Terranova | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I admit my recommendation for the Berlin DJ triumvirate Terranova ain't based on much, but what little I've heard sure sounded good. The only group member who might have any stateside name recognition is Fetisch, who moved to New York in the late 80s to immerse himself in the city's thriving hip-hop scene. DJing around town, he caught the attention of Gee Street Records honcho Jon Baker, which eventually led to production work for Stereo MC's and X Clan. Fetisch returned to Berlin before the decade ended, and for most of the 90s he's been working with DJ Kaos and a keyboardist called Meister as Terranova. On the two 12-inch singles I've heard, Fetisch's hip-hop aesthetic provides a solid foundation for the others' dark synth swirls and spacey organ lines. The combo's probably too trippy for the dance floor and too ornamental for hip-hop heads, but its infectious off-kilter grooves are great living-room listening. More relevant to this gig is Terranova's just-released contribution to the DJ-Kicks series, which has allowed electronica artists like Carl Craig, Kruder & Dorfmeister, and DJ Cam to record highly personal mix CDs. The trio's choice of material ranges from underground hip-hop (Priest, East Flatbush Project) to blunted ambience (Howie B., DJ Spooky) to funky techno (Patrick Pulsinger, BFC). The mix doesn't match beats seamlessly, but it often makes interesting connections between disparate pieces. As on the CD, at Smart Bar Terranova will augment its spins with various keyboard overlays and tape effects. Sunday, 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Ali Kepenek.

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