B12 – Electro Soma 2xlp – WARP

WARPLP9RMichael Golding and Steve Rutter’s B12 project, both as a recording entity and a record label, has been more deeply influential than their modest fame might indicate. Via their label, they were able to collaborate with Stasis, Plaid, Kirk DeGiorgio, and Posthuman. Recording under B12 and various other aliases, they pioneered Intelligent Dance Music on WARP records and were notably present on both of the genre’s namesake Artificial Intelligence compilations.

While IDM has mutated perhaps beyond recognition into several different strands of music, their apparent heirs at the moment are more often classified roughly as ambient house. Whereas B12 were most active in the early 1990s, they’ve continued to release music intermittently over the years, and even when they’re not personally involved, their imitations abound with influences to be heard across current ambient-house labels like Slow Life, Acting Press, and S.O.N.S.

Electro Soma and Electro Soma II offer a retrospective view into the duo’s early efforts. Electro Soma was their first major album, originally available on WARP Records in 1993, only a few years into the then Sheffield-based label’s existence. Electro Soma II is billed as “A specially compiled companion volume to the reissue of Electro-Soma, an album compiled predominantly from early 12″s on the seminal B12 Records label by mysterious pseudonyms such as Musicology, Redcell and Cmetric. This sequel delves further into the B12 vaults, containing deep cuts and sought after rarities, including some tracks making their first appearance on vinyl.”

The music seems to beg the question, whether the underlying truism is that good music is necessarily timeless, or necessarily tethered to the moment of its expression. B12’s sci-fi futurism now has a retrospective quality to it that seems to contradict either simple pronouncement.

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2843 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 472-3683

Spirits of The Black Lodge Vol. 1 – compilation 12″ – Black Lodge

a0557167849_16Various artists come together for a 5-track release on the Los Angelean newcomer label Black Lodge Recordings. There’s quite a bit of variety in the realm of techno on this release.

Things start out with a lo-fi, acid-tinged contribution from VeXaTioN, and continue with a sparse, minimal number from Brown Irvin. Kosmik’s “The Endless Void” is heady and solid with its sustained pads and murky, meandering synths.

The B-side hosts Frequencia’s big and bold “Fall Traxx”, and is rounded out by Force Placement’s “Missing Words”. The closing track catches my ear the most. The rhythms on the mid-range vocal sample and a few percussive elements make for an interesting listen.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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In Rotation: SOLD Fall 2017

DDS025Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – Levitation Praxis Part 4 lp – DDS
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WRWTFWW20Midori Takada & Masahiko Satoh – Lunar Cruise LP + CD – We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want
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21618224_10214675711343273_994707160_oA New Line (Related) – Reverie(s) 12″ – Kimochi Sound
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PF070Gemini – In And Out Of Fog And Lights 2xlp – Peacefrog
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HDBLP036Laurel Halo – Dust lp – Hyperdub

Clark Street Jams @ The Hideout Inn, Saturday September 16th, 2017

Gramaphone Records presents: Now That’s What I Call Clark Street Jams: Volume 2. Featuring selectors SOLD and Adam Rowe, the show “presents an open format deviation from the typical club night. Gramaphone staffers focus on sharing unearthed oddities, and the occasional guilty pleasure.”

Adam Rowe is 1/2 of the Bell Boys and a talented recording artist in his own right, as well as being involved in Stripped & Chewed, smartbar, North Side ’82, Night Owl Diner, Sleazetone, Tugboat, and having recently had his production featured by North Middlesex’s Talahachi label. SOLD is a techno buyer at Gramaphone, resident at smartbar’s Soft Machine and Hugo Ball event series, and the host of the Neon Falls series there.

This is a 21+ show, there will be a 5$ cover charge. The Hideout is located at 1352 W Wabansia.
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NYC Volume 1: 2005-2012 3xlp compilation – Dope Jams

DJ580 (1)There’s a lot of sound to get through here: the first side features NYC Garage house courtesy of Groovestyle (a seldom used Eric Miller alias) and Tommye. Then on the flip, Scottish Funk D’Void channels some Detroit high-tech soul and Vil-N-X digs up their 1992 house jam What Cha Gonna Do.

The next disc is a much more modern sound, with abstract and lo-fi house productions from Beige (?), Hieroglyphic Being (Chicago), Analogous Doom (Missouri), D’Marc Cantu (Ann Arbor), and a rework by Slow To Speak’s Francis Englehardt (New York). The third record opens with gospel house courtesy of Kenny Bobien and The Djoon Experience, flips modes to acid house by Tadd Mullinix / D’Marc Cantu collaboration 2 AM/FM. The last side is reserved for leftfield antics, featuring Tom Of England, Invisible Conga People, and the tongue-in-cheek Snow by Christopher Deloach and Nick Hallstrom.

Dope Jams has been a NYC institution for a long time, and they dig into their deep vaults for this expansive compilation and accompanying booklet.

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2843 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 472-3683

 

Force Placement – Sometimes It Seems Like 12″ – Material Image

MATIMG05Force Placement is in Los Angeles, connected with the Black Lodge crew with a radio program on RWD.FM. Force Placement has a track on the new Black Lodge compilation and has released for LA 909 and Kid 606’s Tigerbeat6. Sometimes It Seems Like is Force Placement’s debut solo on vinyl.

Material Image is Aschof Mal’s label, a producer & DJ affiliated with Gramaphone records but located in Los Angeles. This is Material Image’s first record for 2017. The title track opens the record with a track that feels contradictory: simultaneously minimalist and cluttered with sound. It’s a driving tune anchored by an overdriven acid line. Insofar is similarly stripped down, aggressive, techno-leaning with a breakbeat rhythm. The B side feels less insistent, leaning back into slowed-down acid broken beat on Safety, similar attitude and heavy syncopation on Golden Hour.

They’re all weighty tracks, though, and it straddles acid, electro, and mid-tempo techno in a way that should be quite familiar to followers of the Material Image catalog.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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(773) 472-3683

Golf Clap in-store Saturday, September 9th 2017

Bryan Jones & Hugh Cleal make up Detroit’s Golf Clap; the primary home for their recordings is their own Country Club Disco imprint. This year they also contributed to a digital release on Chicago’s legendary Relief Records imprint. Fresh off of their appearances at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival and The Mid nightclub, the dynamic duo will be stopping by Gramaphone for an in-store meet & greet, scheduled from 7-8pm on Saturday evening.

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Oliver Dollar & Crazy P – Loose Beat 12″ – Yoruba Records

YSD84 (1)Oliver Siebert and disco-tinged house group Crazy P, team up for a single on Osunlade’s Yoruba Records. The result is a super DJ-friendly, mellow, disco-influenced house number.

Some of the strings and pads, vocal samples, and percussive elements form a palette that reminds me of Moodymann or Norma Jean Bell. Though I wouldn’t quite put this side by side with either of the aforementioned, the track is definitely pliable and I could see dancefloors gravitating towards it. “Loose Beat” does feature some nice moments on the keys. If you’re looking for groovy, somewhat sparsely produced house with a little bit of grit, this might be up your alley.

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2843 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 472-3683

In Rotation: m50 Fall 2017

MW003Uon – Zlo 12″ – Motion Ward
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MDS005Dreamlogicc – MDS005 12″ – Main Drain Studios
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20180060_10214120890713104_590227382_oSkookum – Laudanum 12″ – Tesuji
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MW010Mukqs – 11 666 666 666 666 666 666 12″ – Midwich Productions
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GOOD10Nummer – Second Sight 2xlp – Going Good

Uon – Zlo 12″ – Motion Ward

MW003A new day, a new alias. Motion Ward presents the debut of Uon, a mysterious artist with a mysterious past and a mysterious sound.

The record’s first track comes off like early Pole bass & melodies played through a wireframe sculpture rattling in the wind. A2 sounds like astronaut indigestion. B1 sounds like an extraordinarily pensive autonomic drum n bass. And the record closes with tidal waves of minor chords over a rocky coastline.

There are apparently track titles, but no indication of them on the label art nor accompanying postcard, so I’ll leave them off here for now.

Motion Ward is a 2 year old imprint from Los Angeles, specializing in lo-fi and weird-fi house.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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(773) 472-3683

Terrence Parker – God Loves Detroit 2xLP – Planet E

PLE653801Veteran Terrence Parker serves up some straightforward, super happy, feel-good house for his most recent album. Expect mix-friendly four-to-the-floor beats, vocal tracks, big room sounds, and plenty of retrospective keyboard chord stabs to go around. With more than 2 decades of experience, the album is very well produced. Seemingly paying homage to the 90’s, the palette is familiar, fun-loving, and easy to digest.

This album will likely go over well with Parker fans, and many DJs and dancefloors alike. If those 90’s piano stabs do it to you, or if you’re looking for big room tunes, give this a spin. Conversely, I would recommend a couple of the downtempo cuts on the D-side: “The Sabath” and “Will You Ever Come Back To Me”.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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Clark Street Jams @ aliveOne, Wednesday August 30th, 2017

This time, Clark Street Jams returns to aliveOne with bossman Michael Serafini and God Particle owner Sassmouth. Expect a night of house and dance classics. Clark Street Jams is an event series celebrating the selectors of Gramaphone records, come check out this showcase in the dance cave at the back of aliveOne, with mixed drink specials and lots of atmosphere. aliveOne is at 2683 N Halsted, 21+ show.
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Bad Boy Bill in-store Friday, August 25th 2017

From 6pm-8pm, Bad Boy Bill will be at the Gramaphone shop in Chicago, in celebration of his birthday party. The meet and greet will be in advance of his appearance at The Mid, 306 N Halsted later Friday evening. Bad Boy Bill is a longtime Chicago DJ who hosted a program on WBBM, founded International House Records, and has been an established recording artist for over 30 years.
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Hodge Podge release party in-store Thursday, August 24th 2017

Gramaphone house buyer and smartbar resident Garrett David celebrates his third record of the year with a shindig at Gramaphone. The event will kick off at 5pm and feature an in-store performance by Shmoo, a 50% discount on used vinyl, a 10% discount on the Garrett David’s Hodge Podge 12″ on Residual Recordings, and refreshments. Gramaphone is located at 2843 N Clark in Chicago.
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Waajeed – Shango 12″ – Dirt Tech Reck

DTR11The Detroit-based Dirt Tech Reck offers Waajeed’s latest effort. Formerly of Slum Village fame, but he is also a diverse producer in his own right, having appeared on Peanut Butter Wolf’s Stones Throw, Kenny Dixon Jr’s Mahogani Music, Rush Hour, Archive, Rapster, Music Man, and so on…

On Shango, he is going all-in on a house sound that wouldn’t feel out of place on Planet E, Innervisions, or Retreat. Chordy, hard swinging deep house for packed dancefloors dominate the A side. The B side has more of a stop-start broken beat that is wistfully reminiscent of the west London sound, or perhaps drawing from the J Dilla school of production.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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(773) 472-3683

 

Gramaphone Announces New Hours

As things change in this modern age so does Gramaphone Records. We have new business hours and will be open Monday by Appointment, just email webstore@gramaphonerecords.com

Mon – Closed/appointment only
Tues – 12-8 PM
Wed – Closed
Th-Sat 12-8 PM
Sun 12-6 PM

Amp Fiddler – So Sweet 12″ – Mahogani

MM40Kenny Dixon Jr.’s Mahogani imprint brings some heavy hitters for its second release of 2017. Louie Vega (Masters At Work, Nuyorican Soul, Elements Of Life) does the A-side remix with a peak time classic deep house that hits all of its marks, Chicago style via NYC via Detroit. On the flip side Waajeed (Slum Village) turns the lights down for a sultry r&b groove, complete with an instrumental alternate take. All of this draws from originals courtesy of Amp Fiddler and Neco Redd, and results in some timeless productions.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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(773) 472-3683

Patrice Scott – Soulfood 12″ – Sistrum

SIS029Patrice Scott is a soul man. Patrice Scott is Detroit via Berlin. Patrice Scott is a dope DJ.

Sistrum is Patrice Scott’s label. Sistrum is known for sleek futuristic house music. Patrice Scott’s productions often fall somewhere between house and techno. Soulfood is Patrice Scott’s new record on Sistrum.

Patrice Scott seems to have moved his sound progressively more loose and organic since his Euphonium album in 2015. Patrice Scott’s music is for the hips. Patrice Scott knows how to groove.

Soulfood is a three-track EP of groovy, hip music for the soul. Soulfood is house music. Soulfood is laid back. Soulfood is bumping.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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Nas1 – Band Sky LP – New Boy Shit Trax

NBST006Nas1 is a versatile producer out of Italy. Band Sky is Nas1’s second (mini)album. Clocking in at only around a half an hour, it manages to cram in a variety of moods and textures.

It’s instrumental electronic music, ranging from lo-fi EBM  (Robodance, Sei Venuta A Qui) to downtempo funk (Luce Verde (Cut A Ree), Sparisci) to dusty beatdown house (Bottazzi Antalena, A Beautiful Dinner) and finally the free jazz acid house of Ksclub closing out the record. His DJ sets are similarly multifarious, recent appearances incorporating classic disco, funk, abstract beats, lo-fi house, electro boogie, Detroit techno, and always with an affinity for notably loose timing.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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Convextion – 2845 2xLP – a.r.t.less

ARTLESSVEXTLP1

Gerard Hanson a.k.a. Convextion’s latest album finds him in a much different place from last year’s theatrical, sci-fi, ambient release on Acido Records. Here, listeners will find a septet of Techno tracks backed by a beat. The production style often carries a futuristic element; the pads are cool and the percussive elements are sharp, minimal, and bright. Flyby is a great example of the aforementioned description.

The heady Distant Transmissions is my favorite track on the release. Hanson really puts the cool, blue palette that he has crafted for the album to work on this song. He makes great use of what sound like reverse hits, and the pads are delicate and subtle, yet effective.

Given Convextion’s track record alone, I’d say this is worth a listen.

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2843 N. Clark St.
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(773) 472-3683