Kstarke | Randolph Cafe, Chicago Cultural Center | Dance | Chicago Reader

Kstarke Free All Ages Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Fri., May 20, 12 p.m. 2016

The history of Chicago house music is labyrinthian and imposing, its chapters overstuffed with characters whose experiences and travails could each fill a novel. But within this glut of riches there will always be some folks who don’t get as much attention as they should—and I always think Kevin Starke is one who deserves a little more love. Starke’s worn several hats over the years, among them DJ, producer, and head of a label called KStarke Records, which shares its name with his delightful Ukrainian Village record shop hidden in plain sight on Western Avenue (I never walk away from there empty-handed or without a deeper appreciation for the talkative man who runs it). Local DJ and producer Jerome Derradji must share my affinity for Starke—in late 2014 his great Still Music imprint dropped a double LP of work attributed to Starke’s “Jackmaster Hater” alter ego. Kstarke Records (The House That Jackmaster Hater Built) compiles obscure recordings that had been about as attainable as a golden amulet buried within the pyramids. Mixed in are Starke’s own creations, like the delirious, nefarious “Passion,” which melds what sound like samples of screams ripped from horror films with harrowing synths dragged through the muck. Today’s set is the finale for the current season of the excellent Wired Fridays, the Chicago Cultural Center’s free noontime electronic-music series that’s showcased luminaries such as DJ Rashad, Cajmere, and Jesse Saunders. I suspect Starke will find a way to make this finale a memorable one.

Leor Galil