Saturday, April 28, 2012

Seasonal Tunes Mix Series Vol. 11 "spring 2012"

YAWWWWWN!... This guy has been hibernating! Spring has officially sprung and I'm back to give you a taste of some of my favorite tunes from the past 6 months or so. Apologies for my dormant nature during the winter time. I was finding myself in front of my turntables less and less, but after a new mixer purchase (Rane Empath) and a new living room arrangement I've been much more active in playing/buying records.

Mixing this seasonal tunes was truly exciting, I found that things came together quite naturally this time around. Sometimes I have to cut tunes that I don't want to just for the sake of making the mix fluent. This time around I found things much easier and surprising. Let's talk about some of the highlights! 

Starting things off with Tropics "Mouves" was essential. I knew this was the opener the second I started working on this mix. The song is visual: a cloudy, dreamy, weightless flight. Chris Ward, a young talented multi-instrumentalist is responsible for nearly every piece of sound on his colorful debut full-length album Parodia Flare (planet-mu). "Mouves" is a shining example of the rest of album, highly recommended! I get into a little afro-vibe after this with tunes from Four Tet, TEED, and a cool, dancehall afro-beat remix by Daphni (Dan Snaith/Caribou). Clark releases a brilliant new album Iradelphic which in his own words is, "looming, ambiguous, radiant. Glowing, whole, invincible, complete." "Secret" jumps back and forth into a 3 dimensional listening soundscape from a present female vocal to deeper rhythmic backing vocals then huge shuffling drums and growling synths all held together by an almost brazilian guitar melody. I really love the way this dives even deeper mixing into Jamie Woon's "Blue Truth," immediately follwed by a monster of a tune "Dive Summers" produced by former Good Looking Records artist Blu Mar Ten. "While You Dooooo" by Teebs was one of my single favorite tracks of 2011. There is something very specific about where this track resounds in my head. Sure it's dreamy and a bit repetitive but Teebs knows something that other beatmakers can't touch. There is an organic element to his music that I really connect with, where other cats just seem to keep making cold digital/analog rackets. Jumping ahead in the mix, fellow label-mate on Brainfeeder Lapalux is making some serious racket right now. I really wanted to play "Moments" off the When You're Gone EP but something about his (beatless) take on Fink's "Perfect Darkness" that somehow IS a perfect darkness. It's so moody. I love it. 

Looking back at the cover art for this and having relinquished my desire for naming these seasonal tunes mixes, I realize that the context, the feeling that these songs evoke are what define the period in time where I really HEAR this music. There is something blooming about all of the songs on this mix. They are all desperate to break the surface, undulating energy turns into bright colorful pieces. "Swing Star" by disco/balearic genius Todd Terje is the perfect example of this. The tempo change about halfway through the mix really woke me up too.  The energy carries on into Modeselektor's unhinged "Blue Clouds." It's one of those songs that could just keep building for 20 minutes and I'd still be teetering on the edge. Towards the end of the mix you'll find more warming and textured pieces like Balam Acab's "Motion" and "Daniel" from Twin Sister which mix together beautifully. Also don't miss full length albums from John Talabot and Tanlines both have been on heavy rotation and helped wrap up the mix as closing songs.

BONUS. New video from Tanlines!

Thanks for listening and I hope this turns out to be an essential soundtrack to your Spring!

DOWNLOAD HERE (right click... save as)


tropics - mouves
four tet - pinnacles
totally enormous extinct dinosaurs - waulking song
cos ber zam - ne noya (daphni mix)
jonti - red on green
clark - secret
jamie woon - blue truth
blu mar ten - dive summers
when saints go machine - parix
teebs - while you dooooo (extended)
atlas sound - te amo
bullion - what does she know
todd terje - swing star (part 1)
modeselektor - blue clouds
fink - perfect darkness (lapalux beatless remix)
balam acab - motion
twin sister - daniel
neon indian - polish girl
john talabot - journeys (ft. ekhi)
tanlines - yes way

::mixed live on 4.7.11::

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Underwater Creatures setlist

 For those of you who don't know, I hold a monthly event at The Charleston in Bucktown called Underwater Creatures. Every second Thursday of the month catch me diving deep for sunken treasures. This month we celebrated the birthday of lovely bartender extraordinaire Sara Voden. As you can see below, good times were had. See you next year on 1.12.12!

tracklist 12.08.11:

dexter wansel - life on mars
bomp - disco power
recloose - electric sunshine
jonti - nightshift in blue
daedelus - make it so
caribou - the snow capes
aphex twin - bucephalus bouncing ball
telefon tel aviv - 8 track project cut
jimmy edgar - inner citee color reprise
maurice fulton - naoka's f
spacek - la bougie feat. mpho skeef
gb interprets the beach boys - i just wasn't made for these times
thundercat - is it love?
james pants - ka$h
subtle - f.k.o.
ms. john soda - by twos
the stepkids - shadows on behalf
poets of rhythm - smilin' (why you're crying)
weather report - 125th street congress
pharcyde - passin' me by
a tribe called quest - bonita applebum
de la soul - say no go (say no dope mix)
stetsasonic - all that jazz
kurtis blow - the breaks
man parrish - hip hop, be bop (don't stop) (extended remix)
midnight star - operator
egyptian lover - alezby inn
mr. fingers - can you feel it
george kranz - trommeltanz (din daa daa)
j.j. fad - supersonic
jonzun crew - we are the jonzun crew
new order - confusion
jenny burton - rock steady (dub)
stevie wonder - happy birthday [happy birthday sara!!]
luther ingram - oh baby don't you weep
the upsetters - popcorn
bob marley & the wailers - simmerdown
the skatalites - malcolm x
the specials - nite klub
willi bobo - spanish grease
perez prado - mambo no. 5
os mutantes - a minha minina
up bustle & out - los locos cubanos
hu vibrational - mirto (hu vibrational mix)
piano overlord - stay home
four tet & rothko - rivers become oceans

The Charleston
2076 N. Hoyne
Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 23, 2011

RIP François Barmès - Alsatian proponent of Bio-Dynamics

We are shocked and terribly sad to hear about the sudden passing of François Barmès. After visiting Domaine Barmès-Buecher last summer it was clear that his wines are some of the very best in Alsace and more so the world. François Barmès was more than a winemaker, you could feel his presence in a room. His unyielding devotion to bio-dynamics as expressed in his custom built cellar, satellite control vineyard, and ultimately in his fervent gestures, are in inspiration to look further into the connection between man, nature, and beyond. I'm truly grateful to have enjoyed the hospitality of him and his lovely wife Geneviève. Our thoughts are with the Barmes-Buecher family. The legacy of François will live on through his wines. RIP
read more about the estate here @ wine terroirs

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seasonal Tunes Mix Series Vol. 10 "summer eyes"

Here comes the HEAT... Summer jams in effect. Squash Blossoms. Stuff 'em (i like buffalo mozz & anchovy). Fry 'em (yeah, tempura). Jumping right in: SBTRKT! I finally found out that you are (to no surprise) Aaron Jerome. I've always been a fan of your versatility and squeaky clean production, your work as SBTRKT is no different on the self titled full length out now on Young Turks. "Never Never" is easily a fav and I knew it was going to be my opener right when I heard it. Keeping the pan HOT with "Bricks" and Big K.R.I.T.'s theme song, part of his entirely self produced album (!) Return of 4eva. The whole thing is great, grab it, it's FREE. This is the first seasonal tunes where I drop drum & bass. I began my djing career in 1999 desperately scrambling to buy up the hottest dnb tracks before my friends did where we all ended up playing for each other anyways at Top Cats in Cincinnati. Marcus Intalex was almost always an automatic buy for me. To this day he's still producing quality spacey rollers: "Celestial Navigation" has been on heavy rotation for the past few months. In a truly serendipitous mix, the new Björk single "Crystalline" blends perfectly. HEAVY rinse out at the end is serious business... Gondry killed video too.
Gloss Drop from Battles is their new release on Warp, "Sweetie & Shag" featuring Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead is a head-nodder. Summertime so far has been great for doing everything humanly possible but sometimes I'm happiest laying around in the park doing nothing... right Tom Vek? I'm sorry but Jamie xx's remix of Adele's super-hit "Rolling in the Deep" is the fucking JAM. I had to put it on despite the fact it came out in January. Besides, it sounds way better now than it did then. John Talabot is putting out some seriously good tracks right now and his latest podcast on XLR8R is amazing. "Families" featuring Glasser has been one of my favorite tracks of the summer so far. It sounds what it feels like to have the late afternoon sun in your eyes. The last bit of the mix I sped up the tempo starting with Junior Boys EPIC dance floor instant-classic "Banana Ripple" and Joakim's remix of Mitzi's "India" mixed so well with Zomby's "Natalia's Song." Like a warm starry night, and in light of the dnb debut on seasonal tunes, Photek closes things out with FaltyDL on the eerily beautiful remix.

DOWNLOAD HERE (right click... save as)


SBTRKT - Never Never
S-x - Bricks
Big K.R.I.T. - R4 Theme Song
Curren$y - You See It
Dorian Concept - Thank You All The Time Forever
Bibio - Don't Summarise My Summer Eyes*
Tokimonsta - Little Pleasure (feat. Gavin Turek)
Marcus Intalex - Celestial Navigation (feat. S.P.Y.)
Björk - Crystalline
Battles - Sweetie & Shag (feat. Kazu Makino)
Tom Vek - We Do Nothing
Panda Bear - Drone
Adele - Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)
John Talabot - Families (feat. Glasser)
Washed Out - Amor Fati
The Morning Benders - Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)
Pictureplane - Body Mod
Junior Boys - Banana Ripple
Mitzi - India (Joakim Remix)
Zomby - Natalia's Song
Photek - Sleepwalking (feat. Linche - FaltyDL remix)

*cheers to bibio for the name idea

Saturday, July 16, 2011

52 Portraits w/Jay Schroeder

My Buddy Jay Schroeder is easily one of the most talented photographers that I know. Between him and his (also very talented and lovely) girlfriend Wendy, they take such beautiful and well lit shots. Both of them so good at capturing people in their element. As you'll see here, they somehow managed to catch me in mine. I was, to say the least, flattered by his interest in shooting me for his blog 52 portraits. A blog where he features a new subject every week for an entire year. Ambitious. I know how hard it is  because I can barely keep up with writing mine! p.s. I still intend on writing about my recent travels through Spain & France so stay tuned! Anyways go here to his blog to read about the details of the shoot at Websters.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apricot-Celery Whiskey Sour

When I think about mixology and the countless possibilites for combination of flavors, I find myself almost always crafting simple(r) drinks that lean towards ingredient-driven flavors rather than crazy combinations of spirits to create new ones. I believe that certain seasonal ingredients tailor to different spirits and, most importantly, I rarely use more than 3 distinct flavors. A few combinations I've used in the past:
  • Concord Grape - Tequila - Averna
  • Hibiscus - Rum - Winter Spices
  • Lavender - Sage - Orange - Gin
  • Kumquats - Rye - Sesame
  • Watermelon - Tequila - Yellow Chartreuse - Black Pepper - Cilantro (ok that was a lot of ingredients)
  • Fennel - Gin - Elderflower
  • Pomegranate - Cinnamon - Cognac - Rosewater
  • Plum - Rum - Sassafras
  • Caraway - Orange - Celery - Vodka
CELERY. There is something about Celery in cocktails that I just freaking love. I keep bugging my buddy Paul @ The Whistler that we need to come up with something together. My home bar has thinned out through the past 2 years because I am no longer doing cocktail menus but I tend to pick up various liqueurs in my travels. One of them being a stellar apricot liqueur I purchased in Austria in 09 which I've been eyeballing recently. When my friend Sara said she was coming down from Milwaukee this past weekend I knew I had to bust out something for our routine "Sunday Cocktails." Apricot kinda works with gin, it's really good with tequila, but smokes with whiskey. After picking up some KV, one of my fav small batch bourbons, I made a celery simple syrup and got to work:

2 oz Kentucky Vintage Bourbon
1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Apricot Liqueur
½ oz Celery Syrup
½ an egg white
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Orange Bitters
muddled apricot & celery

(add all ingredients & dry shake to incorporate egg white before adding ice)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lyon Hall Farm Diner: Strawberry!!

Back in February I was invited by my good friends Emily & Andy to visit D.C. and host an event at Lyon Hall where Andy is the head chef along with pastry chef Rob Valencia. I'd been wanting to visit since they opened the Alsatian influenced brasserie a little over a year ago. My passion for Alsatian cuisine runs deep so I didn't hesitate at the opportunity to finally make it and help out with one of their incredible seasonally focused dinners held every month. Eager to take The Pickled Tomato on TOUR I got crackin' on the menu with Andy. After hearing word of early strawberries in April, I was enthusiastic to meet the challenge of pairing wine with the bright tart little monsters. My first instinct was to pair wines with just a touch of residual sugar, perceived ripeness, or in beer's case, a malty backbone. After going back and forth a few times with Chef Andy I started to pin down the pairs. It was a bit of a challenge to try and pair stuff up from 600 miles away. Conceptually I think a lot of my ideas made sense after bouncing ideas off a few of my colleagues here in Chicago, but I had no idea if they would work once the food was plated and in front of the diners. For me, that's ended up being the most fun part about the event. Having the chance to walk around the room and get plenty of constructive feedback from everyone. I believe in candid criticism when it comes to food and cheers to everyone of the diners for diving in head first with me!

Last year I was in Alsace with the Webster's crew and I'll never forget one particular dinner following a 50+ wines power tasting with Pierre Gassmann from Domaine Rolly-Gassmann. Dehydrated, famished, & palette-fatigued we showed up for our reservation at La Bacchante. Not even 5 minutes after sitting down coupes of crémant appear in front of us, strawberries dancing amongst the ribbons of bubbles. This not only slaked our thirsts, but it woke us (and our palettes) right up. I just knew I had to share this apértif experience with the diners of Lyon Hall. Biodynamically produced from 11th generation winemaker Gerard Boesch, the Domaine Leon Boesch Crémant d'Alsace (50% Pinot Blanc, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Riesling) served as the perfect vehicle alluding to the berry blitz ahead.

First Course: La Quercia proscuitto/macerated strawberries/pistachio/aged balsamic.

Pairing: Dios Baco Amontillado, Jerez, Spain.

I have to say that I was very confident in this pairing knowing how well salty ham works with sherry, especially amontillado. The balsamic lended to the complex secondary notes developed by the layer of flor yeast used in the making of this particular style of sherry. What was most intriguing, for me, was the length of the finish of the amontillado and how it was perfectly integrated with the pistachio. The harmony of the finish with the last bite stuck around all the way up until the next course. Some folks weren't as enamored as me by the pairing but admittedly weren't all that familiar or comfortable with sherry in general. I was very impressed with the diner's efforts and capability to start off a tasting with an amontillado! Cheers to you all!

Second Course: scallop ceviche/ginger/strawberry/sake

Pairing: Kiuchi Brewery, Hitachino Nest "Ginger Brew," Japan

My first instinct for this pairing was definitely beer knowing how well it goes with the classic Peruvian dish. Typically wine & ceviche don't work because of the excess of acidity. Originally I wanted to do a saison, The Lost Abbey "Red Barn Ale" came to mind. Brewed with ginger, grains of paradise and a nice malty backbone I thought this would be perfect, however, I was unable to source the beer before the event. After arriving in D.C. David, the beer director at Lyon Hall, came to me with the suggestion for using the (on-hand) Hitachino Ginger Brew... "YES!" "PERFECT," I exclaimed. I was also familiar with this beer, knowing it had a richer malty note, brewed with plenty of ginger, and would compliment the element of ginger in the dish nicely. Also the Hitachino would allow for some continuity giving nod to the Japanese notes in the dish (i.e. sake). People really dug this pairing, as did I. Earlier in the day I picked up a similar style (as the red barn ale) saison from The Bruery just to give a quick comparison with the course, later confirming that the Hitachino "Ginger Brew" was perfectly serendipitous.

Third Course: roast duck breast/caramelized strawberries/amaretti/black pepper

Pairing: Christine et Joël Ménard 2009 'Les Copines Aussi' Gamay, Anjoy, Loire, France

Talk about a quaffer! Elaborated biodynamically and using native yeasts, this slick & juicy gamay for "The Girlfriends" was a true joy to pour for everyone. It's hand harvested from schisty soil, followed by a 5 day maceration of the grapes, 6 months in tank, then bottled without filtration or sulfites. Despite my spastic ramblings introducing this wine, I think the crowd was with me 100% on this one. I didn't think it was a knockout pairing but the ripeness of the fruit lent well to the richness and subtle sweetness of the nutty amaretti. The drinkability of the wine alone is what I think sells people on this particular bottling (me included), but I won't deny that ripe gamay and duck definitely work.

Fourth Course: housemade goat's cheese with herbs/strawberry-almond salad/lavender honey

Pairing: Domaine Marcel Deiss 2007 Pinot Gris, Bergheim, Alsace, France

One of the world's most charismatic proponents of biodynamics, Jean-Michel Deiss crafted a lavish, spicy and honey laced pinot gris in 2007. Even though Jean-Michel's main focus is the terroir based "premier crus," I think his varietal based wines are still very expressive and in this case work very well with food. This seemed to be the favorite pairing of many. I thought the almond in the dish was a touch overpowering to the wine but ultimately the textures here are really what set it all off. Deiss' wines consistently demonstrate exquisitely polished mouthfeel (except his pinot noir, of course, which is savage). The pasty goat cheese with the crunch of the almond and the tender give of the strawberry allowed for a fun pairing with the viscosity of the pinot gris. I decanted this an hour and a half before the course to make sure it was showing in all it's golden glory.

Fifth Course: strawberry custard napoleon/strawberry-apricot sorbet/oven-roasted strawberries

Pairing: Patrick Bottex 'La Cueille' Gamay, Bugey-Cerdon, Savoie, France

BUGEY! MORE GAMAY! MORE STRAWBERRIES! After introducing the wine to the group I settled back to my plate radiating with intense bright red strawberry color. I poured myself a glass of Bugey and took my first step into a full on ASSAULT of strawberries. I was so engulfed in strawberry flavor that I stepped back into the room to gush out: "I don't know about you guys but this is  strawberry OVERLOAD." I seem to recall a few laughs (somehow)... my geekiness can't help but show its face here. The pastry dough of the napoleon was perfect and I thought this worked well with the bubbles. The cru "Cerdon" within Bugey is entirely dedicated to sparkling wine and mostly made in method ancestrale which actually pre-dates method champenoise. In this case the wine is fermented up to about 5% abv then bottled with some of the sugars remaining. After bottling, the secondary fermentation takes place producing the bubbles and results in a delicious low-alcohol (i'd rather say "ripe" than sweet) rosé sparkler. In my opinion, a perfect end to a delicious meal. 

CHEERS to Chefs Andy & Rob, Mark, Andrew, Dave, all of the staff at Lyon Hall, and my dear friend Emily for giving me the opportunity to work with you all... it was a BLAST. Most of all, thank you to all of the diners for giving me so much wonderful feedback and creating, what I thought to be, a truly memorable dining experience.


(and a big shout to JC for never putting that camera down!)

Lyon Hall
1020 N Highland St
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 741-7636