Detroit Sound Conservancy

Detroit Sound Conservancy

07.10.13 | Permalink | Comment?

is in full effect.

The Kickstarter is live. And believe me, it’s live.

Detroit Sound Conservancy Introduces ‘Oral History Project” from hawkhaus films on Vimeo.

Please support us here: Detroit Sound Conservancy Kickstarter

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Movement Festival

Like I Said, It Was Good

07.08.13 | Permalink | Comment?

ADULT. at Movement 2013.


Awesomeness Description, Events, Movement Festival

The Bitch is Back, tryin at least

07.03.13 | Permalink | Comment?

Guess who.

Did you get that? Bitch. Is Back. The.

I try. I really do. I think of things I want to write. Some of them stay in my head. Some of them go into a notebook. Some of them, most of them, get put into my book draft. Oh, it’s going. But schoolcraft wax is looking a little sad lately. It’s just cause I’ve been doing stuff. Busy parenting, working, maintaining my community. Shit, maintaining in general.

I told you all I would write about the festival. Movement was pretty great. I got to see Mike Huckaby play records at Rhino’s in Harmonie Park Friday night of that special weekend. It was put together at nearly the last minute and did not have a large crowd Friday night. But that’s cool, cause I got to dance with plenty of space to Mike Huckaby.

Saturday was supposed to be a wonderful day with plenty of excellent music. One highlight that I had been looking forward to for months was seeing Shigeto play. I wondered if he would play drums live. He did. I did not see it.

I was home sick. I’ll spare you the details. I’m tough, I can take a whole lot, and work through. This was enough to keep me home from Detroit and delicious music all day. I missed Kenny Dixon. I missed XXXY. And Terrence Parker! I missed Terrence Parker. From what I heard, I missed quality performances. Terrence is said to have played classics with his own style of turntablism, inspiring the crowd into booty shakes. You know I’d be there, shakin. That night was also the Deep Detroit party at 1515 Broadway. Many were turned away because it was such a popular party and such a small space. Good for them. Bad for folks who want to dance. That’s a quality annual party.

Sunday, Mala was the first thing I heard. It was every bit as good as I’d hoped.


I’ve been a fan of Digital Mystikz and of Mala for a while now. He played some great records. He started off slow with some droning dub and gradually got things going. He played “Alicia” which really made me swoon.

Pick yourself up, I know, I know. Wipe your brow. We have to move on. Adult. Did you all see this? They were fantastic. We had a good view, too. I loved all of their songs. They performed Shari Vari. Nicola Kuperus’ vocals were fantastic. I’m posting this live video from a MOCAD performance rather than the studio recorded version because it captures what I loved about the performance at the festival. Listen and watch and then multiply times one thousand.

I liked it a lot better than the Dirtbombs version of the song that came out a few years ago. I’m sorry! Not a popular opinion, but it’s my own. Come on. The Dirtbombs did “Kung Fu.” They have set the bar high. A long time ago. My expectations for them remain high.

I got to see Minx DJ, who was funky as usual. Lots of dancing. Then Dan Bell later that evening.

Daniel Bell @ Movement Festival Detroit – Hart Plaza Day 2 (26-05-2013) by Livesetsarchive.Com on Mixcloud

Dan Bell was the highlight of the weekend, in terms of music. I was there with people I cared about listening to music I cared about. Bell has a skill with selecting ridiculous music that stimulates your intellect, jogs your memory, fills your heart, and shakes hips, all at the same time, and for extended periods of time. I was listening/dancing to Dan with my Detroit Sound Conservancy compatriot, Carleton S. Gholz, doctor of awesomeness. Carleton has been making things happen for DSC. He’s got heart and ideas and knows how to pour himself into something significant. You’ll continue to hear more about DSC, both here and around town, over the next year. Anyway, during Dan Bell’s set, the two of us yelled into each other’s faces, as well as those around us. It was a time. Whenever I try to talk when great music is playing, I have a hard time concentrating. The music distracts me from the conversation. Dan Bell’s set definitely had this effect.

I was satisfied. I’m sure all the visitors to town spent lots of time around the city. There is so much to see and do. Tigers games. Belle Isle. Delicious food like Lafayette Coney Island, Harmonie Garden, Motor City Brew Works, Traffic Jam and Snug, Pizza Papalis. Coffee? Oh, Detroit has coffee now. Astro, Great Lakes, Anthology. Sweet sweet espresso. You can gamble here. Casinos abound. They have cool shows at them sometimes, the one’s I like to pay attention to are the stand up comedians and the old funk and r&b performances. I’ve never played games in a casino before. Maybe this would help me figure it all out: I promise you my kids know way more about video games and online gaming than I do.

My illness limited us to the festival, avoiding afterparties for all but Friday night, unfortunately. Then, other responsibilities came up on Monday and I only got to see TOKIMONSTA and Erika. Tokimonsta was disappointing. I am pretty sure she had her entire set pre-programmed on her laptop and was twisting knobs on her mixer and dancing around while it played. I’m fairly liberal in my opinions about what a DJ can do and still be interesting. Digital, analog, CDs, tape, laptops; there are plenty of options, all with the potential to make you get down. What I saw her doing up on the main stage that afternoon barely qualified as a live performance. She pressed play and most of the time when she moved the knobs, nothing audible happened. It takes minimal skill to do that. There are computer programs that will match beats for you. She didn’t even need to be on the stage and the same thing could have happened. I was disappointed. How are you going to come to Detroit, play the RBMA stage, the main stage, in Detroit, and do that? I can listen to DJ sets that are programmed at home on my computer all day and that’s lovely. But not when I’m at a festival in Detroit wanting to hear and see inspiring things. To top it off, her selection was not notable. Erika, however, was fascinating. She played a live set. I’m a fan of hers. She has a new release.

Come and visit Detroit anytime. This city loves visitors, loud music, and general weirdness. Weird does good here.

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Detroit will always inspire me to write.

05.28.13 | Permalink | Comment?


Dan Sicko’s signature on the wall of Somewhere in Detroit.


I’ll just leave that up for a while. Next up, my festival review.

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Awesomeness Description, Record Label

The Birth of House Music

07.14.12 | Permalink | 1 Comment
Jerome Derradji Presents 122 BPM –The Birth Of House Music
Format: 3CD Boxset, DLP, D12”
Label: Still Music
Release Date: June 2012
Distributed by Rubadub

I like to give you the details. You know how I love data. This is an exciting compilation. Any kind of historical collection of information and sound based on a localized story gets my brain and heart in motion. If the compiled story documents Black music from the Midwest that’s a little bit weird, I get even more worked up. House music is something that I’ve known sonically for decades, but the people and details of Chicago are still coming to me. Thanks to Jerome Derradji, Thomas Cox, and Jacob Arnold, I’m digging the details. Jerome, of Still Music, and Tom, of Infinite State Machine and Pittsburgh Track Authority, wrote the extensive liner notes for 122 BPM, and Jacob Arnold, of Gridface, made sure they had their shit straight. Between the three of them, I’m pretty sure you can trust there’ll be greatness.

The 3CD box set comes with a 28 page booklet documenting the history of Mitchbal and Chicago Connection Records.

122 BPM covers the story of Chicago dance music. Father and son, Nemiah Mitchell, Jr. (pictured above) and Vince Lawrence, brought dance music to the world in the early 1980s and we’re still trying to figure out how they thought of it. You know, when you’re a kid, and you find or hear something awesome and you think, how did they come up with that?! Yeah, that thought regularly crosses my mind. I’m trying to figure it out all the time.

Here’s Jesse Saunders, innovator of Chicago house. Jes’Say Records, a division of Mitchbal. And can we say, girl’s got a huge crush on 1983 Jesse Saunders? Big, lingering crush.

From 122 BPM:

“Nemiah Mitchell Jr. and Vince Lawrence couldn’t have known what their contribution to House music would become. Their story provides the missing Chicago link between soul, disco, new wave and then House, between the radio and club DJs and their audience, between the old generation and the new generation. This is the story of the first House records ever made – long before Trax or DJ International were even dreamt of.”

Here’s a taste of what you can hear on this compilation:

I got to see Jerome DJ in Detroit a few years ago in 2008 with Rick Wilhite, of Detroit, of course, and Karizma, from Baltimore. It was a well curated party. Detroit’s dancers showed up ready to groove. The selections were great, as expected. And I can’t resist telling you this one little story about the night. This is something that I’ve only seen in Detroit. Maybe it happens other places, but I’ve only witnessed it here. Here’s what I’m going to tell you: one DJ is playing records, and playing well, and another DJ steps up and turns knobs, adjusts the sound, taps the spinning record, manipulates the sound that is already being handled by another DJ. The first time I saw this happen, I kept watching for the reaction of the DJ already playing records. It could easily be taken the wrong way. It was at Bert’s in Detroit, February 2008, for a tribute party to the Electrifying Mojo, Detroit’s legendary radio disc jockey. At this party, it was not a problem. It was normal business. The DJs knew each other, and the mixer and spinning platters were not off limits to friendly DJs standing by. That is unusual and is a sign of solid collaboration and musical trust. Rick Wilhite did this to Jerome Derradji at the 2008 party I referenced above and it was quite interesting. Rick is awesome. We already knew that in 2008. Jerome is clearly awesome, as well. Sharing the decks with respect worked well for them that night. Jerome collaborates with Detroit producers both in business and on the decks. If this happens to you, please love it as a sign of respect.

Jerome was kind enough to answer some questions about his 122 BPM compilation.

Denise Dalphond: Still Music has some impressive releases in its catalog. Can you tell me how you first got started with the label? (Please click on this discogs link for Still Music so that you can be impressed.)

Jerome Derradji: Well, at the time I was managing sales and P&D deals for Chicago distributor Groove Distribution, and I wanted to run a label since I was a kid so I gained the confidence to get it started right there in 2004. My goal was to release music from artists that I believed were completely underrated and get them to collaborate on projects together so the world could know more about them.

DD: Still Music has clear connections with Detroit with releases by Amp Fiddler, Rick Wilhite, Paul Randolph, and Gerald Mitchell. Can you tell me about your links with Detroit?

JD: Detroit is really like my second home. Any music coming from Detroit has always been outstanding. Everybody I’ve met or worked with in Detroit is a true genius and a pioneer. I have a huge amount of respect for the Detroit scene, its energy and creativity. I remember all the parties I used to throw at the now defunct Fi Nite Gallery, the people in Detroit are true dancers and believers. It’s quite a magic city to me, it feels like family. With Amp, Rick, Gerald, Randolph there is a real synergy. All these guys are absolutely talented, kind and receptive to any projects that make sense to them.  Pretty much everybody I’ve met and/or worked with in Detroit has the same qualities. It is incredible to get to work with all these guys. I am a real fan of their music and they are really fun to be around with.

DD: How did you come to put this compilation together?

JD: I’ve always wanted to document the birth of house music in Chicago, the really early stuff, because that story isn’t really told here. I wanted to get to know and understand how it all started. I was lucky enough to meet some great people at Trax that introduced me to Vince Lawrence. Vince then introduced me to his dad Mitchbal. From there, it was pure historian work, getting all the tapes together, the great stories and making sense of it all. Mitchbal and Chicago Connection records were truly influential and groundbreaking and their story is really inspiring even 30 plus years later. Mitchbal and Vince are amazing guys and it is a blessing to have been able to work with them on this great project.

DD: Were there challenges in selecting and getting access to the music you have included on this release?

JD: There were many. First sorting all the tapes and identifying all the tracks was a lot of work. Transferring them and making sure the music was sounding great was also a big deal for us because we didn’t want to loose any recordings. Once all this was done, the selection was actually quite easy as some tracks were already classics. After all, I am a DJ too …

DD: Did you have a particular philosophy for this compilation? Was there a particular message or impact you intended for it?

JD: I think the intent was to give credit to the real pioneers of house music in Chicago, Mitchbal and Vince Lawrence,  and to make sure that their story was told without any editing. My goal was to also release it in a beautiful package with loads of pics and nicely remastered tracks. Because of the extent of the catalogues, there will be much more music released in the future on Still Music.

Oh my! Did you catch that? Did you? Extent. Catalogues. Music released. Future. How do I type the excited face I’m making right now???

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