Here’s a recap of some notable broadcasts from last week:
Although the art of the power lunch has taken a backseat to accommodate the double helix of hustle-and-grind culture, and the rise of the Sweetgreen-Industrial Complex, that didn’t stop Pittsburgh-based producer and DJ Ali Berger from setting an enticing table in an effort to coax hungry listeners to indulge in shirking their responsibilities. After he tweeted out a digital sandwich board with the promise of Paradise Garage classics, early-’90s New York niche bangers, and no set destination in mind, the anything-goes ethos, feel-good throwback basslines, and arresting vocal hooks imparted the danger and thrill of milking a tab on the company dime. Like most genre- and era-specific deep dives that smack of nostalgia for a simpler time, the bends of re-entry can spark an endemic desire to remain in that state of mind. But for Berger, bucking the system seems to be the point. While we can’t set back the clock, here’s hoping this new always-on expectation is just the soup du jour.
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Despite throwing around the adage that “DJs just play other people’s music,” Detroit-based selector Dan Bain’s recent sojourn on the Blast Radio airwaves moved the needle across a varied emotional gradient by doing exactly that. Just shy of the 4-hour mark, Bain’s marathon behind the decks gave him ample time to take listeners on a guided tour of his extensive record collection. Broken up into segments, seminal trip-hop and ‘90s chillout dominated the early portion, with heavy hitters like Portishead and DJ Shadow stacked alongside deeper cuts from Honeyroot and Beanfield. The otherworldly David Axelrod masterpiece “Holy Thursday” offered the perfect opening to pivot listeners into the soul stylings of Bill Withers and Al Green, before dipping into a string of more raucous house joints. After taking the scenic route to the dancefloor, choosing to close with “Hold Me Now” by the Thompson Twins seemed predicated on the notion that sharing music establishes a real human connection, even if you’re just playing it.
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Felix Da Housecat
Morning routines are crucial for carpe-ing that diem. But whether it’s light calisthenics or getting the right grind for your coffee, recent studies have shown that waking up with Felix Da Housecat on the Blast Radio airwaves is the quickest way to reach your cruising altitude. Since joining the community in late January, Felix has been a constant presence in the AM, encouraging listeners to shake off the grogginess and embrace the day to a soundtrack from his immense back catalog and ever-growing list of favorite tracks. Hailing from Chicago, Felix has been making sure listeners get a daily dose of Windy City house classics from legends such as Ten City, Ron Trent, and the late DJ Chunk-A-Bud – to name a few – complete with energetic commentary and positive sentiments lending context to each selection. Despite each broadcast hinging on the whims of a good night's sleep, Felix has the power to make even the most ardent night owl aspire to be an early bird.
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When Dead Prez famously rapped the line, “the one thing ‘bout music when it hit you feel no pain,” they failed to take into consideration the existence of harsh noise, and its many global practitioners. One such disciple, Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico-based sonic manipulator Isaac Medina, uses his ingenuity as a coder and live-patcher to produce soundscapes that aim to alienate and confront, forcing audiences tuning in on the Blast Radio airwaves to conceive of a world where life failed to find a way. Evocative of noise music’s contemporary application in horror film soundtracks, such as the antagonistic and unsettling compositions Disasterpiece provided for 2014’s It Follows, Medina’s work confronts the boundaries of violence as a means and end to emotional catharsis. But to dismiss these works as errant would be to miss the arc and release of tension, the building and inevitable destruction portrayed within. Where so many of life’s successes are measured by one’s amenability to norms and metrics, sometimes shattering expectations, and loudly, is the only sensible option.
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It’s rare to find a DJ who’s born, raised, and beloved in NYC, but Olive T fits the bill. A fixture in the underground scene and regular on Brooklyn’s The Lot Radio, Olive T returned to the Blast Radio airwaves with an off-the-cuff set of laidback house tracks and remixes that championed both funky basslines and depth charge synths. Featuring selections by fellow Blast Radio broadcaster Osunlade and Detroit techno maven LADYMONIX, as well as multiple cuts bearing JT Donaldson’s fingerprints, the set maintained the playful tone of expertise having given way to pure enjoyment. Woven among the vocal snippets and gently fuzzed-out melodic lines of the set’s closing moments nestled a reminder of what makes Olive T’s abilities so remarkable. In addition to having cultivated a longview of dance music’s varied legacies, her deepening production prowess is paying dividends behind the decks. As her intuition and creativity continue to dovetail, even an impromptu jam can just as suddenly become a work of art.
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To celebrate the inaugural episode of their flagship series, Shea Rewind, Nora, Luke, and Adam were joined by frequent Shea staple and monolith within the New York DIY community Greta Kline, aka Frankie Cosmos, to share anecdotes, provide insights, and listen back to some of Kline’s many appearances at the venue across its lifetime. Having spent countless hours on stage, in the balcony, and among the crowd sharing in the communal experience of making and making space for music, the addition of Kline’s mental archive to the Shea gang’s recollections helped bring each night into a sharper grain of focus. With a new generation showing interest in Kline’s music through TikTok challenges and the unfortunate reality of Spotify imposters, there's a growing list of fans looking to soak up the source material and dabble in the intoxicating effects of real and borrowed nostalgia. Among the constellation of shows that make up Shea Stadium’s resurrection on the Blast Radio airwaves, Shea Rewind is the bright star at its center.
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With a reputation for complex drum placement and a surgeon’s hand at slicing samples, London-based producer and DJ Shy One has been enjoying a victory lap going into the new year. Following the one-two punch of 2021’s Tender EP and a recent all-night headlining gig at Peckham Audio, and with her newly minted, vinyl-only show hitting the Blast Radio airwaves on Sundays, Shy One is firing on all cylinders. For her most recent broadcast, the vibe remained steady at 140bpm and paid homage to a slew of stylings across the UK underground. “Expect some dubstep, expect some grime, and expect the in-between,” Shy One intoned into the mic before delivering a nuanced and explorative journey through subterranean frequencies. Cuts by Benga and Mala juxtaposed the sound of dubstep’s earliest practitioners with the more contemporary work of Chunky and Kyle Hall, allowing the full contour of a musical bloodline to emerge. And with each show guided by Shy’s One’s recent vinyl cops, luck and serendipity both have a hand on the wheel.
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