Event Review: GAS at the Art Institute

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Live ambient music has a tendency to come off as underwhelming. I’ve always found watching a producer manipulate tracks on their laptop insufficient to warrant the title of “live” performance. However, every once in a blue moon I’ll see an ambient performance that proves all of my assumptions wrong. Last week’s performance by producer Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS alias was one of them.

I’d like to make note of the way his performance highlighted the importance of setting when viewing live electronic music. GAS’s music at home is primarily a headphone listen, where you are completely sucked in to the music’s world. In order to replicate this feeling live, it needed to be experienced in “wide-screen” so to speak, and this is exactly we got. The months leading up to the show, I worried we would be stuck seeing GAS perform on a make-shift sound system, forced to stand for 90 minutes in a tiny room shoulder to shoulder with fellow techno nerds. Luckily we got the opposite, as the Rubloff Auditorium at the Art Institute proved to be the ideal venue for Voigt’s soundscapes. The audience was able to sit down while taking in both a massive video projection and immaculate sound thanks to the theater’s excellent PA and acoustics.

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Ummmm….Everyone’s a Critic

— Sean Barry

Five weeks ago, I started hosting my own sports talk show for UIC radio. I am doing this because I love sports and want to work in sports media. It’s great practice for my profession and I actually enjoy the hell out of it.

However, I was quickly reminded of the old saying in the entertainment business, “everyone’s a critic.”

As I “ummm-ed” my way to the end of my second show, which I thought was a terrible performance, I got a text from an old friend of mine as I walked out the door of the studio. I won’t name names, but the message really pissed me off. Even if it was constructive, which it was, and I appreciate that.

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Getting Over Writer’s Block Via Dinosaurs In The Hood

Any artist of any medium has experienced some form of lame “block”, whether it be writer’s block, painter’s block, choreographer’s block, etc., everybody has experienced a really. annoying. block.

For me, writing this blog post came with some excruciating writer’s block. I had never written a blog post before in my life, so naturally, I had absolutely no idea what to write about.

But through a conversation via Snapchat, my cute friend Elijah suggested the following: “Read ‘Dinosaurs In The Hood.’

With a title like that, my mind immediately imagined some weird fan fiction cross over between Jurassic Park and Boyz N The Hood. Thankfully, it wasn’t that.

Instead it was a much cooler, deeper, engaging poem by Danez Smith about an idea for a movie; a Black hood fighting off dinosaurs.

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It’s A Gudak Thing

If you’re a millennial like me, you might remember the fleeting memories of disposable cameras that were all the rage in the 90s and early 2000s. Nowadays, disposable cameras are still accessible and able to be purchased, but not for anything less than around 20 bucks – for just the camera alone.

Not to mention, when trying to post an image on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you’re met with almost too many filters to make the picture look as perfect as you can possibly alter it to be. Back in the day, you had one shot at taking a picture, and the way it came out was the way it came out – but it was nearly perfect as it was anyway.

But if you’re still looking for something to fulfill the nostalgia of the previous millennium, you can look no further than your own smartphone!

Earlier this year, a Korean startup company Screw Bar created Gudak Cam as a way to relive the days where capturing the moment was essential, and snapping hundreds of the same picture was unthinkable. In the era of the smartphone, we are so used to redoing the same photo a million times to make sure it is absolutely perfect before posting it online.

Gudak Cam takes that away completely. One of its quirks is that it takes away your ability to be able to fully see what you are capturing by limiting your focus to a tiny viewfinder at the top of the screen. And selfie view? Forget about it. The app makes you work to snap a selfie by using the front camera. This may be off-putting to some, but these features are what make Gudak Cam so appealing.

Here’s how it works: you open up the Gudak app and are brought to the camera, but instead of a fullscreen view of what you’re trying to photograph, you see mostly an image of the old-school disposable cameras from back in the day, with the exception of a tiny viewfinder to give you a glimpse of the scene in front of you.

Source: Gudak Cam

A new “roll” gives you 24 shots, and the pre-made lightleak filters randomize once every hour, so every image is different so long as you don’t use all 24 shots in one hour.

Once you’re finished, the roll goes to the processing lab, where it will take 72 hours to develop. Once that’s finished, the images download straight to your phone’s camera roll and you have two dozen new images with a variety of different filters and lightleaks to give each photo its own charm.

The app is available for 99 cents only for iPhone for now, but the increase in the app’s popularity would suggest it will be making its way onto Android devices in no time. So, get snapping! In the meantime, here are some of the Gudak Cam photos I’ve taken recently to give you some inspiration. Click through to view full size:

Thinking about giving Gudak Cam a try? What do you think about this concept for an app? Comment and let me know!

-Sonia

Figuring It Out! with Sonia Universe

Hey guys! Welcome back to another semester at UIC and UIC Radio.

This year, along with blogging, I am hosting my own show, affectionately titled “Figuring It Out!” with Sonia Universe. Why? Because every week, you never quite know how the show is going to go . . . but we’ll figure it out.

I did a few test runs over the summer and have resumed my weekly shows during the semester, which is also my last semester at UIC!

I’m back again to serve up some conversations and tunes: alternative, indie, rock, electronic, and of course, k-pop. So be sure to tune in every Wednesday from 2-4pm here at uicradio.org for your weekly dose of jams!

UIC Radio’s Fourth Annual Battle Of The Bands!

This past Friday, UIC Radio held its fourth annual Battle of the Bands at The Bar 10 Doors on Taylor Street. The lineup included UIC bands August Hotel, Lettucehead, Brian Sees Stars, The Red Flag Boys, Turbulence, and The Land Lines.

After an energetic set from all the bands, the top 3 winners included: 1. LETTUCEHEAD, 2. Turbulence, and 3. August Hotel.

UIC Radio sincerely thanks all the bands for their hard work and dedication to performing, and helping create a night full of music and fun for all who attended!

photos by Pearl Shin

UIC Radio – Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Awards 2017

This past weekend, UIC Radio attended the 2017 Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems conference in New York City. UIC Radio was nominated for 7 awards. Categories included: Best Specialty Show, Best Show Promo, Best Station Promotional Poster, Best College Radio Streaming Station (More Than 10,000 Students), Best Website, Best Blog, and Best Use of Social Media.

After an educational weekend filled with informative ways to improve your radio station targeted at high school and college students, as well as hosting a panel on blogging, UIC Radio walked away with the trophy for Best Website in the nation and finalist trophies for the six other categories.

From all of us at UIC Radio, we would like to thank all of our readers and listeners for all the support!

Anatomy of a Playlist (Noteworthy 2-27-2017)

 

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Ivan here from Noteworthy (Mondays, 6PM-8PM). I’m back again to give you some insight into how the show gets made and what goes into some of the decision making.

Juggling multiple genres is an essential part of Noteworthy, but in order to make the leap from one sound to the next, I try to make sure that it feels seamless when you’re listening. Think of it in the same way you would a mix CD from back in the day. It’s a key part of what makes the show fun to do and a challenge every week. This dissection will show you how my brain works.

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I wanted to start the show off talking about the BRITs and how it’s always more fun than the Grammys. Skepta’s performance of “Shutdown” gave me the perfect excuse to play a track from one of my favorite 2016 albums and provided plenty for me talk about at the top of the show. The Grammys are afraid of any kind of aggression in hip hop and here is Skepta, lording over England’s biggest music stage in a hoodie with a song that partially mocks those uncomfortable with seeing aggression from hip hop (re: Kanye’s 2015 BRIT performance). Score one for the BRITs. From there, I went to another grime song in the Lady Leshurr track and an old Neptunes track, which has sort of bouncy grime feel if you pair it with the right song.

 

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I knew at this point I wanted to make the transition to mellowing things down (you’ll see why soon enough), so the new Jidenna single was a way to make that bridge since it has enough bottom to it to not be too jarring of a switch-up. Honestly, my main priority was to finally play Gallant’s  “Skipping Stones.” Adrian Younge, Jhene Aiko and a falsetto with classic flair? I do this for the people.

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Bon Iver and Growing Out of Authenticity

One of the weirdest things about reaching the end of your early 20’s is realizing that the search for “authenticity” is a goal reserved for your finicky teenage years. For many of us who came of age during the late 00’s and early 2010’s, the image of authenticity that was forced down the throats of hip middle class white kids carried somewhat of a proto-lumbersexual aesthetic.  The music that came along with this image was made by groups like Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes, and Bon Iver. While all three occupied a similar corner of hipster chamber-folk, Justin Vernon’s leanings were always slightly different. Though his music easily fell under the folk banner, it carried a distinctly modern, with samples and digital manipulations being juxtaposed against acoustic instruments. These aspects placed Bon Iver in direct opposition to the indie-folk obsession with acoustic authenticity.

Nearly every piece of journalism regarding Vernon will bring up the backstory behind Bon Iver’s 2007 debut. Writers often rely on his self-isolation in rural Wisconsin (categorizing Eau Claire as “rural” is a bit of an exaggeration by the way) to help sell the “authenticity” of his work before anyone actually hears the music itself. In interviews, it was obvious Vernon was growing tired of having to constantly retell this story. Now it seems he shutting the door and that chapter of his artistic career completely.

The first few seconds of his latest record “22, A Million” make it obvious that Vernon is attempting to distort any notion of strictly being an artist attempting to revive the music of a time since passed. The OP-1 manipulated vocal loops that open the album serve as a warning to listeners who expected more acoustic lullabies, almost holding a sign that reads “THIS IS AN ELECTRONIC RECORD”. This message is further enforced by  tracks like “CREEKS” and “___45___” where glitches destroy any semblance of natural or real sound. These act as a middle finger to his flannel+raw-denim adorned fanbase. Don’t get me wrong, the acoustic tendencies are still here. Tracks like “29# Stafford Apartments” and “33/GOD” are still carry veins of folk, but they have digitally reshaped and manipulated until they are formed into something unrecognizable. Applying a sort of abstracted approach to music steeped in traditionalism.

Prior to last month the only exposure to Bon Iver I found enjoyable had been via his collaborations with Kanye West and James Blake. On these recordings, his beardo-folkiness was stripped away, allowing the glitchy, geometric, auto-tune laden arrangements to shine through. Luckily, “22, A Million”, shares more with these collaborations than his previous two albums. Instead of placing digital textures in a folk context, Vernon now does the opposite, forcing nearly every instrument at his disposal through digital processing . The result is an album where familiar sounds are warped into strange cubist structures. For some people, this new album may seem a self-indulgent and half hazard mess, for me it is perhaps a blue-print, a map showing the way forward for the struggling genre of indie folk.

An Interview With “Mothers” At Lollapalooza 2016

One of the things that I loved the most about Lollapalooza is how the festival allowed me to see so many of my favorite bands over the course of one long weekend. BUT in addition to that, I also loved how the festival gave me a chance to discover many talented bands that I may not have discovered on my own. That’s how I came across the band Mothers!

I came across the band and their music, when I saw their name listed on the 2016 Lolla lineup. Mothers is an indie-folk band from Athens, Georgia which consists of four incredible musicians: Kristine Leschper, Matthew Anderegg, Drew Kirby, and Patrick Morales. After hearing Kristine’s delicate voice and really getting to experience the band’s intimate tunes live at Lolla, I haven’t been able to stop listening to their songs. Check out my interview with the band below!

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Photo by Shervin Lainez

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