Peter Nicholson

Broken but not broke

Berkeley beat brain Replife keeps an Unclosed Mind
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Replife, a.k.a, Daniel Gray Kontar, leads a well-balanced life. How else can one describe a man who in one breath casually mentions that he's a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley's School of Education and in the next brags that the parties at his pad in the North Berkeley Hills "are off the meat rack"? Read more »

Magical madness

Underground house icon Mike Monday shimmies between fun and funny
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He's bald, his house beats bounce like no others, and he's blue — at least in the cartoons. British underground producer Mike Monday is taking aim at something more than niche success with his recent signing to San Francisco label Om, but his new album, Songs Without Words, is hardly mainstream house fare. Read more »

The Cool Kids

Hip-hop akin to busting a wheelie
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PREVIEW With the success of their BMX ode "Black Mags" ghost-riding beyond the Internet echo chamber, the Cool Kids are on a roll. After one single for Nick Catchdubs and A-Trak's Fool's Gold imprint and a year spent performing live, including 30 dates with M.I.A., the 10-cut Bake Sale EP comes courtesy of C.A.K.E. Recordings/Chocolate Industries, home or former home to such acts as Prefuse 73 and Lady Sovereign. It's slated to be followed by a proper album, When Fish Ride Bicycles, but right now the Cool Kids are back onstage, peddling — or pedaling? Read more »

Do you know the way to Plug?

King Most and Kero One show the way
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"Honestly, I've found a lot more talent in San Jose than I have up here in the city." Plug Label boss, MC, and producer Kero One (né Mike Kim) isn't afraid to call it as he sees it from his San Francisco studio. Read more »

DJ Mitsu the Beats

Head-nodding hip-hop on a jazzy tip
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PREVIEW In the same manner that Japan has had a history of appreciation and innovation in jazz, the Land of the Rising Sun has become a rising star in the hip-hop diaspora. From DMC turntablist world champ DJ Kentaro through the enduring DJ Krush, our counterparts on the other side of the Pacific Rim have steadily been holding their own. Read more »

Simbad

Doing his best to ignore genres and focus on "quality booty music"
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PREVIEW He's originally from France, currently living in East London, and his debut is out on a Swedish label — and his productions are just as cosmopolitan. Read more »

Year in Music: Keep on truckin'

Beats that drive motorists crazy
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I do a lot of driving, which sucks. I don't like cars. They stress me out, they mess up the environment, and even 10-year-old minivans are stupidly expensive, but I live in the sticks and do a lot of traveling to places where public transportation is an urban myth, so I don't have much of a choice. However, one thing makes long trips in the car bearable: DJ mixes. Read more »

Global chilling

Pioneering UK producer Tom Middleton releases his debut
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In 1994 an album came out that nearly put a class of DJs out of work. Those manning the decks at so-called chill-out rooms in countless clubs had good reason to fear Global Communication's 76:14 (Arista), for its lush, emotive melodies and almost infinite attention to detail maintained the excitement that surrounded electronic music at the time while fostering a desultory, languid mood. Read more »

... And Justice for all

The French duo ride a wave of synths and hype
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An irrational exuberance overcomes the dance media when something good comes out of Paris. A decade ago it was Daft Punk, and now it is Ed Banger Records — the label run by longtime Daft Punk manager Pedro Winter — and Justice. Read more »

The people's party

DJ Sake 1 finds a rare groove at Pacific Standard Time
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Sake 1 isn't your typical DJ. Holding a graduate degree in social work from UC Berkeley, he volunteers for Caduceus Outreach Services, providing aid to mentally ill homeless adults. He is in the middle of a year initiating as a priest of Elegua in the Lucumi faith (more commonly known as Santeria) and, among other restrictions, must wear white from head to toe, refrain from sex, alcohol, and drugs, and avoid physical contact with others. Read more »