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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dave Taylor: Simply Switch

Plus: Jamie Thinnes, Kate Simko summer warm-up

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  The perpetual flux of underground dance music has caused the party to continually change. The scene finds a way to reinvent itself every couple of years, proving to the veterans and uninitiated alike that this so-called simple music might not be so simple after all.

  Who better represents such a free-form, sample-heavy state of mind than U.K. electronic music phenom Dave Taylor? More commonly known as the driving force behind the genre-defying production hype machine Switch, Taylor has redefined the rules for producers who once abided by the conventionalities of the game.

  Switch began as a collaborative project between London-based producers Dave Taylor and Trevor Loveys (who has since carved out his own successful solo career) that inflated everything good about underground dance music’s varied incarnations with harder influences of tech, acid and various quirks-and-jerks. In 2003, Taylor and Loveys released the track that would not only put Switch on the map, but also catapult the record label of their friend Jamie Odell (aka Jimpster) into the spotlight. The ubiquitous “Get Ya Dub On” would be a hit for Freerange Records and spark an underground, global movement of genre-bending beats.

  Taylor and Loveys eventually parted ways, with only Taylor continuing to produce and perform under the Switch identity. Since then, Taylor is credited with producing half of the first LP from the critically savvy crossover artist M.I.A.; he is slated to take full production power over her next release.

  While many have been quick to label the stylistic movement associated with Taylor and his contemporaries as “fidget house,” the more prominent players and artists associated with the origins of the so-called genre have never had much time for it. Taylor and the artists in his circle, many of who have broken musical boundaries of their own on Taylor’s Dubsided imprint, are often content to work within their own inner sanctum.

  Taylor works the floor from the hip on Saturday, June 28, for his first Milwaukee appearance. The show marks the end of the yearlong, Saturday monthly, The Second Coming—The House of Jack, hosted at Three (722 N. Milwaukee St.) by resident James Amato. Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $7 presale tickets available at Three; $10 night of show.


  Beat Breeze: If Dave Taylor is a kind of summer squall, then Jamie Thinnes is a sunny ray of house music traditionalism. The West Coast-based artist continues to transcend the genre-constrained labels of “fidget” and “jackin’” to remain true to his clean vision of sound. As the owner of the influential Seasons Recordings—which originally began as the equally influential Earthtones Recordings—Thinnes has remained true to his vision of quality house music since the inception of the label in 1998. The imprint even gave the fledging house duo Natural Rhythm their start.

  In the interim 10 years, Thinnes has seen tastes change and change again, all the while remaining true to his no-nonsense, soulful approach to A&R and DJing. Less experimental than Taylor, Thinnes finds an uncompromising way to own a sound that is quintessentially underground.

  Jamie Thinnes returns to Milwaukee for a summer solstice session of Boompty at Red Light (1758 N. Water St.) on June 21. Milwaukee’s Luke Warm and Neyno open the show. Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $5

Simply Spectral: The Spectral Sound Residency Tour returns to this month’s installment of Projekt at Six Degrees, this time welcoming the live P.A. wrangling of Kate Simko. The Spectral Sound artist melds the warm, funky basslines of house with the more androgynous tones of techno, creating an angular array of hot and cold beats. Influenced by recent musical jaunts to South America, Simko’s live, symmetrical arrangements find plenty of earthy influences. Collaborations with South American producer Andres Bucci have kept her sound evolving. This month, she joins Erik Lee & Samonik and David Dominguez, along with the DJ debut of Projekt co-promoter Dela. Friday, June 27, at Six Degrees (518 N. Water St.). Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. No cover charge; CD giveaways.

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