DJ King Hippo on the holy grail of Chicago spiritual jazz | In Rotation | Chicago Reader

DJ King Hippo on the holy grail of Chicago spiritual jazz 

Plus: Resavoir bandleader Will Miller on a fan-made mashup of Nas and MF Doom, Reader writer Leor Galil on raiding the discards pile at the library, and more

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A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.

click to enlarge Seven-inch vinyl in the discard corner at Harold Washington Library - LEOR GALIL
  • Seven-inch vinyl in the discard corner at Harold Washington Library
  • Leor Galil

Leor Galil, Reader staff writer

Harold Washington Library discards Whenever I stop by the Harold Washington Library, I visit the nook next to the DVDs, CDs, and newest books, where media removed from circulation is free for the taking. I've gotten some great music-related reading material—including bound volumes of the Cambridge University Press journal Popular Music. In December, artist Marc Fischer used the Instagram account of his publication Library Excavations to post pics of a bevy of seven-inches in the discard corner; I returned to the library that afternoon, and I'm still listening through the odd pile of records I brought home.

Respire, Gravity & Grace In early April, Indiana screamo label Middle-Man reissued the 2016 debut by Toronto six-piece Respire, which somehow corrals together solemn midwestern emo, contemplative Canadian postrock, and nasty skramz. "Ascent" surprised me by opening with forlorn horn, sprinting blastbeats, and a blur of harsh screams, and that's the kind of experience I relish.

Joshua Virtue, "Loosey" Joshua Virtue raps in the duos Free Snacks and Udababy, which both put out music this winter—the former Eat Good Tape in December, the latter a self-titled EP in January. Virtue released the full-length Post Faith Dialogues in March, which includes the killer "Loosey." When he performed it at his release party that month, dozens of people screamed along as he belted out rubbery rhymes on the song's hook. That moment convinced me that Virtue and his prolific collaborators are something special.

Leor is curious what's in the rotation of . . .

click to enlarge Infinite Spirit Music’s 1980 album Live Without Fear
  • Infinite Spirit Music’s 1980 album Live Without Fear

Alejandro Ayala, aka DJ King Hippo, hosts on Lumpen Radio and Worldwide FM

London's music scene Can you imagine living in a city where the mayor cares about its musical heritage, nightlife, small venues, and cultural well-being? As a resident of Chicago, I would answer, "No way!"—if it weren't for the city of London. That city floors me in so many ways—they have a thriving jazz scene that belongs more to the dance floor than it does to stuffy clubs. Their mayor, Sadiq Khan, knows the role small venues play in artist development; he was vocal when one of its most beloved clubs faced closure; and he even installed a Night Czar. I recommend reading Emma Warren's Make Some Space, which invites us to remember the venues and community centers that generated London's culture and asks its citizens to protect the few that remain. Anything familiar about that?

Azymüth, Demos (1973-75) I haven't gone out to Record Store Day as a customer in years. This year, the semi-Satanic being worshipped on RSD managed to lure me out, knowing that only unreleased material by Brazilian jazz-funk band Azymüth—which predates their debut album—could make me wake up at 5 AM and go wait in line outside with a smile.

Infinite Spirit Music, Live Without Fear When I told pianist Soji Adebayo about his 1980 record fetching $3,000, he said, "I'm glad I made something that people are willing to pay that much money for." Originally, Infinite Spirit Music was only available to 300 people in Chicago, but now, thanks to a Jazzman reissue, the group's cosmic messages of love can be heard worldwide.

Alejandro is curious what's in the rotation of . . .

click to enlarge The cover of the fan-made Nas/MF Doom mashup Nastradoomus
  • The cover of the fan-made Nas/MF Doom mashup Nastradoomus

Will Miller, Resavoir bandleader and Whitney trumpeter

Broadcast's Black Session from La Maison de la Radio, Paris, May 4, 2000 It really bums me out that I'll never get to see this band play live. The way they blend samples with live instrumentation makes the production sound huge and weird, but it's just the four of them, tight AF, playing without backing tracks, and Trish Keenan singin' so cool over the top of everything. They only play "Come on Let's Go" (their biggest song) for 39 seconds! Badass. I love how they're able to go from a superweird experimental vibe to a pop-song vibe and it all makes perfect sense.

Nas x MF Doom, Nastradoomus I discovered this album in college, soon after hearing Doom for the first time, and downloaded it off a campus-wide file-sharing server. Been jamming it for years, and I only recently found out that it's fan made! Had me fooled. Someone put all the a cappellas from Nas's Nastradamus over MF Doom beats off the first two volumes of Special Herbs. Crazy that music can work that way.

Clicking around on YouTube This reminds me of the early days of Wikipedia, going down a wide-eyed blue-link wormhole. Adblock is on and the rarities are a-flowin'. There's so much stuff on YouTube that isn't on streaming services—lots of it insanely rare, probably unfindable in any record store within a 1,000-mile radius. It keeps me in the crate-digging mindset when it's too cold to leave the house. I still love going to record stores, but I certainly appreciate the folks who upload.  v

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