Now that 2012 has kicked off, we’d like to take a second to kick back, and run down the past year’s happenings on the program. We’re closing in on our four year anniversary of broadcasting A Downtown Affair on WNYU Radio, and it’s a real special thing to keep the privilege of owning full discretion over a weekly FM radio broadcast in New York. We’ll be pressing on in 2012 with a continued focus on bringing in guest DJs who inspire us and make this program as dynamic as it is. As I said last year, its the comfort of knowing there are folks out there in radio and internet land who are genuinely into our thing and make it all the more worthwhile for us to come in week in, week out to do that very thing – so thank you! A big, big, thanks also goes out to those friends of the program who have, and continue to link us up with peoples in the greater community of diggers, DJs and collectors – y’all know how you are!
Here we go…
The broadcast year began with Tackleberry lighting up the airwaves with a soulful pair of solo sets during the first week. We linked up with Joseph Colbourne and convinced him to drop by the studio while he was in New York, and we were fortunate that he did as his set brought us a sense of the vibe struck at his FOXY party up in Boston. The Snack ‘n C’mish boys dropped in the following week with a boogie-flavored set, including some original edits, productions, and gnarly 12″ pic sleeve imports from the mid-80s that sound WAY cooler than the covers lead us to believe. Our good friend Mikie Lixxx closed out January right before bidding farewell to New York, and he did so in a FUN and FUNKY fashion. In February, Tackleberry sowed the seeds for his Sunday Gospel series – the once weekly mini-broadcast of Awe-inspired soulful music presented by rotating gospel collectors – which we pray will be resurrected soon in it’s beautiful irregularity (Easter?). No ADA broadcast year is complete without a visit from Newark-based Peter Reyes… It’s always more ‘studio performance’ than DJ set, with the in-studio antics spilling onto the FM broadcast, which is usually a sojourn to the era of the discotheque. For Valentine’s Day we bundled together a collection of modern soul favorites to display the more tender sensibility that sometimes gets lost in the fray. We booked Sharegroove for a return visit, during which they again put their expansive taste of dance music on display. The esteemed JBX is always a friend we are looking to have join us on the show; aside from linking us up with some of the guests mentioned here, his sets always have us talking for weeks. Mcboingboing and Josh Dunn came together for a guest set on ADA under their production moniker LGK, displaying the deeper house sensibility at work from these esteemed DJ/collectors. Tackleberry and I manned the console the next week in anticipation of the upcoming exclusive mix from Flemming Dalum, Empire State of Italo; this one was a treat – FD loves italo, and this mix gave me a broader idea of what that tag can be applied to (plus the cover has a flying saucer shining a beam down on the Empire State Building!). Nydia Ines dropped in for a fab, all-45s soul set the next week, followed by Andy Noble who played some lost classics from the modern soul underground. Johan from Tres Lingerie popped in last minute to share a touch of the SF-boogie passion the week before Frantz Barosy made his overdue return visit. Tackleberry did a mix swap with Seth Kolski, who co-runs the SWEET POWER radio program on KUSP in Santa Cruz. We aired his gorgeous DISCO mix in early May to mark the onset of Spring. Frank Gossner and Uchenna joined us in advance of the latter’s compilation release, Brand New Wayo. Uchenna primed us on the vibrant music scene of Lagos and beyond that gave rise to many of the African disco, funk and boogie records that he and Frank played on the program that night. Not too soon after his last trip, Mr. Reyes joined us again, this time with our pal Stegs from Vietcong Disco for a Counselor’s session before one of the several Camp Debonair parties we put on in 2011.
By the time June came around, we started breaking out those warm weather records for transition to summertime in New York. During that month we also had Old Chris drop in for a back to back set with Tackleberry, followed by JBX’s return appearance for another night of timeless soul and funk selections. Next up: Joseph Colbourne & Mikie Lixxx came together to play a big time disco radio broadcast before their Bionic Boogie party on Pride Weekend in NYC. On a last minute tip we welcomed DJ Sami Dariush from Helsinki for an impromptu appearance that ended up leaving an indelible mark on the radio calendar – this one was straight ahead devastating modern soul grooves, which we’re privileged to have for posterity as the holy grail count on this one is high. After a string of solid disco / boogie sets in the first few summer months, our collaborative set with longtime friend Bennett4$enate was a nice palate cleanser. We gave it our go at a Quiet Storm edition of ADA, realizing that in our selections, earnest soul ballads from mid-seventies vocal groups had as much relevance for us as rhythm tracked, syncopated, sax-backed R&B rockers from the fleet of young male major label artists at the beginning of the eighties. Color commentary was all over this one to boot. Soon after we were fortunate enough to piece together the famed Foreal People for a radio takeover, Aside from the illustrious vibe these three (Josh Dunn, Love on the Run, Ben Manzone) strike when playing records together, this one was special because if we dial back to 2008, FP was one of the first guest sets we had on the program. Next week was all Boogie Man, with a finely programmed mix that touched on some classics that we’ve slept on while stringing together breaks on doubles and not missing a beat. Sport Casual of Future Funk fame then made his first appearance on the show, weaving an eclectic set of reggae pop covers, disco rap, inept boogie obscurities, and a even a touch of Brazilian. The Paris-based Waxist Selecta sent us an exclusive mix that we aired in the heat of the summer that provided some relief in the form of Hawaiian soul and other rare groove material. Kamui came through for a return visit to pile on the 45s the next week, before Mama Bear joined us from Chi-town and introduced us to the Sweaterfunk vibe that is cultivated at the SF-based party. Our man BLT then joined us for a pre-Birthday radio blast which was super fun. To kick off October we pitched tents up in the studio Camp Deb style, inviting our pal Stegs along with Henry Maldonado and Doug Gomez from the Play It Loud! crew to conjure up the musical program for the following night’s festivities. Heck, we even pinned down the ever-elusive Love On The Run for a solo appearance, when the man behind the internet hideout SECRET RENDEZVOUS invited us to take a peek into his ANALOG BEDROOM. October closed out with a string of hosts-only programs, which are always a chance to stretch out in the studio and premier some of the new finds; two of these book ended a special ABRACADABRA Halloween broadcast. Joel Stones came through on the promo streak for his successfully funded documentary Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas to play, amongst other things, some of the Brazilian psychedelic music the film aims to explore. The next week it was Asaf Segal – who’s always bringing through records unheard, unreal, and downright fabulous – staying true to form with his set in mid-November. We then had the Names You Can Trust crew join us and pass the baton in a series of impressive sets covering both new and old synth-heavy boogie, classic disco and soul.
As the year wound down we dialed up MX Greens to come through and help us welcome in the holiday cheer; we were blessed with the 2.5 hr definitive diggers Christmas MIX. Sport Casual & Tackleberry then dug in to share an eclectic mix of island soul, disco medleys, gospel and mid-eighties boogie. Danny G and Matt Brownell pair as Sound Club, and they turned us onto their brand of alternative dance selections. To close out the year we toasted the airwaves with a Cocktail Set, an idea of ours that enabled us to indulge ourselves in the schmaltzier side of the catalogue, where jazz versions of club standards stood strong alongside over-orchestrated, upper crust disco, without forgetting the need to slow things down and find a partner for the next dance.
We’re looking forward to keep stride and keep this thing going in the same direction… Look out for new guests and return visits from trusted folks who have joined us in the past, along with several special-format shows, and a slight re-design on Let’s Get Serious. We’ll be ringing in the four year anniversary of A Downtown Affair next Saturday, January 21st at the Counting Room in Brooklyn… come join us!