For those with an open-minded approach to electronic music, the output of Chicagoâ€™s Mathematics label has always been essential listening. While clearly steeped in the traditions of the Windy Cityâ€™s famous house scene and the far-sighted electronic pulse of Detroit techno, Mathematics is just as likely to release something off-the-wall and interesting as straight-up jack or murky dancefloor bounce. Much credit should go to label boss Jamal Moss, better known as Hieroglyphic Being.
Despite operating around the fringes of the Chi-town scene for some 15 years, Mathematics compilations are few and far between. Sure, there have been the essential Music From Mathematics CDs, but little else. In fact, this non-stop live vinyl session from fellow Chicagoan Daryl Cura is in fact the labelâ€™s first official mix CD. That itâ€™s something of a delight isnâ€™t much of a surprise. Cura wisely uses the opportunity to touch on many of Mathematics’ disparate themes, and over the course of a spellbinding hour, picks and blends some real highlights from the label catalogue. Thereâ€™s the bittersweet downtempo piano vibes of Bocca Grande, the future space-disco of Les Aeroplanes, a dash of Metro Area on Smack (Audio Atlasâ€™ brilliant â€śAlaskaâ€ť), touchy-feely techno and tech-house from Alessandro Izzo and Marcello Napoletano, sprightly synthscapes from Vagin Brei, and even a clutch of far-sighted floorfillers (the brilliance of Liverpudlian newcomer John Heckle). Oh, and indispensible space-jazz from Gentl3man.
Itâ€™s in parts delightfully melodic, achingly melancholic, indescribably heavy, thrillingly futuristic and unashamedly backward looking â€“ everything great electronic music should be, basically. Curaâ€™s mix is impeccable, and perfectly encapsulates what Mathematics is about. If youâ€™ve yet to discover the label, itâ€™s the perfect place to start.