Russian techno artist Nina Kraviz shows why she’s become known as one of the world’s best electronic DJs | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Russian techno artist Nina Kraviz shows why she’s become known as one of the world’s best electronic DJs



Russian techno producer and DJ Nina Kraviz abandoned a future in dentistry as her international music career started to take shape. Bouncing from one gig locale to the next, she lived out of suitcases while the years melted by. One night some years ago, in an undisclosed hotel room in an unmentioned locale (unmentioned, perhaps, since forgotten—Kraviz travels so frequently who could blame her for maybe not remembering details such as when and where?), she turned to music while she was recovering from a broken heart. Out came the irresistible “You Take.” Kraviz calls it a house song, and its lithe four-on-the-floor beat and rhythmic swinging bass fit the bill, but it is also pure pop. The sullen melody of her sparse vocal hook echoes romantic despair, but despite its emotionally complexity, it lands as easily and accurately as any Top 40 song that’s planted a flag in my hippocampus. Released in October as single-sided white-label 12-inch on her own imprint label, “You Take” was preceded by July’s Pochuvstvui EP, on which she takes steely, corrugated techno rhythms and beams them into the outer reaches of space. The minimalism of the EP’s title track complements the layered dreamlike melodies on both versions of the B-side number “You Are Wrong.” Kraviz succeeds by following her guts, which can make it difficult to figure out where she’s going but easy to fall into the spell she makes with her own music and her adventurous mixes (such as her 2016 contribution to !K7’s crucial DJ-Kicks series). As she’s become a key performer on the global stage—Mixmag just named her DJ of the year—she’s found ways of ratcheting up her ambition; in the fall she spun a set atop a 150-foot water tower in Finland. Tonight’s show is underground, sure, but it should also allow Kraviz to give the crowd an incomparable experience.   v

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