Author Archives: Chuck

About Chuck

Chuck is a lifelong music lover. He spent his 20s working as a professional musician before discovering he enjoys listening to music more than playing it. He knows a little bit about most genres, though electronic dance music, rock, and hip-hop are his favorites. Eleven albums/shows that transformed how he sees and hears the world (in order he encountered them): Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Van Halen Fair Warning; The Cure Standing on a Beach; John Coltrane Crescent; De La Soul Three Feet High and Rising; Puccini La Boheme (de los Angeles, Bjorling, Beecham); Everything but the Girl Walking Wounded; Carl Cox, Twilo, NYC, May 2000; Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.; Grateful Dead. Fillmore East, NYC, April 1971; Taylor Swift 1989.

Kölsch – fabric Presents Kölsch

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Album cover for "fabric Presents Kölsch"

Two things immediately strike me about Rune Reilly Kölsch’s set for Fabric. First, Kölsch’s compositions rest upon thick beds of harmony that take me back to my earliest experiences with electronic music, when I was a high school heavy metal fan trying to understand the sonic landscapes of Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. Second, his rhythms feel boundless, weaving in… Read more »

Combo Qazam – Owls

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Album cover for Combo Qazam "Flight Music"

“Owls” explodes out of the speakers and rushes into your ears. The whole thing moves at about 190 beats per minute. It is exhilarating, yet there is a sense that everything will go terribly wrong if you blink at the incorrect moment. This sounds the way it feels to drive at 100 mph. The intro unfolds over the first minute… Read more »

Loraine James – Reflection

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Album Cover for Loraine James "Reflection"

I sometimes wonder what would happen if reviewers didn’t receive press kits. It’s a question that re-emerges as I read about Loraine James and encounter phrases like “genre-bending IDM” and “paint portraits of Blackness, queerness and loneliness.” I don’t know what genre-bending IDM sounds like. What I hear in Reflection is a thoughtful and emotional record that builds on the… Read more »

Modeselektor, The Fall, and the Rules of Electronic Dance Mixes

Album cover for Modeselektor Presents Modeselktion Vol. 03

Every genre of music defines an early set of rules, devolves into a chaotic sense of anarchy, then finds its way to a new set of rules. Look at rock. Early rock and roll followed rules largely inherited from country and R&B. The British Invasion initially stuck with those rules, but by about 1966, the Beatles and the Stones were… Read more »

Joey and Norman Jay – Good Times with Joey and Norman Jay: Classic Party Tunes from the Good Times Sound System

Album cover for Good Times With Joey and Norman Jay Vol. 1

It’s tough to make a great mix tape. Great mix tapes require knowledge and thoughtfulness and love. You need to dig deep, not only into the crate but into what you know about the person who’ll be listening. The flow of the mix is important, but so is the selection of songs and artists and genres. When you make a… Read more »

Pan American (self-titled) and Pole 1

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Album covers for Pan American (Self-Titled) and Pole 1

It’s a beautiful spring afternoon and I’m in the drive-thru at Taco Bell in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. It’s 1998 and I’m thrilled to finally have a Taco Bell in my neighborhood. I’m bored with the stash of CDs in my pickup so I’m flipping through radio stations when a sound I’ve never heard floats into my ears. A lazy beat… Read more »

Zhu – Dreamland 2021

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Album cover for Zhu "Dreamland 2021"

My taste in electronic dance music runs a bit below the radar. I’ve got nothing against artists like Skrillex or David Guetta, they just don’t speak to me. That’s why I’ve never bothered with Zhu. However, there was a compelling LA Times article about him and anti-AAPI racism, so I decided to check out Dreamland 2021. The album’s fine. It… Read more »

Jayda G – DJ-Kicks

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Album cover for Jayda G "DJ-Kicks"

As Westminster Quarters (you know, the doorbell song) opens Jayda G’s new DJ-Kicks set, I’m taken back to the new Visionist record. While Visionist used the melody to submerge us in a haunted fever dream, Jayda G promises us an uplifting summertime jam filled with sunshine, warm nights, and dance floors filled with sweat and smiles. This record completely delivers… Read more »