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Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Kiings Remix Milwaukee

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Tarik Moody doesn’t have much regard for genre boundaries. As a DJ for 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, Moody spins a little bit of everything, and as a principal behind the concert series Unlooped, he delights in having local indie-rock musicians play hip-hop, or in pairing jazz players with electronic acts. In his view, a hotter flame under the local melting pot makes for a stronger, better-rounded music scene. It was that attitude that drew him to Kiings, a young Milwaukee electronic duo with similarly wide-ranging tastes.

Kiings first captured Moody’s ear last year with their track “Explain Myself,” a remix, of sorts, of Quadron’s cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” that sounds little like either artists’ version. The track sparked Moody’s imagination. He had been nurturing an idea for a remix of a song by the Milwaukee indie-folk band Field Report, and Kiings seemed like just the act to help him realize it.

“He approached us with the idea, and we thought it was fascinating, because who really remixes that stuff?” said Kiings producer Sean Foran, who along with his groupmate Chris Siegel created a peppy, beat-happy reworking of Field Report’s “Route 18.”

“That remix got us thinking about how great it would be to do remixes for other Wisconsin artists,” Foran said. “We thought, why not bring out the best of Wisconsin, or at least the artists that we really like from Wisconsin, and start collaborating, and maybe make something happen. We wanted to make a project that would show off all this talent on a bigger stage.”

Taking advantage of Moody’s suggestions, the duo worked with an eclectic assortment of Wisconsin acts for what became Warehouses Possessed by the City: A Wisconsin Remix EP, which they released on Bandcamp this month through Moody’s Unlooped Records. Kiings’ Postal Service-ified Field Report track is joined on the EP by an up-tempo reworking of Boy Blue’s “Table Talk” (featuring new vocals from Hannah Gabriela of the indie-pop band Vic and Gab); a glitchy reconstruction of Altos’ ominous “Sing (for Trouble)”; a trip-hop treatment of Gina Barrington’s sultry “Cupid”; and a widescreen remix of “Laura,” a track from the Madison indie band Phox.

In addition to raising Kiings’ profile, the remix project has had the added benefit of helping them forge connections with other local artists, some of whom may contribute to the full-length album the group is currently at work on.

“Building strong bonds with other artists is really important to us because we’re producers. We don’t sing, so even when we’re making original material, we want to work closely with some of the artists we’ve already worked with,” Siegel says. “There are so many local artists that we’re really fond of and want to continue to collaborate with. Basically, we want to be known for being open to making a wide variety of music, taking chances and helping to build a solid community of local musicians. We don’t care if somebody raps or if they play in a folk project; we just want to work with talented people.”

To stream or download Warehouses Possessed by the City, go to kiings.bandcamp.com.