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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gene Farris: Off the Deep End

Plus: Derek Plaslaiko’s edgy techno

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Living abroad in Amsterdam has repositioned the creative mind-set of Gene Farris, whose deep, spacey sounds echo back to an era of raves gone by. And while his recent batch of remixes is not about reinventing the wheel, the DJ/producer/label owner keeps his Chicago-influenced sound spinning on heavy rotation.

In teaming with Control Records leader Bryan Jones of late, Farris has crafted an inspired bag of remix work that quips with quirky tech and acid lines while working audiences with organic finesse. In the mid-’90s, Farris played into another eclectic EDM movement that revolved around the Chicago-based Relief Records.

By melding harder house bass lines with the jazzy deepness embraced by selectors such as Boo Williams, Farris drew crossspectrum audiences who appreciated underground music as a mutable entity. In 2008, Farris is still pushing the boundaries of house, maintaining an “old school,” Chicago credibility while evolving his craft with the creative shifts in sound. His self-guided Farris Wheel Recordings continues yielding relevant tracks by producers who rarely shy from the chance to explore the more existential side of underground house.

Farris’ ties to Scottish-based label Soma made Amsterdam a likely choice for the underground artist, who spent several years working, living and performing there. Upon his recent stateside return, the statuesque artist continues forging a fluid career based on the bridges of old and new beats.

Gene Farris returns on Saturday, April 5, for Tantric at Three (722. N. Milwaukee St.). Milwaukee’s Kris Kleinbeck and Q open the show. Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $5 Projekt Plaslaiko: In the past three years, Detroit-area native Derek Plaslaiko has made Milwaukee a staple show ground for his unique spin on techno. This time, the seminal selector/producer drops in for the second installment of Projekt, where his precision on the decks meets the precise musical taste of his audience.

Last month’s inaugural Projekt event proved that Milwaukee’s underground EDM set is hungry for more than the conventional flair of house and hip-hop. As a DJ, Plaslaiko defies convention. In 2003, he helped form the original team of DJs at Detroit’s Untitled parties, along with Tadd Mullinix, Matthew Dear and Mike Servito. Currently, he maintains a residency at the Bunker at New York City’s Subtonic, as well as a spot at the touted Wolf Lamb monthly parties.

While Plaslaiko has more recently garnered a following with hipster sets, he continues to remain true to the raw, techno vibe that shaped his status from the start. Derek Plaslaiko performs on Friday, March 28, at Projekt at Six Degrees (518 N. Water St.). Milwaukee’s Sirfice opens the show.

Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. CD giveaways throughout the night. No cover charge.
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