Undeniably one of the world’s most influential and groundbreaking electronic-music producers, Speedy J (aka Jochem Paap) began his illustrious career in the mid-eighties in his hometown of Rotterdam. Little did he know that early experimentation with beat-making, inspired by his love of electro and hip-hop, would lead to nearly twenty years of some of the most important innovations in both electronic-music production and performance. With a discography that began with early releases for Richie Hawtin’s Plus 8 label and landmark albums on NovaMute and Warp Records, among others, Paap quickly became a trendsetter in the genres of techno and experimental dance music.
Paap has spent years performing his music live, perfecting his sets with a combination of hardware and software. Paap’s live sets possess an intensity that, to this day, continues to leave many a crowded dancefloor breathless. With his signature breakdowns and builds, the sets crescendo from evocative ambient soundscapes to tough pounding techno, and the result is an electrifying tangible energy.
A longtime fan of collaboration and seeker of atypical outlets for electronic musicians, Paap has recently teamed up with inventive VJ/digital artist/filmmaker, Scott Pagano. Pagano’s motion graphics have an edgy aesthetic and a fluid style. Paap and Pagano set out to create a stimulating multimedia experience, merging Paap’s music production and Pagano’s mind-bending high-definition visuals on a 5.1 surround sound DVD.
This Saturday, the team will appear at an exclusive Chicago screening of the “Umfeld” DVD, which will take place at the MacSpecialist Chicago store. The duo will do a meet-and-greet and question and answer session. According to event organizer Frankie Vega, the event is “a good chance to connect international artists and DJs with like-minded enthusiasts and music fans.”
Later in the evening, the party moves over to Smart Bar where Paap and Pagano will perform a live DJ/VJ that will rattle the Funktion One sound system and provide a stunning backdrop of perfectly synced visuals. Frankie Vega adds, “Welcoming Speedy J back to Smart Bar had to be extra special. His last show there was his first time playing in Chicago and such a historic show that we felt it almost felt couldn’t be topped. The club allowed us to rent and bring in our own Funktion One sound system just for the night. Speedy J made this a historically sonic experience, and that was probably a major factor making the huge investment and decision to install the rig permanently.”(Elly Rifkin)
Speedy J spins with Scott Pagano on live visuals, with Frankie Vega, Sassmouth and Sevron at Smart Bar, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, February 15 from 10pm-4am. $10 before midnight, $15 after. Speedy J & Scott Pagano will also be at a special screening for “Umfeld” with a Q&A, giveaways and more at MacSpecialist Chicago, 500 North Wells, (312)755-0000, February 15 at 6:30pm. The event is free, but an rsvp to majesticnightlife.com/list is required. is required.