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Chicago label Star Creature Universal Vibrations launches boogie into the future

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Chicago DJ Tim Zawada, cofounder of nightlife collective Boogie Munsters, goes to great lengths in his search for amazing tracks: as he told the site SF Station in 2012, he’s discovered new wave records in a rural Indiana barn and lucked into a collection of funk seven-inches while doing post-Katrina repairs on a house in Gulfport, Mississippi. Around five years ago, Zawada began to notice a constellation of small labels releasing new takes on boogie, a futuristic funk sound whose synths evoke a battery of computer hardware and whose bass is so dense you could bounce a quarter off it. In 2015 he put his huge network and impeccable taste to work by teaming up with Ben Van Dyke to launch the label Star Creature Universal Vibrations, which has quickly become one of most interesting in Chicago. This showcase features two artists the label is proudest to have signed. Mexico City duo Shiro Schwarz headline behind their February single, “Together” b/w “Boogie Ghost,” which flirts with boogie’s chintziest sounds. The other big attraction is a set by Chicagoan Donnell Pitman, who’s backed by Kumar McMillan of Plustapes and his band Wings of Sunshine. Pitman released a handful of sought-after disco and boogie singles in the late 70s and early 80s, and a few years back the Numero Group included his grand disco single “Love Explosion” on a compilation honoring forgotten UHF show Chicago Party and rescued his unreleased tunes “Burning Up” and “The Taste of Honey” by pressing them as a seven-­inch. Pitman just dropped a single via Star Creature Universal Vibrations, “Do You Wanna” b/w “Need My Love,” recorded with Wings of Sunshine, and on these two new boogie songs his supple singing sounds as suave as ever. Tonight is not only a release party but also Pitman’s first live performance in three decades—which alone is worth the price of admission.   v

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