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Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008

Communiqué Mystique

Nineties label giant reignites with DJ Hyperactive, ESP Woody Mc

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Midwest Dance label Communiqué Records has come a long way since the early 90's. Founded by the Midwest's own DJ legend ESP Woody McBride, the label has been home to underground dance giants including Josh Wink, Derrick Carter, Mystic Bill and DJ Hyperactive.

More than 15 years later, the imprint has evolved with the times, launching its new Communiquemusic.com site that incorporates a fresh interface with direct sales links. Today, the label that built its reputation on keeping the all-night party pulse alive is changing with the times, bringing a new crop of artists to the forefront of the underground dance scene.

DJ/producer John Michaels is among them. While the musician and promoter was involved in the Milwaukee underground scene for years before leaving for New York City in 2002, it's only recently that he teamed up with 12" Players founder Brian Smalls to release "The Space Age," their new track that drops on Oct. 3. The release found the backing of McBride, who says the cut melds together the distinct styles of two dance floor veterans.

"Michaels, who is also an engineer for the BoDeans … has great skills as a producer," McBride says. "His knowledge of obscure and cool vintage music rivals anyone's. The track is pure Milwaukee and super spaced-out house."

In addition to "The Space Age," look for Michaels' own EP-release on Communiqué later this year, featuring all original tracks. Since leaving Milwaukee, Michaels has forged a creative partnership with Junior Sanchez, who worked with him on several projects for Cube Recordings. While the DJ/producer has helmed a residency at Soho7 since 2007, his upcoming release at Three marks a new creative chapter.

"Although I have been playing at Soho7 for the last year, I really haven't played a true house set for an underground crowd in a quite a while," he says.

Michaels ushers in his return with the critical backing of Communiqué Records label veteran DJ Hyperactive, for a one-off event on Saturday, Oct. 3. The event is billed as a celebration of local artists. Kicking off the night are Matt Bonde and "Boner" Bob of Massive Magazine, who host their own mix tape listening session. Fans can bring in their favorite mix tapes cued up to their favorite spot while the duo plays 10-minute portions. Michaels and Smalls take the decks followed by McBride and Hyperactive, who promotes the release of his new release, Yowza!, an EP trademarked by Chicago and European influences.

Says McBride: "It's got the slippery metallic sounds and syncopated percussion that is trademark Hyperactive."

Saturday, Oct. 3 at Three (722 N. Milwaukee St.). As part of the Communiqué party Milwaukee promoter Crisgo Disco hosts a docked boat party on the Voyager, featuring sets by Steven Kaye and Paul Matthew. McBride and Hyperactive close out the party from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Cover charge at Three: $5 Cover charge for boat party: $10, with tickets, available at Three the night of the show.

Complimentary CDs featuring "The Space Age," Hyperactive's first mix tape, Sounds from the Underground Vol. 1, and a live set from Woody McBride opening for Daft Punk in 1996 will be distributed before 10:30 p.m.