COLLECTION SELECTION: Liz Martinez
The February 3rd, 2013 edition of Collection Selection will be a joyous occasion on multiple fronts. First as a return of Liz Martinez (our featured collector) to the decks after almost a decade of DJ hiatus, and second as a dual-celebration of her birthday (which is just 2 days before the gig) and the birthday of Trenchermen beverage director Tona Palomino (on the night of the gig). Martinez is head sommelier at The Purple Pig, Chicago’s favorite island of good taste on the otherwise flavor-barren Magnificent Mile, and prior to being so (and being of our city) she was an active DJ on the turn-of-the-millennium San Francisco House scene. She’ll be joined on the turntables at Trenchermen by her friend/DJ partner Tavio, who over the last few months has been helping her shake the dust off her vinyl collection. Thankfully for the dusk-shaking, Martinez was able to let us into her apartment in Humboldt Park and give a quick look at some of her favorite discs, making a nice preview of sounds to expect on February 3rd when she spins live in the Trench Bar.
We plopped on the floor to go through her records, which she stores in true DJ fashion.
I noticed she had more than a handful of Mesoamerican trinkets hanging around the apartment, which I would have assumed were merely collected as an expression of her Mexican heritage, but she explained they were the spoils of many trips to Oaxaca when she used to work for Rick Bayless at Topo la Bampo.
If one were to seek insight into the house/electronic sound of Martinez’s time in San Francisco, this compilation would be a good start.
There was a British DJ named Harvey who would travel to SF regularly, and she’d always go hear him spin because he dropped the crazy weirdo funk grooves she loves - as heard on this Spaced Out comp. Harvey would usually play with the Wicked crew, a group of active DJs who were also responsible for the Grayhound Recordings label.
Martinez has a handful of Grayhound 12"s in her collection.
Another label she was way into, Toko. I like it for the cool stock packaging; she likes Toko because their sounds usually have “a good balance of funk and strong backbone.” I kidded her that she was speaking like a true sommelier.
This High in a Basementcompilation has music by some of her favorite UK labels - specifically Nuphonic, a darker, ballsier House label, which she explained is her preferred style. When I asked her about Diva House, she grimaced a little bit.
Nice 12" of King Britt (formerly of Digable Planets) and Josh Wink, who Martinez saw DJ at a rave in a dried-out lake near Las Vegas where the speakers were hanging from giant cranes. Another DJ at that rave was Dimitri, who’s known for his work with Deee-Lite.
Towa Tei also did duties for Deee-Lite once upon a time. Martinez likes his album Future Listening because it reminds her of The Avalanches, one of her all-time favorite groups.
Martinez is particularly proud of this Madonna 12", her 1982 debut single Everybody, which is deceivingly non-Madonna-like in the cover art. No poses being struck here; it almost looks like it could be a Jamaica Funk or Hip Hop record.
On my way out, she noted that the large wall mural in her living room was already there when she moved in, and that she hated it at first but has grown to love it. It occurred to me that this mural situation could also be a life metaphor for someone who moved to Chicago from San Francisco.