DJ Sneak | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

DJ Sneak 

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Pumping insistence is the hallmark of all house music, but the work of DJ Sneak, both as a producer and a DJ, insists a bit more fervently than most. His tempos are a shade faster than the house norm, and the bright, busy sound he prefers--with lots of skittering, splashy high-end percussion--evokes the onset of an endorphin and/or chemical rush, coming on steadily but at dizzying speed. Born Carlos Sosa in Puerto Rico, Sneak moved to Chicago in 1983 and soon began DJing, working his way into the city's burgeoning house scene. By the mid-90s he was releasing tracks on the Cajual and Classic labels--run by local legends Curtis Jones (aka Green Velvet) and Derrick Carter, respectively--and in 1996 the latter issued what's still Sneak's best-known single, "You Can't Hide From Your Bud." Over a tough but still elastic disco loop, the tune threads a Teddy Pendergrass vocal through a low-pass filter to keep it moving in and out of focus; along with similar tracks from the period, like Gusto's "Disco's Revenge," it introduced the "filter disco" sound that proliferates on dance floors to this day. On the mix CD he put out earlier this year, Sneak's Juju Beats (Magnetic), he's moved past that sound, but not far. He still uses filters, notably on his own "Wickedy Sounds" and "The Beatz"--a single processed layer, for instance a guitar or a bit of sampled speech, drifts out in front of the dense wall of the mix and then dissipates, like a slow drizzle of air-conditioning in a hot, crowded room. But those effects don't dominate the disc; instead its signature sound comes from thick, crunchy textures like the nozzle-spray hi-hats, walls of congas and bongos, and honking bass lines on Cozy Creatures' "Wanna Sing" and Diskonauts' "Lifted Experience"--elements that all persuade much more effectively in a club. Saturday, December 22, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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