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The Ritual of Packing a Record Bag: A Visit to a Local Record Shop

When preparing for a show the construction of a record bag is a paramount ritual. It forms the facility for the selector to provide an individual musical experience when they place themselves before the altar to perform. (The alter being the space where the turntables and mixer are located during a musical gathering.) The practice of music selection comes with a cultural responsibility of providing the listener with an informed sonic experience that is based in historical foundations and current compositions. Therefore the selector should employ a methodical procedure of selection when assembling their selections before a show. These packing methods can be as ordered or as dysfunctional as the selector chooses, what is important is that an engaging and singular musical experience is delivered.

This week as part of my own ritualistic custom I made a trip to Gramaphone Records over on Clark Street. I always find that the addition of new material adds an irreplaceable component of excitement in the construction of musical narratives. Plus it is important to support the local record emporiums that serve the community. Throughout the years Gramaphone has been a primary destination to fulfill every dance music junkies needs. I made my first pilgrimage to the original location when I was 14 and have been returning regularly for 25 years.

2843 N Clark Street

Gavin Russom’s latest release on L.I.E.S. lurking in the bins.

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One of the many groups of listening stations.

The shop has a long tradition of hiring a knowledgeable staff that is active in the field. During my visit I was able to catch up with M>O>S> recording artist Ike Release and Stripped and Chewed’s Garrett David who have both been putting in extended hours in their recording studios. After catching up with the lads I scoured the walls and scrutinized the bins in search of new releases to add to my continually growing vinyl library. After hours of critical listening I was supplied with a fist full of vinyl that is well suited for my sonic language. Here are a few of those selections.

Ike Release holding down the mail order department.

Queen resident Garrett David at the front of the house.

Anyone that knows me is aware of my rapturous addiction to acid house and techno. Saying that, I am very suspicious of tracks that rely on the conventions of nostalgia as an attention-grabbing tactic. There is definitely no shortage of those types of records lurking in the bins. This record does not suffer to that approach. Though orthodox in its approach, it sounds fresh and considerate. I am definitely looking forward to dropping this one at the next gathering, and I have a feeling this one is going to be frequently taking up residence in my record bag.

Jerome Hill – Consumed


This next one comes directly from the crew at the L.I.E.S. camp and keeps with their avant-garde dance aesthetic. The title feels like homage to the Dance Mania label, but once the needle drops into the groove we are met with something totally different. For me this one is for those moments when you drop the iron gauntlet onto the table. The drum code fits in the traditions of Wax Trax, but is in no way sentimental for the days of stomping your combat boots to the sounds of Front 242. It is a hybrid techno beast that is snarling its razor sharp teeth with conviction.

Tzusing – 4 Floors of Whores


Soon after placing the needle onto the groove of this record I knew that it was going to be coming home with me. Though I have not had the chance to play it out yet I can already tell that it is going to serve as a vortex leading to a different space. It could be a candidate for the soundtrack to William BurroughsSoft Machine. (If a film adaptation was made) It is uncanny science fiction that both welcomes and warns. Crème Organization has struck again!

Photonz – Sad Mania


Variety is an important factor for me, and this new Audio Soul Project edit of Nathan Drew Laresen‘s remix of Little Turtles was just the fix. It sits in an ideal harmonic contrast to the other selections. Nathan has located a liminal space that exists between fragile and formidable. Haunted vocals, mysterious synth lines, and assertive drums all oblige to her considerate programming technique. Nathan has a long history of loosing herself on the dance floor. From the original Club Medusas location on School and Sheffield, to weekly trips to The Rear and countless mornings in front of speaker stacks in Chicago warehouses. In my opinion, this remix radiates with reverberations from those experiences.

Little Turtles – Souls Found – (Nathan Drew Larsen Machine Mix – ASP Edit)


Chicago native Justin Long discovered his fascination for uncanny music at an early age when his mother entrusted him with her record collection that spanned from UK punk to American dance. This served as a gateway, stimulating his journey into the sonic vortex. As a child of Medusa’s on Sheffield, Long gained a higher level of musical education. His weekly pilgrimages to this venue’s all-ages hedonistic dance parties supplied a compelling musical concoction of acid house, UK bleep, industrial and new wave. Possessed by these unorthodox forms of music, Long purchased his first set of turntables and began to collect 12-inch singles from local record shops. Though his intentions were solely to pander to his musical appetite in the privacy of his bedroom, this acquisition proved to be the genesis of a voyage that continues to present him with new challenges that are met with an unforgiving dogmatic approach.

Long can be found on every third Saturday at Hugo Ball, a gathering that was founded with music collaborators, Nathan Drew Larsen and Sevron. In 2014 Long was officially named Senior Resident of Smart Bar Chicago.