Chicago DJ and producer Composuresquad draws from pop’s deep well for his complex debut album | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago DJ and producer Composuresquad draws from pop’s deep well for his complex debut album


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Chicago DJ and producer Jermaine Collins, aka Composuresquad, became a pillar of the city’s nightlife scene after hooking up with local dance collective and record label Them Flavors in 2013. He joined the crew the following year, and soon the name “Composuresquad” on a party’s bill became a sure sign it was worth attending. His interest in DJing kept him glued to the decks, which helps explain why he’s only now issuing his first full-length, Auto D. (Issa Party). Collins treats pop, R&B, dance, and hip-hop like one big color wheel—without disrupting the mood of a track, he can use it to exploring the gradients where all these styles shade into each other. “Wormhole” spices up a techno synth line and a watery trance loop with constantly shifting, criss-crossing percussion that evokes the adrenalized euphoria of footwork, while the wistful “Grew Up, Never Going Out Sad” recalls quixotically romantic R&B and spacey experimental dance. On “Blood,” Chicago rapper Saint Icky drops melty verses that tap into the track’s sublime and spine-tingling frequencies—which Collins conjures with a mix of funk carioca percussion, alternately gleeful and gloomy keys, and video-game coin sound effects. Whatever stylistic direction he takes next, he clearly has the intuition to pull it off.   v

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