A first-hand history of Chicago house.
House music historians have an easier time than those working with blues, jazz and even rock music—with a few dearly missed exceptions, the DJs who first lugged a reel-to-reel out to a party, pushed a Roland TB-303 beyond the manual's instructions or saw the effect of "French Kiss" on a sweaty room are still only middle-aged. Mike Dunn, who came up alongside a crew of Chicago house music legends comprising Armando and Chris "Bam Bam" Westbrook, has these origin stories in spades. His productions, full of quick-chop vocal samples, smooth pads and banging percussion, put him in a rare class of Chicago producers like Larry Heard and his close friend Tyree Cooper. To hear him tell it, Chicago in the late '80s and '90s was a creatively charged whirlwind—history, in some cases, was made on borrowed drum machines. 2016 will see Dunn release an album on More About Music, an EP for Clone Jack For Daze and launch his own imprint, Blackball Muzik. RA's LA-based staff writer Matt McDermott spoke to Dunn about his place in all of this rich history.
Also on a Chicago tip, we'll be setting up at the city's much-loved Smart Bar for a series of four parties next month. Come join us if you're in the neighbourhood.