Chicago experimentalist M. Sage twists a Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic into an eerie shadow of itself

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Experimental musician Matthew Sage teaches a couple English classes as an adjunct at Wilbur Wright College, but because that apparently isn't enough to keep him occupied he also runs Patient Sounds, one of Chicago's best microlabels. Since he launched it in 2009 (when he still lived in Fort Collins, Colorado), he's put out more than 80 full-lengths, EPs, and splits, mostly on cassette; under the name M. Sage, he appears on eight of them, including the ambient album Needleworks, which came out in July. He also has a tune on a Halloween-inspired compilation cassette called Death on the Hour: Aural Apparitions From the Geographic North, released this month by Atlanta label Geographic North. Sage covered Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You," trading the original's sauntering groove and sassy horn stabs for muffled beats and gloomy synths—and Hawkins's desperate, unhinged howling for faint, ghostly groans. It's definitely eerie enough for All Hallows' Eve.


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