Groove Line

Wed. December 5, 2007 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Bits & Pieces
A hearty welcome to Boystown's newest nightspot: Scarlet . Occupying the former Gentry on Halsted space at 3320 N. Halsted, the venue will feature DJs on the weekend (Thursday - Saturday ) with the likes of Carla Starla, AJ Dubbz, and DJ Jim. ...They say that Fridays are the new Saturdays. (kinda like how 40 is the new 30 when it comes to age.) With DJs Freddie Bain, Chris Eterno, and DJ Oskar all holding Friday night residencies at Cocktail, Spin, and Minibar, respectively, and Hydrate regularly featuring big-name national spinmeisters, the adage seems to have merit, at least in Boystown. ...Jeez, is DJ Laura B really spinning six nights a week at Hydrate and Hunters? ...Wondering what's up for New Year's Eve and whether there will be any big gay events or parties in Chicago? Well, there is no early vibe on local happenings but for the adventurous, Masterbeat parties in Miami and Los Angles as well as Alegria and Saint-At-Large events in New York City and Rio de Janeiro are getting massive global buzz. Not enough space here to give you more details, so let your Internet browser take you to where you need to go.

The New And Not So Familiar
Every now and then, I like to take you Groove Line readers on a trip way outside of the box and this time we're headed toward the world of Drum ‘N Bass. Over the years I've been a distant yet enthusiastic fan of DnB, an electronic dance music sub-genre also known as "jungle." [Wikipedia: "DnB emerged in the early 1990s and is characterized by fast tempo broken beat drums (generally between 160–180 beats per minute) with heavy, often intricate basslines.] It's a style of music that's not meant for everyone, but for those with an open mind and an adventuresome rhythmic spirit – and in no need of vocals - DnB can be a most satisfying experience.

Whether a virgin to DnB music or already a connoisseur, there are two new mixed CDs out by DnB master DJs that will be impressive additions to your dance music collection. THE SECRET ART OF SCIENCE 2 by DJ DB (Koch Records) is a great introduction to DnB as it focuses on the musically softer, chiller side of the genre with a Then & Now presentation: nine classic tracks from the mid-1990s and seven modern day takes on where chill DnB has evolved. On the other end of the DnB spectrum, with its hi-energy, harder edged, electrified beats, is WEAPONS OF TOMORROW by AK1200 (Moist Music). A collection of 20 tracks representing the future of hardcore DnB, AK1200 has put together a devastatingly intense and relentless mix that's not for the squeamish. With these two CDs, you're guaranteed a top-notch introduction to the rhythmically fascinating world of DnB.

The Familiar
I must admit I was only "kinda" looking forward to the new mixed compilation CD from Centaur, GLOBAL GROOVE: LIVE 2 mixed by Roland Belmares and Mike Cruz. By the time the last notes and beats played out I was only too excited to hit the button and listen to the mix again. The creative combination of Belmares and Cruz really works and produces a mix that is sure to please a wide range of late night clubbers, from those who want lots of tribal beats and groovy rhythms as well as those who needs to wrap their minds and lips around dance music with vocals. LIVE 2 is not incessantly filled with fluffy and "gay"-ly soaring diva tracks, instead there is a glorious offering of sultry and penetrating progressive vocal performances amidst the 12-song mix. Whereas the recently released THE EVENT by Tony Moran is a nonstop big room peak hours (Midnight – 2am) presentation for the masses, Belmares and Cruz have crafted the perfect soundscape for the afterhours (2am-4am) crowd with tracks by The Perry Twins, Dave Audé, Peter Presta, and Deep Influence with Zelma Davis. If this initial fantastic effort is any indication of things to come, Belmares & Cruz may be headed toward a level of duo fame achieved by the likes of Rosabel and Sasha & Digweed.

A Story Well Told
This autumn has been incredibly rich with new musical offerings from well established soul divas, including Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Ledisi, and the legendary Chaka Khan. However, the soul harvest really got started a couple of months ago with the release of EAST SIDE STORY (J Records) by Emily King. While often compared to the neo-soulstresses mentioned previously, this 14-track debut long-player introduces the 21-year-old King as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose style at times is difficult to label. Fusing jazz, R&B, hip-hop, rock and even some reggae, there's a marvelous musicality to this CD that is highlighted by King's light and bluesy voice. Some have called King an "Alicia Keys with a guitar," but from my perspective she's got more in common with Brits Corrine Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse. Regardless with whom she's compared and contrasted, the fact of the matter is that King has remarkable talents and has produced an exceptionally good album.