Reviews, profiles and news about music in Chicago

Preview: Paul van Dyk

DJ, Electronic/Dance, Trance No Comments »


Music conferences aside, once in a while worlds collide, and natives experience something off the house-beaten-path, hit or miss. Last year Carl Cox blew the roof off Vision, and last month Sasha & Digweed put the town to sleep at House of Blues. It’s baseball season and Paul van Dyk is on deck. While being equipped with a plethora of recent award-winning material that boasts global recognition—and it may sound great on mp3 at any time of the day or night—it’s not the reason to check him out. Those among the avid culture supporting the big beats know the real reason. During van Dyk’s last visit, a packed venue thoroughly enjoyed recognizing and/or not recognizing the tracks. The uncontrived sound and obsession by “the best” truly digging into his set defies any explanation of why or how it’s good—it just is, sometimes. (Anthony Regan)
Friday, May 16 at Vision

Preview: The Seminar: Black Sun Empire, Plague and the Entro MC

Drum 'n' Bass, Trance No Comments »

This Netherlands-based recording duo is largely credited with the synthesizer-fueled drum ‘n’ bass anthems that earn the unfortunate moniker of “trance & bass.” Though relentless percussion and sinister bass lines abound, this style involves melodic hooks known to drive arenas to frenzy. The subgenre has become an empire itself: BSE boasts two successful imprints loaded with young and veteran talent, and continues to hone their own studio chops, despite incessant touring schedules. Each year that followed their seminal “Driving Insane” album has included no less than three dance floor-wrecking singles. There is little excuse to stay indoors this week, as Black Sun Empire brings this epic sound to the Seminar. (John Alex Colon)
Wednesday, February 13  at Lava

Preview: DJ Rap/Sound-Bar

DJ, Drum 'n' Bass, House, Trance No Comments »


Charissa Saverio, known globally as DJ Rap, has proven quite adept at developing outlets for her talent. Comfortable behind any lens, she used her stunning looks to become a successful model and actress. As a producer, she has released several dance and jungle hits, not to mention a healthy remix portfolio. She owns a seasoned drum ‘n’ bass label and recently created another to focus on her growing interest in house music. Rap’s latest drum ‘n’ bass album, “Bulletproof,” was released last year to wide acclaim. This multitasking deck diva returns to Chicago with her signature dark melodies and synth-fueled breakbeats, these days blended with elements of house and trance. After a decade in the business, DJ Rap’s bottom line has remained constant: “get the crowd moving.” Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Matthew Dekay/Vision

Electronic/Dance, Trance No Comments »


Matthew Dekay could produce the typical boring trance track—replete with rolling drums and synthetic airy breakdowns—but chooses instead to remold the genre by bending it towards electro, minimal techno and progressive house. The Dutch wonderboy cuts grooves that are played the world over by trance gods Sasha and John Digweed, disco-filtered funk madman Erick Morrillo, and overlords of all things proggy, James Holden and Steve Lawler. His versatility in the studio converted The Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” into a top dance song in the UK; his reworking of “Can Heaven Wait” by one of the biggest names in soul—Luther Vandross—re-minted what was already a classic. Dekay makes trance much more pleasurable. Read the rest of this entry »