Call for Submissions from Chicago Musicians

UPDATE: Due to initial technical difficulties and summer electronic music festivals (and a lot of begging for more time :-p), the deadline is extended to Monday, June 13, 2011 at 9am. The entries will be listened to through the following week and we’ll let you know if your stuff has been chosen.

Hey, Chicagoland-based electronic musicians! Want to be part of a Chicago electronic music compilation? subVariant is planning to release a free-to-download collection called Frequencity featuring quality songs from regional musicians.

All electronic music genres are welcome, but the final compilation will be a limited selection of tracks chosen by the subVariant A&R team.

subVariant will also release an original t-shirt design in the theme of “Chicago Electronic Music” when the compilation is officially released.

Going with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s definition, participation is only open to musicians in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Even though Chicago-based Chicagoans tend to scoff at suburbanites who adopt the label, we’ll let this one be open to a larger pool of applicants.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 8pm Monday, June 13 at 9am.

So, got a track or three you think we’ll like? Let us listen!

Fill out the Frequencity Participation Application

Vote for Crowdsourced 1.0 Performers at the Empty Bottle

What really makes a music scene? You know–those certain reasons that make you put on a jacket and promptly head for the El or call a cab just to get there in time. That’s what Chicago Innovative Electronic Music (CIEM) and subVariant are asking via their Crowdsourced 1.0 event: What is it about electronic music that people want to see live?

It really is a heady question. But, CIEM & subVariant’s preliminary answer seems to be: “That which is “crowdsourced.”

To the unfamiliar, “crowdsourced” means that the content that is the most popular “rises to the top” via votes–as in, the crowd chooses what’s the most relevant. On Digg.com (a popular news and entertainment aggregator) the front page is filled with only the content that has been voted up through “diggs.” Threadless is also a good example: only the designs that are voted hottest actually make it to production.

On April 10, CIEM will test their theory in the electronic music world. Vote on mixes from local electronic music artisians to fill the four slots in the show that runs from 7pm to 10pm. And when you show up…it will be “crowdsourced.” Meaning, everyone there was voted into their slot.

It’s democracy in electronic music. Like, seriously, democracy. Not that "republic" stuff that’s been thrown around. Your vote actually has a say on whether this artist’s sounds assault your ears for 30 minutes or not. Think carefully and vote.

Go to subvariant.com to vote for your favorite artist. The contenders are Kawa, Protman, [esc]ape, Justin McGrath, dreamlogicc, Roth Mobot, and Liz Revision.

Vote early and encourage your friends to vote as well.

Crowdsourced 1.0
The Empty Bottle

7pm – 10pm
$3
1035 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 

Here are the contenders:

Rebound Kawa DJmix by Kawa


Alphabasic Arctic Tour 2011 Portland Whiskey Bar Live by Protman


Vista damage mixdown by [esc]ape


Audition For Randy by Justin McGrath

Live on RTS.FM by dreamlogicc

Latest tracks by RothMobot

The Consequences by Liz Revision on Mixcloud

Voting ends Friday, March 25.

“Audition” to open for Randy Garcia on April 10 at the Empty Bottle

You can have a chance to open up for Randy Garcia at the Empty Bottle! And we all get to vote. 🙂

He plays an upbeat, melodic blend of low-fi / 8bit / glitch/ IDM combined with live instrumentation and is currently on tour to support his new album to be released in April, Resurgens which features a vocal-heavy approach, bolstered by the guest talents of NNXT, DiViNCi (of S.O.S), Plusses and Ups, Tricil, Labtob and long-time collaborator Threv.


RANDY GARCIA’S MUSIC: http://randygarcia.com/wp/music-2/listen

SUBMISSION RULES:
– Confirm that you will be available to play on Sunday April 10 at 7 or 8pm
– Upload a DJ mix or Live PA of about an hour that shows your typical performance by Sunday, March 13 and mail the link to [email protected] Please do NOT use a free download service like Megaupload where you have to download the whole file to listen to it. Some great free services to host DJ mixes & live sets: http://www.mixcloud.com or http://www.soundcloud.com
– We’ll sort through the submissions and choose the finalists
– Then you guys get to vote on your favorite submission. There will be two opening slots.
– Voting will end on Saturday March 19

DETAILS FOR THE SHOW:
Sunday, April 10, 2011
R_Garcia [Nophi, subVariant] + TBA 
7pm – 10pm Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
$ TBD

Brought to you byChicago Innovative Electronic Music [CIEM]and subVariant

BIO: 
R_Garcia (Randy Garcia), born April 20th, 1977 in Miami, FL, is a
modern electronic composer, producer and multi-instrumental performer.
Currently based in Atlanta, GA, Garcia heads the seminal Nophi
Recordings, as well as the annual Nophest Summer Music Festival. In
addition to his solo work, he composes and tours as part of the
critically acclaimed art-rock band, Nerd Parade.


Known primarily for his involvement in the genesis of the American IDM 
(Intelligent Dance Music) movement, R_Garcia has long employed a punk
rock ethic in his musical endeavors, often eschewing traditional
industry practices in favor of a DIY philosophy.
NOPHI RECORDINGS
“In 1998, Nophi Recordings was founded by R_Garcia and Mic Mell.
Nophi’s focus would be instrumental and electronic music, relying
heavily on a handmade aesthetic and grass-roots promotion.
Nophi flourished through the 2000′sbefore finally undergoing an overhaul  in 2009 — when the label won Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta 2009  awards for “Best Record Label (Readers Choice).”

RECENT & CURRENT
Beginning in 2007, R.Garcia released an onslaught of both new and
previously unreleased material. Among those recordings are three of
Garcia’s most adventurous works: A Delicate Bashing, which introduced
his live band, Nerd Parade; The largely acoustic I Used to Write on
Walls
; and the Critically acclaimed LP of instrumental love songs,
Everything Ever. All three recordings heavily tied Garcia’s affinity
for live instrumentation to electronic production and set the stage
for the future of his music.

By 2010, R_Garcia had been invited to score a television commercial
for Kelloggs and work closely with Grammy Candidates 3KStatic on
Evolver, a unique sample and loop CD for Sony Creative Software. He
also produced recordings and remixes for Pearl Future, Kevin Max (of
DC Talk), Pop Will Eat Itself and Julie Slick (Adrian Belew). In April
of 2011, Garcia will release his next LP, Resurgens which features a
vocal-heavy approach, bolstered by the guest talents of NNXT, DiViNCi
(of S.O.S), Plusses and Ups, Tricil, Labtob and long-time collaborator
Threv.

[SUBV002] VA: Subvaritrax

[SUBV002, 2005]

SUBVARITRAX™ is a new form of treatment for Sonic Mediocrity Overexposure (SMO). SUBVARITRAX™ works by providing a mix between emotionally-poignant-yet-sonically-dense IDM, and scientifically formulated, provocatively glitchy minimal techno.

With contributions from Quench (Funckarma), Ochre, Tim Koch, edIT, Kero, Matthew Mercer and others, SUBVARITRAX™ is a new type of neurostimulant proven to help people with SMO as well as being an enjoyable listen in its own right. Ask your abstract electronic music specialist if SUBVARITRAX™ is right for you.

TRACKLIST:
1. PHYLUM SINTER: “Monastic Phase” (4:19)
2. MARSHALL WATSON: “Fall without Change” (5:13)
3. QUANTAZELLE: “Late Blazing Kinch Theme” (2:56)
4. R_GARCIA: “Honkeywrench” (4:39)
5. FREDERIQUE GARVIN: “Not So Hot” (4:43)
6. MATTHEW MERCER: “Sucker Punch” (6:33)
7. POPKAN: “Broken Lighter” (5:45)
8. KERO: “Shuf1” (5:29)
9. DEREK MICHAEL: “Similak Jiggles” (4:08)
10. QUANTAZELLE: “Braking (Hushed)” (2:53)
11. ZAINETICA: “Bytesize” (5:49)
12. SENSE: “Gift” (4:04)
13. TIM KOCH: “Minor Rendered” (2:15)
14. SET IN SAND: “A Echo of An Mistake” (3:13)
15. EDIT: “Spare Spork” (4:54)
16. QUENCH: “Vegeta” (6:05)
17. OCHRE: “Copacetia” (6:42)

Download Now
Get an email with download instructions when you subscribe to our mailing list.

 

REVIEWS:
The woefully underrated and extremely creative Chicago based Subvariant assembles some of the top up and coming IDM talent for Subvaritrax. Label head Liz McLean Knight has an impressive ear for not only sequencing a fun, glitch happy compilation, but for assembling an impressive roster of talent from around the world (London, Detroit, Berlin, Melbourne just for starters). It’s hard to pinpoint where the highlight of this compilation lies: Is it the amazing conceptual packaging? The frantic skittering of IDM beats or the minimal house that could easily find a home on some of minimal techno’s finest imprints? The attention to detail and care each artist shows in their craft? It’s all here in one nice package, and it’s a great sign that not only IDM and minimal techno can co-exist on the same electronic plane, but the future of each subgenre is alive and thriving.”
– Rob Theakston, All Music Guide
———-

“Though one is struck initially by Subvaritrax™’s distinctive pharmaceutical packaging, the comp’s presentation is trumped by the potency of the medication itself. Virtually a primer for current electronic music trends, the release collects what could be the best bits from imaginary comps by Merck, Neo Ouija, Spectral Sound, and M-Nus into an 80-minute, 17-track set. Such largesse is often wearying but [it] maintains interest by extending the stylistic range beyond a single genre…

Sparkling streams of glistening melodies unfurl throughout Phylum Sinter’s (Detroit-based Christopher Todd) “Monastic Phase,” Sense’s (Melbourne musician Adam Raisbeck) “Gift,” and Ochre’s (Chris Leary) buoyant epilogue “Copacetia” while boisterous breaks splatter and flail in tracks by Marshall Watson and Quench (aka Funckarma, Netherlands-based Don and Roel Funcken). edIT’s (Ed Ma, Planet-Mu) fabulous stutter-crunk oasis “Spare Spork” is an album highlight, as is … [the] Quantazelle cut “Late Blazing Kinch Theme,” an entrancing intertwine of scurrying percolations and harp melodies. On the techno front, Frederique Garvin drops twitchy, bass-throbbing machine-funk in “Not So Hot,” Derek Michael coaxes whirrs and groans from his gear in “Similak Jiggles,” and Matthew Mercer and Detroit Underground label head Kero (Sohail Azad) take schaffel strolls in their respective outings. While R_Garcia’s gleefully stomping, arcade-flavoured “Honkeywrench” impresses too, the album’s peak arrives with Popkan’s (Tom Erdmann) “Broken Lighter,” a tasty sampling of funky, M-Nus-styled minimal house. While Erdmann’s micro-sampled field of blips, smears, and croaks sounds incredible, it’s the little kick he adds to the tail end of the warping bass line that’s pure genius.

A terrific outing by the Chicago-based subVariant imprint, the ‘instrumental neuro-stimulant’ Subvaritrax™ more than makes good on its promise to treat Sonic Mediocrity Overexposure (SMO) with a therapeutically forward-thinking mix of melodic IDM and glitchy minimal techno.” -Ron Schepper, TEXTURA.

———-

“Phylum Sinter’s “Monastic Phase” starts the gentle release into your bloodstream with tender melodies drifting in a free-form solution of squishy beats and rain-kissed tones. Marshall Watson recommends a “Fall Without Change,” a gravity-free undulation of synthesizer and frayed beats that moves like a heat wave across still landscapes. Label-owner Liz McLean Knight who records as Quantazelle (as well as being the creative force behind the jewelry line Zelle and attendant online shop, Fractalspin.com) slips us a dose of “Late Blazing Kinch Theme,” a vaguely Aphex Twin rhythm scattered across harp melodies and subdermal beat dappling. It’ll hitch in your throat and leave a resonating hum that will percolate through your brain for days. She also offers “Braking (Hushed),” a gurgling lurching tune that sounds like electric wind chimes being shaken by a low magnitude earthquake. Nothing traumatic, just chaotic movement given sound.

Randy Garcia’s “Honkeywrench” keeps catching my ear as it dances and jabbers about. Anchored by the spitting sound of speaker feedback from local RF signals (and I get it enough at the day job that I keep thinking that this track is just fucked up and not cleverly recycling modern noise detritus), R_Garcia throws up squiggling pong melodies that flit about with joyous abandon. There’s a middle of the Subvaritrax dose that goes all woozy on you with house rhythms skewed with jittery noises and squelchy bursts of liquid funk as Matthew Mercer, Popkan, Kero and Derek Michael ooze into your system. Tim Koch’s “Minor Rendered” puddles with aquatic dub while ringing with minor chords that are flung up like fireworks to hang in the sky. A sinuous funk beat slithers into the room and coils around our ankles, lending a lurching stagger to our dance steps. While Zainetica delivers a swooping aerial ride filled with the guttering echoes of synthesized voices in “Bytesize,” Sense’s “Gift” is a orchestral wash of electronic tones and fluffy melodies.

As Set in Sand’s “A Echo of An Mistake” (sic) warbles and threatens to lose track of its rhythmic center (yet retains it in the end as the effort is to shift you slightly and not yank the chair out from beneath you), edIT’s “Spare Spork” shares no such illusions. The beats in “Spare Spork” stab at you with their guttering intensity, echoing in the background like ping pong balls ricocheting off concrete walls. The lonesome guitar melody in the foreground is dragged in the wake of the beats, its melancholy secondary to the gutter-jerk of the affected beats. Quench keeps some of the manic energy afforded by edIT (this is the end of the dosage after all, somnambulant effects must be wiped away) but channels it as BPMs. Shivering beats collapse and percolate like hot water in a coffee maker while digital melodies churn and curl around one another like snakes, like Mobius patterns.

SubVariant takes a very serious approach to presentation and the limited release of Subvaritrax comes as a Rx package, a personalized prescription written just for your mental state. “Play entire CD twice daily or as needed” read the instructions on the plastic casing. Would that all medicines that make you feel better go down so easily (and the final glistening water electronica of Ochre eases you back from your SubVariant-induced slumber). This is a heartily recommended panacea for the beat-broke blues.” – Mark Teppo, IGLOO

———-

“A label sampler of amazing proportions for those who like melodic to mid tempo electronic or IDM music, Chicago’s Subvariant Label sets out with Subvaritrax to position itself as a premier label for the inventive and the daring.

The compilation largely succeeds; the artists on this disc, including Quantazelle, Popkan, Kero, Tim Koch, Quench and Matthew Mercer among others, have a knack for marrying the ideas of experimentation and melody. Each track features an abundance of blips, beeps, glitches and squiggles courtesy of various computers, but there’s always a dominant and often playful melody to prevent these songs from becoming pure experimental dissonance. While more prominent groups in the IDM world like Autechre concentrate more on experimental freak-outs, Subvariant’s roster understands the plain fact that melody and hooks are what bring people back.

Even without the presence of vocals, as a whole, the disc comes off as emotional and moody. There are many cuts here worthy of pivotal movie soundtrack moments: a cut like Marshal Watson’s “Fall without Change” seems ripe for the plucking as background music to an introspective scene. And fuck “Eye of the Tiger,” Tim Koch’s “Minor Rendered” could be a new, more suave and hip soundtrack to training, prevailing and kicking some ass. On the other side, there are occasional tracks that oppose the soothing sounds to come off cold and metallic. Derek Michael’s “Similak Jiggles” sounds like an automated factory, and Quench’s “Vegeta” sounds like it came from a future super-computer age.

By balancing the experimental and the accessible, the artists on this comp all come with a similar aesthetic; their cohesion makes for an enjoyable but somewhat overwhelming experience. Each artist is able to craft a layered and dense sound collage that you can easily get lost in – from the warm and soothing to the steely and distant – and for the most part, these groups can stand alongside similar melodic compatriots like Plaid, Boards of Canada and Four Tet. On the shoulders of those innovators, Subvaritrax introduces some exceptional and inventive rising stars. “LOST AT SEA

Design by Scott Arciniegas. Mastering by Twerk.

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