Chicago house label, DJ International Records, has relaunched.
DJ International, the legendary Chicago imprint oringally launched in 1985 by Rocky Jones and the late Benji Espinoza, has dived into a brand new chapter in 2021, releasing a new version of Joe Smooth and Anthony Thomas' '1987 hit 'Promised Land' as the first in a new string of releases.
The Frankie Knuckles Foundation and the Chosen Few DJs have launched a GoFundMe campaign to get a proper gravestone for Ron Hardy.
Chicago-based DJ/producer Ariel Zetina makes music that is as thrilling as it is uncategorisable. With techno as the foundation, she delves into spheres of ambient, Chicago house and industrial, from the most abrasive edges of hardcore to the outskirts of modern classical, with allusions to the punta and brukdown sounds of her Belizean heritage.
Check out our premiere of Ariel Zetina's track 'Chino' here.
Since acid house swept the UK 30 years ago and united a generation, British dance has proudly proclaimed its egalitarian credentials. Many believe that the loved up, misty-eyed utopianism that swept the country in 1988 has sustained down the decades. After all, when you’re lost in the music and blinking into the darkness, it doesn’t matter if the sweaty, smiling strangers around you are black or white; gay or straight; male, female, transgender or non-binary.
LESSONS FROM HISTORY
To understand where we are now and what can possibly be done to address it, we need to look at the roots of British dance music, how it developed, the kinds of people involved in the early years and the specifics of the era they lived in.
Despite the “get on your bike and find a job” rhetoric spouted by the governing Conservative Party, jobseekers were rarely sanctioned if they didn’t find work within a prescribed time frame. “I was unemployed for about 15 years in total,” says Lee Renacre, who released his first record as 100Hz (alongside then production partner James Chapman) in 1989. “I was blagging it, telling my dole officer I couldn’t find a job that week, but I got away with it. That help from benefits is the only reason I’ve managed to stick with music, and I thank the state for that.”
It’s true that club ticket prices have risen dramatically in the UK over the last few years. These days, it’s rare to be able to get into a venue with a top-tier line-up for less than £15. In some cases, prices are even higher, with big branded events such as Elrow often charging £30 or more for entry. Many club promoters try to keep ticket prices down, but it’s hard to do this and break even, given the increased costs for DJs and venue hire. The latter is a by-product of increased competition between promoters for a dwindling number of licensed venues.
“I just don’t see it,” he says. “It’s not so much that drum & bass has become middle-class, it’s just grown up a bit. You have drum & bass nights now that are run like corporate companies, with more expensive tickets and DJs who are paid a little bit more. But you never walk into any of these things and think, ‘It’s a bit middleclass in here’.
Priestley points out that much more could be done if available arts funding was pushed towards community electronic music projects. “In this age of austerity, one of the first things that gets cut is arts budgets, and the arts has traditionally been a great vehicle for social mobility,” he says. “This needs to be addressed. It will inevitably lead to patrimonial capitalism, where people are inheriting wealth rather than making it themselves. This goes completely against the ideals of entrepreneurialism, that have always been a part of dance music in the UK.”
Ceri will release her new EP ‘I Need You to Make Me Sweat’ via her Find Your Own Records on 3rd December.
The three-track release follows the vinyl-only imprint’s debut in October 2017 with the recent DJ Mag interviewee’s 'Life Holstee' EP. ‘I Need You to Make Me Sweat’, like its predecessor, finds the DJ/producer once again drawing from classic Chicago and Detroit influences but with an ever-present UK edge keeping things fresh.
Chicago club The Mid is to close in February, the venue has announced.
Leading up to the venue’s closing party on 5th February 2019, The Mid will be announcing a number of farewell parties.
The team behind the venue blamed The Mid’s closure on recent expansion in the West Loop and Fulton Market District.
In the announcement revealing the club’s closure, Lucas King and Nick Karounos, The Mid’s co-founders said, “Unfortunately, the time has come where The Mid’s doors will be closing on February 5th 2019.
A new 96-page book documenting early Chicago House music has been published.
Out now via Brandon Johnson's Almighty & Insane Books, 'Beyond Heaven: Chicago House Party Flyers From 1983-1989' examines and preserves cultural histories from the city via a collection of flyers and other house music-related ephemera that Johnson was given permission to use by Chicago DJ, Mario "Liv It Up" Luna.
Larry Heard has recently shared a full stream of ‘Cerebral Hemispheres’, his first album under his Mr. Fingers alias in nearly 25 years.
‘Cerebral Hemispheres’ Tracklist:
1. Full Moon
2. City Streets
3. Urbane Sunset
4. Sands of Aruba
5. Tiger Lounge
6. A Day In Portugal
7. Sao Paulo
8. Crying Over You
9. Cerebral Hemispheres
11. Outer Acid
12. Inner Acid
18. Praise To The Vibes
John Ochoa is the editor-at-large of DJ Mag North America. You can find him living his best life on Twitter.
Larry Heard has announced details of his first full-length album in 15 years - and the first under his inimitable Mr. Fingers monicker in close to 25 years. 'Cerebral Hemispheres' will be released on the Chicago legend's own Alleviated Records imprint on 13th April. You can hear 'Electron', the first track to be shared from the LP, below.