DJ Food & DK, Four Tet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

DJ Food & DK, Four Tet 

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In 1988 Matt Black and Jonathan More--better known as the mad sampling duo Coldcut--began hosting a pirate-radio program called Solid Steel, which now occupies a weekly two-hour slot on the BBC. The influential breakbeat-heavy mix show, rooted in hip-hop and electronica, incorporated live performances, audio collage, and live remixing, more or less serving as the blueprint for what the duo would eventually do with their record label, Ninja Tune. Now the label has launched a mix CD series more directly patterned (and named) after the show. The first installment is called "Now, Listen!" and stars DJ Food (the duo of PC and Strictly Kev) and DK (aka Darren Knott), who've been guesting on the radio show since the early 90s. Most mix CDs are little more than compilations, one song blending into the next unimaginatively, but "Now, Listen!" aims high, both in the choice of ingredients and in how they're put together. It includes classic fusion by Herbie Hancock, underground hip-hop from Blackalicious, and manic drum 'n' bass by Peshay; one minute Jeru the Damaja's tough "Come Clean" is laid over the jazzy atmospherics of "Channel One Suite" by the Cinematic Orchestra, the next the X-ecutioners are scratching up a sinister, brassy theme from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. A bit of teen-exploitation yammering about rock beats shifts seamlessly into the English Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom," which gets jacked up by some hard jungle beats from Mask's "Square Off." The, ahem, beat matching is perfect, and the groove is imperturbable. Also on the bill is Four Tet, the solo project of Kieran Hebden, one third of the British post-rock trio Fridge. On his recently released second album, Pause (Domino), he arranges a gorgeous array of gentle, heavily acoustic melodic samples--guitar, harp, soft trumpet peals, minimal vibes--over low-impact breaks. Its meditative quality belies Hebden's keen attention to detail. Saturday, December 1, 10 PM, Fifth Floor, 440 N. Halsted; 312-733-6699.

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