Wax Runoff: Ka§par [SCRS007]

If you’re not already acquainted with Chicago label Stripped & Chewed you’re in for a treat. With a recent string of killer releases including a reissue of Merle’s classic “Fannie likes 2 Dance” and a repress of the Black Madonna’s anthemic “Exodus,” it’s safe to say they’re making waves. Their showing in 2016 has been equally impressive with Garrett David and Adam Rowe’s Now That We Are Here Where Are We? topping Juno’s vinyl charts and grabbing the attention of talented selectors like Brawther and Jeremy Underground. With such top notch output it shouldn’t be a surprise that their back catalog also boasts releases from disco legend Rahaan, Borrowed Identity, and the subject of this week’s feature, Ka§par.

Renaissance Tracks, Stripped & Chewed

RENAISSANCE TRACKS

Originally pressed in 2013, Renaissance Tracks from Portuguese house don Ka§par is a versatile four-tracker that works equally well for me at peak time and after-hours. Whether you’re looking for chunky four-to-the-floor house or deep and melodic grooves this record should check all your boxes. Widely recognized as the stand out track from this release, the Bell Boys lend their signature sound to a deep, analog-heavy remix of Stella Maris. While definitely still a dancey cut, I like this one for winding down or just spacing out at home. Flipping the record over, you’ll find my pick from this release and one of my favorite club tracks in recent memory, The Songleader mix of “Missin You.” Featuring a catchy vocal hook by Gramaphone Records‘ own Mr. White, a thick, rolling baseline and a straight forward drum track – this one is absolute dance floor fodder. When pulling records to play out this one almost always ends up in my bag. If you want to snag your own copy you can still find it at PBVinyl for a cool $10.

Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Colin Boardway is a Chicago-based DJ who has been collecting wax and enveloping himself into the city’s house and techno scene.

Wax Runoff: Eli Escobar [NP-104v]

It’s not often that I’ll buy two copies of (almost) the same release from an artist but a fresh EP from New York house and disco evangelist Eli Escobar was a little too good for me to pass up. One of New York City’s familiar faces, Escobar has made a name for himself throwing the famed Tiki Disco parties while pumping out releases on seminal New York house labels like Nervous and Strictly Rhythm. More recently, a string of releases on his own imprint Night People NYC have become prized catch among Discogs speculators and propelled him to the top of Traxsource’s digital download charts.

Eli Escobar

SEEIN YOU EP

Escobar’s latest on Night People, the Seein You EP positions itself as a cross between an album sampler and a remix EP – with original mixes of 3 tracks appearing on the much harder to find Up All Night double LP. This latest four-tracker is loaded with accessible, disco-tinged grooves at a price point you can’t beat. Personally, I bought this for the extended mix of “Seein You” — a sample-heavy deep jam that pays homage to the sexier side of Detroit house. For me this one works well as an early evening warm up or an end of the night wind down…and always gets a reaction. My runner up cut on the flip side is the Whatever/Whatever remix of “NY So Hi,” an infectious bass-driven track with a hint of jack and a catchy vocal loop. Equally as versatile, this cut has worked well for me mid-set or as a starting point for changing sonic directions. Lastly, giving a nod to New York’s iconic 99 Records, Escobar hits us with his edit of ESG’s timeless cult classic in “Red Hot (Moody Mix).”

Though this is a limited vinyl-only release you should still be able to find it in most shops and as a U.S. pressing it should be relatively inexpensive stateside. This one won’t be leaving my bag any time soon – tip.

Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Colin Boardway is a Chicago-based DJ who has been collecting wax and enveloping himself into the city’s house and techno scene.

Norm Talley & Delano Smith

Raised on Detroit’s westside, Norm Talley and Delano Smith began establishing themselves as artists in the early days of house and techno in the Motor City.

Norm Talley

NORM TALLEY

Talley was influenced by music at a very young age. “During this time in my youth there was a strong musical presence on the westside of Detroit. Lots of great record shops and parties to go along with that; they even sold records in department stores like Federals along with records shops like Detroit Audio, Professionals, Chaunceys, Kendricks, etc.”

With genuine determination to explore his love of music, he picked up a paper route to earn money for records as well as another turntable to complete his set.

“Motivation comes from within and if I wanted it I went out and got it, so at this time in my life as a teenager my motivation was collecting good music and dancing before I even had two turntables.”
 – Norm Talley

Smith was born in Chicago, Ill. but he and his family moved to Michigan when he was maybe 4 or 5 years old. Although his roots stem from Detroit, by the early ‘80s he started to develop a taste for Chicago house music. “There was no place like the Detroit’s westside growing up. That’s where the scene started in Detroit,” he says.

Delano Smith

DELANO SMITH

Each artist were influenced by the late and great WLBS DJ Ken Collier, a Detroit-native and pioneer to the techno community. Collier was ultimately known for his after hours sets at Heaven, a gay nightclub on 7 Mile and Woodward. Like Frankie Knuckles and others, Collier played a pivotal role in the era of post-disco, when the energy was high, the scene was pushed further underground and a new sound was brewing.  

Norm Talley & Delano Smith

L’UOMO DETROIT

“I opened for Ken a lot in Detroit at many of his residencies … I already knew how to beatmatch pretty much prior to having the opportunity to open for him. He did advise on little things like blending, EQing and volume, but just watching and speaking with him when we played together taught me a lot,” Smith says, adding that he has too many fond memories of him to reminisce on just one. Smith did begin to DJ alongside Collier and began gaining most of his notoriety at L’uomo Detroit, a warehouse type club.

Talley lived four blocks away from Collier and regardless of being a bit younger at the time, he was still gaining knowledge through the music he shared. Collier was a mentor and a friend to him, providing him knowledge about disco and progressive which developed that signature Talley sound and energetic set. “One great memory of Ken playing was when he got ready to mix a record he would tell the light guy to ‘blacken the floor!’ which meant turn off the lights and when the mix was complete, and the next record was introduced, the light guy would then turn back on the lights!”

Smith took a break from DJing in the mid/late ’80s around the time that house music was becoming more popular. “I’d already been DJing for a long time making no money, so I decided to get a real job and further my education and eventually left Detroit for a few years. When I returned in the early ’90s the music had changed completely. I was at a friends house that happened to have some turntables set up in his basement — one thing led to another and here we are.”

Fully inspired and on the grind, Smith had his mission at the helm and in 2003 joined forces with Tony Foster to develop Mixmode Recordings. Prior to that, Smith and Talley developed the Detroit Beatdown Crew, along with Mike ‘Agent X’ Clarke. Their first compilation LP was released through Third Ear Recordings in 2002. As a trio their sound began seeping into the European scene, leading Smith to Germany where he developed a very impactful relationship with Yossi Amoyal, head of Berlin label Sushitech.

Both artists have performed on an international level, including places like Germany, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Japan and more.

“When I first began to travel internationally overseas they seemed to pay very close attention to detail as far as sound system which was pleasant for me and now I see a lot of clubs in the U.S. paying more attention to details. Don’t get me wrong, there were some clubs in the U.S. in the late ’70s and early ’80s that had great soundsystems but I guess it seemed as all the clubs overseas had great sound systems,” Talley says.

According to Smith, “The music is taken more seriously in Europe and Japan it seems. A DJ can really play from the heart. People that come to hear you are truly your fans, they buy your records and are knowledgeable about the music and the entire scene in general. It’s a lot different in the U.S., and I’ll just leave it at that. There are many factors in the U.S. that divides us musically and culturally.”

Regardless of international differences, “the D” is the birthplace of techno. Creation and community was so poignant during the early days on the westside, it helped spark and develop a culture that remains authentic. According to Talley, “I think DJs and producers living in Detroit at that time were heavily influenced by the rich history of music coming out of Detroit through radio, our parents, backyard parties, high school gigs, DJ crews … so I think it just carried on into our adult lives.” The city is still growing with new waves in the scene, many shaping the next generation of music from that city and carrying on the legacy. From two artists who have seen the city’s evolution, they shared with Sequencer who they find to be an important player in shaping the next generation of music from the 313.

“Really hard to say as there are so many and I like a lot of them,” Smith says. “Too many to name actually, but I will say – with the new younger generation of music producers, the scene will be left in good hands!”

Talley continued, “A lot of producers and DJs have brought their sons into the music business and I think they will carry the house and techno torch when we’re old and grey. Guys like Jay Daniels, Kyle Hall, Dantiez and Damarii Saunderson, and Generation Next to name a few.”

Tens of thousands of people will make the pilgrimage to Detroit on Memorial Day weekend for the annual Movement Festival. Movement attracts people from all over the world, exposing them to the city and perhaps showing it in a new light, breaking the negative connotation that many people might have in mind. There is a culture of art, music and cuisine that is more than a pleasure to explore.

movement

MOVEMENT FESTIVAL – PHOTO: DOUG W.

Each person that has a connection to the festival has a special meaning in their heart for Detroit. For Smith, “I like the fact that Detroit is shown in a good light around the world. The guys at Paxahau have a top notch production in the U.S.A., we need this here, and it’s done in my hometown where techno was born.”

Movement, produced by Paxahau since 2006, will be celebrating 10 years this May and has grown to become one of the largest electronic festivals. “It’s a positive thing all the way around exposing people from Detroit – and worldwide – to electronic music from Detroit and abroad,” Talley says.

Talley will be returning to Rochester, N.Y. along with Smith on Saturday, April 23 for the seventh installation of Signal > Noise who have previously presented The Black Madonna, Claude Young and Eric Cloutier. This event has also been selected as an official Movement Pre-party.

Both artists have been friends and DJing with one another for decades. Smith says that he and Norm are like family. “I’ve known Norm for many, many years and we’re very close friends, like family,” Smith said.

“Great friend of mine for many years, and we have held residencies together here in Detroit for over 20 years,” Talley says. “[He is] very passionate about music and pays close attention to detail which is right up my alley. Great DJ and label owner of MixMode recordings which we have done records together in the past and more coming in the near future!”

 

 

 

RSVP to Movement on the Facebook event page. For more information on Movement or to buy tickets visit http://movement.us/.

Signal > Noise 2.1: Norm Talley and Delano Smith
Saturday, April 23
45 Euclid (45 Euclid St., Rochester)
Presale $20
See the Facebook event page for more details.

 

Welcome to the Sequencer

On a global level the house and techno scene has a long and powerful history. From Berlin to Detroit, from New York City to Chicago; born from the underground this realm has always been a beast of its own, and somehow is both inclusive and exclusive. Not all enter, but anyone is welcome if your mind is in the right place.

Simple in its foundation yet complex in the details, electronic music is a widely expansive genre with more subgenres that can be uttered in one breath. One of the best descriptions I have ever heard about house and techno is that it is a “rabbit hole.” Once you start falling down it, you can’t really get out. There is too much to explore. Too much to find. So much to love.

Comprised by a culture of people, each person is playing a role in the interconnection. It’s a living, breathing mass that evolves with time but maintains the quality of history that fuels it.

Additionally, each city has it’s own vibe, taste, feel, whatever you may call it. Sequencer is a place to converge – to learn, discuss and expand. To be notified of what is to come, or what has happened.

Here you may get to know the DJs and producers that you love with artist spotlights. Learn the history of it all. Check out our calendar of events. Find something new to add to your auditory palate. Join the experience.

Enter the Sequencer.

Questions? Please email alicia.sequencer@gmail.com