Chicago, Day 4

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We have arrived to the last full day in this Windy City. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end it. In a few hours we will break bread with friends, a proper pot luck with creative types, families and Billie on the turntable. My friend is making two different pots of chili. One for the carnivores and one for the veggie heads. I’ll eat both. Some of the folx coming through I haven’t seen in a couple years. I’m looking forward to seeing these gals. They are kind, accepting, and just damn good people. I only want to be around those that get my weirdness, those that are complicated and dynamic enough to embrace their own level of weird. The best kind of people to know.

Last night was another late one. We got to smartbar around 12:30, guest list. As soon as we walked in the atmosphere was like Godzilla came up from underground and brought the edges into full view. If you’ve never been to a true “techno” party you might freak out a bit. Or think the devil had a birthday. It’s easy to think that. Once you let go of the borders put in place for society you start to get it though. It’s a ritual, being there says something about who you are. DJ Nobu plays some hard shit, sprinkled with drawn out psychedelic tones that flip your wig if you’re not mindful. I got lost in the sea of people and overdone smoke machine antics. Only complaint I had, way too much smoke machine dude. But it’s a vibe for the night. Old fashion rave culture done abundantly. I dig it. I said to one of my friends, “this fits my mood almost perfectly”. I’m in a spot these days, it’ll pass but dancing to hard techno is exactly what I needed, to be a freak in a pool of freaks. Plus, the desires of others radiating towards me was intense. I was stalked by a couple people, met a few others. I’m a tall dude wearing black so at times I look like I’m a bouncer or part of the team putting on the show. It’s funny, but a few dance shimmies’ and you’re in the community. I got down like I always do. I saw one of the most beautiful people I’ve seen in a long time. He was younger, short blonde hair, hoop earrings, just a pretty person. We walked by one another and made sharp eye contact, quick but deep. I felt love in that fluttering moment, or lust, who knows, it felt good. There were a few others I watched a bit, a beautiful black queen with short hair. Eyes like diamonds, subtle style, sexy – a woman. We exchanged glances several times. But I’m off the market. A self imposed hiatus from outside energy in my personal space – closed for remodeling. Right now I’m gonna love me, and make love to that space. I know how I like it. Throughout life we are required if vigilant to recharge ourselves. Its imperative to gain control of your set, create a new narrative for your growing self.

We came back to the crib, sipped a brew, played some hip-hop then crashed. Before we went to club everyone came to the house I’m crashing at, we drank wine, talked shit, took turns spinning house and techno. It was classic times. We dipped for some dinner at a soul food place a few short blocks away. I had the shrimp and grits, and then traded a bit for some fried chicken, the grub was fire. Period.

Walking in the cold air really saved my ass for the night. Blood flow, movement in the cold is a cure for just about anything dragging you down from no sleep. I’ve been quite mild in the intake this weekend.

I’d like to just get all gushy right now about how much I love my friends. Brothers – Twenty years and counting. You can’t ask for anything better. Nothing changes but each growing their own way, beautiful, intelligent, creative, and hilarious. We each bring a little different vibe to the group – Too soft, too hard, too goofy, too emotional. We all grown up now, kids, marriages, mortgages, big boy jobs, broke as fuck hustles. Personalities thick in opinions, culture – always some new knowledge being brought out. Everyone shares and looks out for one another. No drama, no bullshit…cuttin loose, hanging out. Then we do it again when we do. No pressure.

Friends, real ones. I love them.

Chicago, Day 3

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Studio day. We left the house around noon once we collected ourselves. I wasn’t feeling that creative to be honest but you show up no matter what and see if it comes. And it did. The space is in a five story building, alley entrance, most of which is rented out by other musicians and artists, walking the halls I chatted with a few people working in their spaces. My boys rental in on the top floor. Before we got there I was anticipating a sweat lodge from what I was hearing. Old building in the winter no windows where we were working. I was calling it the “keywest” studio. It was fine though. The other producer that works in the space has been producing and DJ’n for decades, well respected with his own imprint (label) under his belt along with gigs regularly around the world. I wasn’t nervous really, I respect the dude though so I wanted to bring something, anything. We worked for five hours, producing three tracks – house, techno, back to house. I played gear I’ve never heard of, lots of it, sang on two of the tunes, raw improvs, they were both on point and kept in the songs. Just getting over a cold my voice had a rasp to it which gave it warmth and edge. All three of us were weaving in and out of playing, directing the board, what worked or didn’t. I was the guest of the day so I got to really let loose and their support was unconditional. We talked a lot of shit too. Tons of knee slapping burns that were soft enough not to bruise. I love the North, it’s where I’m from. It’s speed and dialects are so fast and loud. Took me a few moments but I got some good shots in, but lots of love spreading between the homeboy chatter.

We had a lot of time to kill after that five hours. The club we would end the night at was 3-4 miles from the studio. My friend and I decided to walk the city. Stopping into a few spots to say hello to friends of his – bar owners, cafe owners, their people, others. We shares spirits and talked more shit. Had some grub at this new Greek spot my pal does nights throughout the year. Hung out with the owner, young cat into hip hop and house, big time. Met his wife, super nice and personable folx. From here we decided to keep walking to the club. It would be about 45 minutes. The weather was quite mild, wind chill brisk but giving vitality. We needed the pick me up.

The club was an extension of another bar I had DJ two summers ago. Super plush, curated to the max and packed. We got there right before my friends were going on. Over in the new club the DJ booth was up a level above the main floor. Behind the decks, a plush sofa, two big modern chairs, and two small round tables. Low lit candle lighting, small lights lining the back of the couch. That was ours for the night. More friends came – musicians, students, artists. The booth was made for 5-7 people comfortably, we had a steady 10 rotating throughout the night. We had three waitresses bringing drinks non stop, a few small plates to pass around. The boys were bumping deep house, classic house, and a few acid tracks – solid per usual. It was a laid back evening, just enough to catch up with people and hear good tunes. They were done around 2am.

We headed back home to play more music. By the time I went to sleep it was daytime. It had been awhile since we tagged vinyl so we did that for 3 hrs. Non stop laughs and goofing around, listening to old classics, and mixing quite good.

Woke up three hours after I went to bed. Not so good.

We are off on another adventure this evening. The original crew all in town. A reunion of sorts before our usual reunion in Detroit for movement weekend. Tonight is for techno at a place quite historic, smart they say. But we don’t leave for it until late. Yeah, I’m taking another hot shower after my 2nd nap.

Im feeling pretty raw. The last year has been mentally taxing to say the least. But this weekend is about being safe with the family I helped create. Not for the past, but now, and beyond.

My close friends are all here. Time to go!

 

 

 

 

Weirdo Coma Blues

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We drown out life mechanisms with just about anything; booze, drugs, herbal remedies to help us sleep, or over sleep in my case these last weeks. Why am I writing if there’s nothing to say? What is within the meaning of my lack of thoughts, or is the truth in what too many thoughts have become? Mostly, I’ve stunned my brain to the point of a tideless water. Theres a ripple, an undercurrent of energy forcing bubbles to the top, but nothings clear. I see the outlines of a shell in front of some transference. The zig-zag daydreams high as ever before. A Liquid recurring arm wiggling in the air, it’s a dance of roots and motion.

The boy was told not to touch the fence protecting those horses, so he grabbed it anyway. He yelled out a scream, a shock, he fell back knowing it was he who caused it. He was 12 years old. The leisure lost in a new world finding himself grabbing an electrical current in the middle of a farm, close to his new home he was forced into. The sun was shining behind the tall weeds and grass, the time of day where you see whats in the air you’re breathing, and you get a clear view of nature doing its work. In every direction, the lush green buttressed tightly to the dirt roads of an older time, the bumps of which he could hear in the form of a pickup truck, shaking as it drove to and from his new world. The greatest hits tapes of Steve Miller Band swirling the ether like the invisible faces that form from clouds. He like now, was alone with his thoughts, a beautiful freedom protected him from expectation on his walks. Who was he and did it matter? The sense of needing to stay busy, but knowing it was just an excuse not to feel who he really was. A boy in the country about to change his whole direction in life. He would throw down forced habits from his old upbringing. But it would be a journey with no intention, just life, just moving and becoming through experiences. And he was fat, and in his new reality, there was no place for the pitiful lard asses of the world. Get off the couch and move around the apples that have naturally fallen, and are now rotting on the ground, or go hunting for birds and almost kill your brother, but don’t be fat you fucking fatty with little man boobs, your chin line looks like the thighs of a truck driver. Deep Breath…

Feel this pain or happiness, understand the destruction, roll around in the filth of the weak voice telling you to run away from it, be a pig. The only faith I have is that the longer I touch this wire the closer to transcendence I will find. It’s not a mistake if you mean it, it just might kill you. The belief is firm in the visions of transcendence. Will you hate and love for the betterment of you and them? In a relationship you can see the escape routes in between you and your friends, or your lovers. If you’ve went beyond yourself at all, you know how to blow up your scene pretty quickly. The reasons behind this are important. Socially they give us the guidelines of how to act with each other. There are certain tendencies in all of us, you can see them clear in mannerisms, tonality of voice, the way your eyes look down and your left shoulder turns to the right (just slightly) and you reveal a little “tell” within the uncomfortable dogmas you put forth in a persona. This is as real as anyone can be in a day, most of the time. Even those of us who profess an honesty to the world about ourselves have a deeper point, the depth of which is almost out of reach. There’s no map to it, and when you get there through expression you’ll most likely be dead or too dismantled in exhaustion from your own weathered trip.

We pulled up to the house around 11pm. It was a big birthday bash our crew was throwing for me. I was in my early 20s. My cousin (RIP) lived in the student ghetto on Normal Ct. It was a narrow dead-end street lined up with old houses, its symbols stark to me now. During the day we’d chill out chain-smoking cigarettes, joints, sipping cans of scwill, while we doodle in the mind for a plan to party, or an adventure riding thin lines of safety. We yearned for any decent idea to be absent from elapsing time. Grab the youth and mash that shit like you’ll never eat again. We didn’t know it, but this would (in a sense) be the last big moment for us, not this party, but this area, this epoch of togetherness was on it way to division. We don’t talk anymore, and some are dead.

As soon as I got out of the car, the smell of smoke, porch laughter, and music engulfed my body. A sensory tingle, the invisible lizard came out of his shelter and crawled up the back of my neck; that orgasmic feeling which props up your follicles for a second. It binges and blossoms as it slithers over spine and vibrates the blood. Autonomous sensory meridian response . We were there earlier to set up the party, and then went record shopping up about an hour away. I don’t recall who was with me, but I’m sure it was another cousin of mine, they were everywhere. When you get to a party you’re throwing, playing, or simply attending, the first thing you do is head for the DJ booth. For one, you want to see how the party feels, walk through it inviting the eyes on you, hearing the sounds bounce off the walls and the organs gathering inches apart. You wanna inhale all of it, focus in on the beams bouncing, heads angling while the mouths churn. The energy is endless and the settings have to fit the moment, they have to be close to the right spot for everyone, or it’s a shitty party.

The placement of the DJ, speakers, seating areas, dance floor, lighting, etc, are all strategic, or should be in order to garner the most effective response. Attendees might not speak of it all that much, but their experience is a manifestation of someone else’s before this one. The whole scope of this moment is tied to another, and that one to another. The kinetic mapping is not an accident, it’s a coming of age synthesis, that s seasoned, sculpted, and swallowed for the masses to transcend into another version of itself. It’s about as close to “GOD” as I’ve been (aside from watching birth), and not because of the drugs (although they’re really fun), but its evolution in a product made by man, from the raw fruits of natures gift in emotions.  All the operations moving like machines to expel a sensory in the visions of nature. Your body moves and twists with an endless delivery of meaning, you can’t catch it the whole time, but the seconds are similar to ASMR. The only requirement is let yourself become it, to let yourself transcend the restrictions that aren’t real, they’re just a smoke to blind you off the true traverses of your life. Next time you walk in any room, throw your mind above your head and look down at how you move amongst all the sounds. You can do this anywhere because music is existence.

We have fallen into the place where everything is music” ~ Rumi (translations from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks).

We weren’t drug dealers or gangsters, but it felt like that. When I walked into the house, I can’t recall how many people handed me gifts, gave me hugs, or stopped to chat. The girls were a plenty, even old hook ups that were in town, and wanted to reopen old wounds. As soon as I got down to the basement, one was in my ear immediately. The soft whisper tucked razor-thin amongst the heavy house music, I couldn’t hear anything but “lets fuck again”. Which was a definite possibility but I had to mingle, and play a few records. So like a brush of dust, off a table, I kept walking, letting the party sway me into the center part of it as I kissed her cheek and said “get at you in a minute sweetie”. Our history spinning in my head, how she seduced me into sex when I was her man’s close friend, all played like gears on a VHS tape. Her breasts were in my top 5 of all time, no doubt. But I wasn’t sold on going back there. Plus, my girlfriend (RIP) was upstairs so there was a logistical dynamic involved. All of this wrapped my brain in a time frame of about 30 seconds. Then I was passed her and I forgot about it all, aside from a few moments of making eye contact, and debating the fling once boredom and drunkenness set in hours later. The music was loud, and the heat warming just beyond comfortable.

This was an old school party. The Michigan rave scene ain’t shit unless it’s in an environment that’s unfinished, with a cross between “I’m on drugs and happy, but whose that weird motherfucker throwing eyes my way”. For me at least, it was always pay attention but indulge, in aura of color atoms splitting with demons, all of it falling from the space above you at a pace unmeasurable by time. What else would you expect from a large gathering of people fucked up and wanting to escape the normalcy that life was trying to shackle them with? Take a room filled with horny youths, not giving a damn about much, mix that with misunderstanding, burnt bridges, and a few broken hearts, and you got a recipe for something expired. So it can’t last long, but in the beginning its communal, and beautiful. And we held it long enough before the whole thing blew up and spun out into another suckers orbit.

All these memories recently popped up like a blown transponder in the armpits of a vacant lot. I’m on the porch here in Tennessee, and the Fall is just on the outskirts knocking on summers wet pussy. What’s next is unimportant. I’m armed with my own history and the weirdo coma blues has its hand firmly fixed in the blood cells, it too will fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAKE IT FIT PUSHES TECHNO IN UTAH

There was a time when I tried to hide from my love of Techno and House music. I came up in it, most likely learned how to produce because of it. In the last ten years I’ve attended Detroit’s famous Electronic Music Festival a handful of times. The best part is always being with my crew, no doubt. But there’s something else to it, a sudden tickle of the stomach, as if I’m nervous or too excited. I get so damn happy when I hear the music. So much so that it feels like there’s a soft grip on my neck throughout the festival, guiding me to the places I can boogie down. Or its just my boy Logan telling me we’re bouncing. Anyway, all my guys are producers, and DJs. I can’t begin to express how proud I am to see they’re still doing their thing, and they’re really good at it.

Make it Fit from Salt Lake City, Utah is one of those friends. And he’s releasing new DJ mixes regularly that you need to hear. Not to mention playing out like a monster, and sticking largely to his ever growing vinyl collection. Which, in todays standard of “auto sync” should be widely appreciated. And I have to admit, he’s one of my favorite DJs to date. He really plays a unique deck, especially when you see him live. He’s always cutting into his tracks to find all the meat for his mixes, but he makes the sounds blend quick, and thats the gem of his technique. Total stud on the decks, dance floors a different story. LOL!

You can catch Make It Fit’s monthly residency at one of Salt Lake’s Dopest venues, The Red Door. Go to his Soundcloud for more bump.