Clubland was devastated by the passing of Chicago acid house pioneer DJ Spank-Spank of Phuture, the groundbreaking group he formed with DJ Pierre and Herb J in 1985, on September 21.
During his three-decade career Spank-Spank (a.k.a. Earl Smith, Jr.) recorded a multitude of productions and remixes for labels including Traxx Records, Strictly Rhythm, Emotive, Dance Mania, Force Inc, Djax Up-Beats and Music Man. In May, Spank-Spank suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in June. On September 18, he declared on what would be his last post on Facebook, “I love my Church!”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Spank-Spank’s family pay the balance of medical expenses.
According to the page, “The Smith Family has been left with a tremendous burden after his initial stroke a few months ago and we ask of you to help them with the expenses of recent medical expenses and services..Spank would give you the last dime in his pocket if you needed it. A humble, generous, God fearing man. Not much has to be said about his amazing character. Please help and support any way you can.”
In related news, the fine folks at EPM Music just posted an unreleased DJ mix created by Spanky in 2005. If you make a minimum pledge of $20 USD via their site, you will be entered to win one a handful of select items donated by friends of Spanky and Phuture. For more details and to download the mix for free click here.
Roland’s iconic TR-909 has often imitated but never duplicated. Partially analog, partially sample-based, the 909, which made history as the first MIDI-equipped drum machine, was introduced in 1984. While only 10,000 units were manufactured, this lil’ beige box gave forward-thinking producers in Chicago, New York, Detroit and London the ability to collectively forge the blueprint of hip-hop, house and techno.
All these years later the 909’s influence continues to be heard. We asked producers intimate with the Roland TR-909 to wax poetic about this magical machine that’s been the heartbeat of several generations.
Acid house pioneer DJ Pierre has tapped Russian vocalist/producer Xenia Beliayeva for his Afro Acid project focusing on unsung talent. Beliayeva, a music industry veteran who has worked at various promotion positions and has issued tracks on tracks on Datapunk as well as Ever Since, her 2010 album for Shitkatapult, brings her vocal talent to “XTC.” The track, which features an intentional monotone vocal from Beliayeva, will include remixes from DJ Pierre (Acid Face), Chicago’s Angel Alanis and Denver’s Greg Grajek.
In addition to working as a DJ, most notably as resident at her Kill Them All events in Hamburg and on her Internet radio show, Beliayeva has also directed music videos for Detroit Grand Pubahs and Oliver Huntemann. Could a music video with DJ Pierre be in the works?
In the meantime, “XTC” will be released on Afro Acid Digital on May 14.