Spring, as I’m sure you’ve garnered from the warm weather and flower-powered Ross commercials, has sprung, and a new crop of CDs have landed on the Artsweek desk in ripe abundance. Now’s the time to take a good, hard look at your current collection, weed out the stupid selections, sell them back to Morninglory and replenish your mind, body and soul with the best in electronic delights. Get ready for summer listening with Artsweek‘s guidance.
Erick Morillo | Subliminal Sessions One | Subliminal
Oh, man, is this CD good. Subliminal Sessions One is a funky mix of bright, happy house from Erick Morillo with a distinct, uplifting Chicago-house vibe. I must admit, when I first received this CD I was so annoyed that the promotional copy didn’t have breaks between tracks that I put it in a separate pile to check out later. Good thing I finally gave it a real listen. Not even into the third track of the first disc, I knew this would become a favorite summer disc. Sure, there are some corny moments when Erick Morillo treads into campier memories of disco glory. But he also isn’t afraid to tread into the more beautiful areas of disco, tribal and hard house, and the entire album culminates in an amazing expression of the power and sheer fun of house.
Fred Everything | Under the Sun | Turbo
In the last few months, Artsweek has received a stack of releases from Turbo but has sadly neglected to get them reviewed. Although everything we’ve received has been above par, Under the Sun stands out like a well-manicured thumb. Luscious, deep house awaits this album’s listener. Although the album has a few solid, stand-out tracks, the whole album plays like an easy, breezy night at a club: relaxing and refreshing!
Max Graham | Transport 4 | Kinetic
One can’t help but wonder why trance has had the perverse effect on mainstream music listeners that it has. After Paul Oakenfold’s Tranceport launched in 1998, thousands of new kids donned baggy pants and flooded the gates of any rave near you, and not just because dealers were finally selling real ecstasy. Transport 4, the fourth in the same series that launched Oakenfold’s career, if not trance, features up-and-coming deejay Max Graham, a big name in Canada but practically unheard of here. Transport 4 showcases his subtle, infectious sound and smooth mixing skills, so chuck those stupid, generic trance mixes you thought you’d like, and replace it with this two-disc album instead.
Gavin Hardkiss | Through Rose Tinted Glasses | Shadow
Make no mistakes – this is a brilliantly mixed house album from one of San Francisco’s most innovative deejays. Here, he takes records originally released on the Sunburn label and throws together a kaleidoscope of sounds, rhythms and ideas. Through Rose Tinted Glasses, as he puts it on the back of the CD, mixes “obscure house, Chicano hip hop, pirelli breaks, dreamy drum ‘n’ bass, tex-mex electro, sensitive white boy music and booty shakin’ funk.” In other words, it’s eclectic, but it’s damn good.
Nicola Conte | Bossa Per Due | Eighteenth Street Lounge
In true Eighteenth Street Lounge fashion, Italy’s own Nicola Conte explores the outer reaches of ’60s soundtracks, beat jazz, rare soul and Brazilian sounds. He’s long been a favorite destination of renowned taste-makers like Gilles Peterson, and now releases his first ever full-length album. A perfect album for sipping Krystal in your front yard on a Saturday afternoon soaking in the sun and dreaming of glamorous lands.
Hive | The Raw Uncut EP | Celestial
Hive’s approach to drum ‘n’ bass has always made him more an innovator than an imitator. Yet, while subtly pushing boundaries of the genre’s often-static walls, his sound always manages to fit right into the genre’s current context. It’s no surprise that his latest EP offers up more of the same dirty, raw breaks and beats.
Act Globally, Think Locally
So maybe all these previously mentioned artists hail from regions all over the world. So what? Sure, your dollar helps feed the struggling deejays and artists, but you owe yourself and your music community support as well. Beatnix Labs, a local Santa Barbara record label, will soon be releasing Bassplugger: Beatnix-002, a follow-up to the aptly named Bassplugger: Beatnix-001 (released in January). If you desire to hear their unique tech-meets-funk soundscapes live, you can check them out the second Friday of every month on KCSB 91.9 FM at midnight during msb’s “Hypnotic States” show. KCSB offers seven shows they dub “electric,” so get the Spring 2001 program guide and turn in to turn on.
When you’re not listening to our local deejays play their favorites over the airwaves (and if you’re over 21), be sure to head downtown where more electronic pleasures await. Here’s a brief list of a few local favorites that are not only fun but also spotlight our own local talent.
Thursdays. “The ZOO,” brought to us almost every week at Zelo, offers both outstanding, big-name deejays (Donald Glaude, Angel Alanis and Charles Feelgood have all played the small venue) as well as featuring local deejays on the outside patio spinning everything from house to drum ‘n’ bass. Plus, it’s the only 18+ place in town. 630 State St. Or, you can join Isla Vista’s own Todd, Rick Jones and JB, who – in addition to running I.V.’s only record shop – bring loud, fun house into Madhouse, 434 State St.
Fridays. Deejays Manabu and Inti bring chilled-out hip hop, downtempo and the occasional rare soul record into Elsie’s low-key, off-the-beaten-path environment. 117 W. De La Guerra St.
Saturdays. “Therapy,” every other Saturday night, puts Santa Barbara’s biggest deejay, Calvin, behind the decks and ensures that its loyal patrons can flaunt their “very importantness,” even if such V.I.P.ers are simply bartenders and not, say, Jay-Z or anything. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to be in the food service industry to enjoy the night. “Therapy” takes place again on June 2. 423 State St.