By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
A lot of observers out there still don't believe that the Denver-Boulder area has a dance scene, and Hardy Kalisher of Boulder's Sol Productions knows why. "I see us as having three separate music communities," he says. "One is the promoters, who spend most of their time thinking about how they can throw a party and get a lot of people to show up. Two is the patrons, who are listening to CDs and watching MTV, but they may not be familiar with a lot of the music that's being played at the parties. And three is the DJs and the producers, who tend to be on the cutting edge but who may not have as much of a presence with the other two groups."
In an effort to alter this situation, Kalisher, his brother Lucas Kalisher and producer/performer Mark Read have created Club Records, a Boulder-based imprint dedicated to spreading the word about Colorado dance-music makers. The Kalishers, in particular, sport an ideal background for such a mission: They've fronted their own dance-oriented firm, Sol Productions, and participated in Sol Jazz Massive, a spin-off dance combo profiled in these pages ("Massive Attack, Boulder Style," January 24, 1996). Last December the brothers branched out with Club, a store located at 1521 Pearl Street in Boulder, that specializes in DJ gear, clothing and a large selection of electronic and dance music on CD and vinyl. The label was conceived as a natural extension of the retail outlet, but with the impending release of Melt, a twelve-cut compilation disc, it's already becoming something more--a forum for a wide range of Colorado talent. "The name of the CD is important," Kalisher declares, "because it has a lot of different styles of electronic all melting together on it. But I guess you could say the general vibe is more groovy and less industrial."
The entertainers on the offering are a varied lot. Kalisher describes Sundog, a native of England now living in Capitol Hill, as working in the trip-hop/drum-and-bass mode, while Ben Pound and Sean Biddle, partners who perform under the moniker Technicolour, deliver what he calls "discoey house and progressive techno. They've been playing quite a few raves, and they've been getting requests from some of the bigger names in dance music to do remixes." Kalisher says another Melt recruit, Rockstar Weekend, specializes in "trip-hop on the jazzy tip," while ABA Structure, a Canadian duo that recently moved to Colorado, "is probably one of the most musically oriented of the electronic bands I've heard. One of the musicians will play his violin through an effects processor while the other will be doing other things. Their music goes from dubby trance to drum and bass." Apparatus offers another unique twist on formula: It's a jungle group that features an actual, flesh-and-blood timekeeper. "I only know of one other jungle band in the country that has a live drummer, so people are really interested in hearing these guys," Kalisher notes. Meanwhile, Chris Fonya, a Dallas transplant living in Loveland, issues trance epics; Dan Asti, an alumnus of Boulder High School who's returned to the region after several years in Scotland, creates hard techno; Aquatic Ape, another Englisher with Boulder ties, offers up (Kalisher's words) "anti-establishment conspiracy-theory jungle"; and nineteen-year-old Chachi Bong focuses on the warmer side of trance. "The funny thing is, he has a girlfriend named Joni," Kalisher reveals with a laugh.
The last three artists on Melt have the choicest credentials. Dr. Decent, a Colorado-to-New York transplant, contributed to MTV's Amp and collaborated with big-name turntable jockeys such as DJ Spooky; Aquatherium, who moved from San Francisco to Colorado two years ago, has more than forty singles and a full-length on Moist Records under his belt; and Club co-owner Read is a Philadelphian who has rubbed tone-arms with talents like Josh Wink during his ten years in the electronic-music field. "It's really an amazing bunch of people," Kalisher enthuses, "and most of them had no idea that there were so many other people doing stuff like them so close. It was great to get them all together in the same room."
The official release party for Melt takes place on Friday, October 10, at Millennium in Boulder; call 413-1238 for directions and more details. But if all goes as planned, the CD will be only the first in a series of Club Records products. Kalisher promises that the company will feature each act from the sampler on vinyl EPs that will appear at a rate of one per month for the next year. "We've signed everyone to the CD and EP deal," he goes on. "After that, we're not sure what's going to happen. Everyone has different goals, but I would love to see these guys doing some major stuff. The whole point is that there have been people making electronic music in Colorado for years, but no one's really marketed them all together. And that's what we're trying to do."
Folks who occasionally pay attention to media organs other than this one may have already heard that impresario Barry Fey divulged last week that he's signed a multi-year consulting deal with Ascent Entertainment, the parent company of the mighty Colorado Avalanche and the lowly Denver Nuggets. But for you loyal Westword readers, here's the (relatively) skinny.