notes from a journey through Chicago's cultural landscape...

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

...this is not about me, this is about my city - a living document of Chicago's art's scene, a memoir of concerts I've been to & performances I've seen, a jaded scribe's small sampling of the many offerings of this vibrant cosmopolitan city that I'm lucky enough to call home. I work the city as the city works me, all of us connected in varying degrees, here i pay tribute to our evolving soundtrack, I plug praiseworthy endeavors & try to give a little back... Together with my peers we paint this crossroads with every shade we can find, in your mediums & mine, i run with deep house deviants & wrinkled blues cats, youngun' b-boy crews & quirky circus brats, snobby eclectic DJs & electric painters laboring on projected displays, film makers armed with mini-DVs & picky chefs sculpting tricky masterpieces out of vegan grease... i kick it with slam poets & theater geeks, powerbook producers & fashionista freaks, photoshop fellowships & choreographer hips, while jazz cats blow digital epics through pursed bebop lips... i'm at the nexus of the next wave of Chicago sound - this is where i share the stories of all the beauty I've found...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bombay Beatbox @ Sonotheque

Hosted the monthly Asian Massive listening party at Sonotheque lounge last night. Very low turnout, but the people who showed up were determined to have a good time and were totally digging on the sounds and were getting down regardless of how empty the rest of the room was. Dropped a short set to open the evening and relinquished the tables to DJ Warp, who played a quick seamless series of tracks and then promptly departed to go watch a midnight screening of Star Wars. Adheesh Sathaye & George Lawler performed a SICK impromptu, unrehearsed jam between plugged in tablas and frame drums over one of Radiohiro's custom-made tracks, and Baseshot Scenario also incorporated some of his original beats into the mix via Ableton Live. It was a fun evening, I distributed an Afrobeat mix called "Fela Fallout & Fertile AfroFUNK", and also got a rare chance to dance my troubles away to the sweet sounds of Karsh Kale & Talvin Singh at high volume on Sonotheque's really well-crafted sound system. Radiohiro held down the decks for the whole evening, and there was a series of spontaneous jams between drummers & DJs. It was a very good vibe throughout, even though it was low key and most of my friends flaked and didn't show. The fewer of my friends who turn up, the more I'm obliged to actually work the room, introduce myself to strangers, and polish up on my promotional skills. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn about myself and other people each time I dust off my game face and try to talk to folks about music... Working for Six Degrees Records is a lot like being an ambassador for musical traditions from all over the planet, and I'm blessed to be able to share these sounds with folks who are willing to listen beyond their media-manufactured comfort zones... The future belongs to those of us who understand that sound and vibrations are not hemmed in by arbitrary man-made borders...the beats cross all boundaries, the music permits us to transcend the limitations of all other human communication... Sounds idealistic, but yo - the vibrations are the only higher power I really trust anymore... & they've been good to me...
Do I weave the mix or does the mix weave me?
locked into identities, sound is a skeleton key
one love emerges from decaying cultural debris
beats form covenants across communities
setting vagabond listeners free...

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