Category archives: Producer

  • At The James Baldwin School in Chelsea, AFP's program is in its 3rd year, offering after school digital audio production, musical instrument instruction and performance coaching. Students range from 9th to 12th grade and come to the program with a variety of individual goals in mind. The sessions vary, and participants usually work individually or in small groups.The class combines a combination of elements which are often going on simultaneously. One group may be learning how to sequence beats to a metronome track on one computer, while another student is involved in the more advanced stages of a fully fleshed out track on the next. At the same time a vocal duo may be working out harmonies to a rock ballad, while others are learning how to build scales and chords on the piano. In all cases, the fundamentals of music making are uncovered and explored. The focus is always on building a working musical vocabulary and developing the ability to use music for self-expression.This year at Baldwin I have seen remarkable progress on every front. Beat-makers have progressed from struggling at playing simple kick and snare patterns, to building complete tracks and having their friends rap over them. Drummers who had never played a drum-set maintain a groove behind a full band. I’m especially impressed with Reshwan and Katana who had never met before. Within a few short months they have  become a powerful cohesive duet act eagerly learning the theory to support their development[...]
  • I recently had the distinct pleasure of compiling an oral history of the seminal underground New York club Better Days, a ’70s and ’80s contemporary of spots like the Paradise Garage—though Better Days was much smaller and, possibly because of that, less lauded. (You can read that piece in full here, on the Red Bull Music Academy website.) One of the main interviewees for the article was Bruce Forest, an iconic DJ (and later, prolific producer) who was on the Better Days decks throughout most of the ’80s. (In the ’70s, the late, great Tee Scott ran the show.) Forest has a great memory and is a fantastic teller of tales—but, for reasons of space and clarity, some of his best stories had to be omitted from the history. So we figured, why not share a couple of his best ones here?Loleatta Holloway This story concerns how the inimitable disco diva Loleatta Holloway’s between-song patter became one of the most ubiquitous samples in dance music history. It was all Forest’s (accidental) fault.Bruce Forest: “It was not easy to have live performances there. It was a very, very hard room to do live sound in; it was a round room with tons of bass. But we would do it sometimes anyway. Jocelyn Brown probably performed there seven oreight times. And there was Lolleata Holloway. She was one nasty woman when she wanted to be. And she was big; she could have easily kicked the shit out of me. Anyway, when she performs, she does five or six songs, but in between the songs, s[...]
  • Yes, we’re almost two weeks into 2015, so please forgive the lateness of this list—we’re just now recovering from a great New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day spent with the Bunker and 718 Sessions crews. But it’s never too late to support the home team, right? In the underground-clubbing realm, the fact that there’s been so much great music created by Gotham artists and/or released on local labels over the past twelve months is another sign of the scene’s strength—and really, we would could have made this a Forty Fave NYC Tracks list without breaking a sweat. But, for now, let’s go with the five below—click on the images to hear the tracks. Enjoy!Siren “Gauntlet” Compost There’s a windswept feel to “Gauntlet, ”the long-awaited first fruits of a studio partnership between Metro Area’s Darshan Jesrani and the Disques Sinthomme label’s Dennis Kane. It might be the majestic guitar chords, or the wailing vocals (from Apollo Heights’ Daniel Chavis), or the cut’s spacious arrangement and willingness to take its time to get wherever it’s going. Whatever it is, the song is something of an overlooked modern classic. And holy crap, does that pumping bassline hit the spot! There’s a fine remix from London groove machine Ray Mang that tightens up the song’s feel a bit—he basically houses it up, toughening up the rhythm and accentuating the acid bleep, giving it an added sense of urgency. But for our money, the sprawling original does the trick just fine.https://www.youtube.com/watch?[...]
  • Welcome to We Learn Dances, an occasional series on the people, parties and (most of all) music that make clubland the wonderful place it is. The focus will be on the slightly more refined, artistically oriented end of the nightlife spectrum—yes, such a thing exists, believe it or not—rather than on the superficial pleasures afforded by either the bottle-service scene or the EDM world. At least, that’s the plan.We’re kicking the series off with a man who’s intimately familiar with the concept of sophisticated dance music, Dennis “Citizen” Kane. He’s been an integral part of NYC’s nightlife since the mid-’90s, when the Philly transplant hit NYC and established himself in the underground scene as one of its most knowledgeable DJs; since then, he’s since played scores of venues across the city and around the world. He’s established a pair of respected record labels: Disques Sinthomme, which has released a wide range of work featuring the likes of Max Essa, the Beat Broker, Liquid Liquid’s Sal Principato and Richard “Padded Cell” Sen, and an edit imprint, Ghost Town, which has seen contributions from Brennan Green and Bicep, among many other notables. He’s a talented producer himself, with material out on such respected labels as Tummy Touch, Ubiquity and Adult Contemporary (track down his mix of Yagya’s “Rigning Sjö” on that last label—it’s killer.) His website, dsgtnyc.com, hosts a rather amazing podcast that’s featured sets from such international stars as DJ Harvey, Prins[...]