Music » Livewire

Kevin Cunningham

The Jungle Lounge, featuring DJ K.C., Tik Tak, Still Life, Pollen, and MC Lotus Child. Wednesday, July 4, at Spy.

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Although Kevin Cunningham, who goes by DJ K.C., has lived in Chicago for the past three years, he got his start here in the mid-'90s, regularly spinning drum 'n' bass and house at local raves. In 1996, he linked up with Cleveland's Tik Tak to found the Baseheads crew, and the two frequently played side-by-side gigs on three turntables, with one handling the mixing and the other laying down scratches in a mishmashed fusion of hip-hop and drum 'n' bass. By 1997, the two were playing raves all over the Midwest in cities such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and even St. Louis. But while Tik Tak stayed in Cleveland, Cunningham moved to Chicago and subsequently started producing his own drum 'n' bass tracks. He found an early outlet for his material on Canvas Recordings, the drum 'n' bass outpost of Bad Boy Bill's Mix Connection Music empire, and has since gone on to become a regular contributor to Raw Kuts, a Rawkus subsidiary that features American drum 'n' bass producers. In the next few months, he plans to release "Fixation" on a split single with Embee and MK2 on MAD Bass Records, and "Plinko"/"Telepathy" on Chicago's Bassdrive Recordings. Both "Fixation" and "Plinko" feature harrowing ebbs of synth strings and deep, balmy exhalations that impart a type of sci-fi suspense to his minimal, driving style. Cunningham also frequently works in jazzy vibraphone keys that contrast well with his buffeting bass lines. At his last appearance at the Jungle Lounge, Cunningham displayed both a keenly developed feel for letting the bass line of each new selection eclipse its predecessor and a welcome disregard for the hardcore revivalist trend currently going around the jungle scene. You can expect the same attitude from him when he returns.

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