainly not a quiet process and people might be paying more attention; Georgia struggling with snow, the west with drought, the north with polar vortexes; Congress with more climate-related legislation. January was still one of the hottest Januaries ever recorded. Environmental activism is popping up in unlikely areas too, as people are experiencing more threats to environmental public health.

New artists are also climbing into focus, such as the Canadian Black Atlass with the help of Fool's Gold Records. His beats demand pause and are infectious. The fashion industry particularly has embraced his sound, like Vogue. Here's his most popular track "Blossom" along with a powerful acoustic version of his "Paris" which I frequently end a long day with.

BLACK ATLASS IS ALEX FLEMING FROM MONTREAL, CANADA

BLACK ATLASS IS ALEX FLEMING FROM MONTREAL, CANADA

AMTRAC

First and foremost, I apologize to probably the only person reading this (Hi Mom!), it has been way too long since I've posted. School and cabbing have been eating tons of my free time... so much time that I missed both of AMTRAC showings in Chicago this year. If you have been able to catch him, I envy you. This "laid-back groove innovator" from Kentucky has an alluring sound that has been building steam since 2011 (check out his LP Came Along... one of my all time favorites).

His most recent remix is literally a christmas miracle, adding his own touch to the bomb "Bassline" by GotSome and The Get Along Gang. I bet you will hear this at some point wherever you bring in the new year. 

Spend some time on his Soundcloud and try not to dance, I DARE YOU.

Amtrac from Louisville, Kentucky

Amtrac from Louisville, Kentucky

A LONG WAY TO THE TOP

This track from Klangkarussell is a great example of how long music can take to catch some limelight, as it was released on SoundCloud about 2 years ago. A review from Digital Spy unveils its journey:

It’s no secret that the freshest and most exciting dance tracks often take their time escaping the cliquey hub of Europe’s party islands before they are set free and allowed to migrate over to the UK. The latest to wash up on our shores? Austrian duo Klangkarussell, whose track ‘Sonnentanz’ became a fave across the Balearics in its instrumental form last year... [a] wonderfully hypnotic production that provides a gentle comedown from summer we so sorely need.
— Robert Copsey for Digital Spy

Also take a gander at the vocal version...

Klangkarussell is Tobias Rieser and Adrian Held from Austria.

Klangkarussell is Tobias Rieser and Adrian Held from Austria.