MARk FARINA with KING SUNSHINE and DJs SNEAK, GRYPHON and JASON HODGES at Kool Haus (132 Queen's Quay East), Saturday (May 4). $20 advance at Play De Record, Eastern Bloc, Metropolis and Vice. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Farina is one of the only DJs spinning who has successfully made a career for himself in two genres at the same time.
Loved for his downtempo Mushroom Jazz mix series, he's equally respected in the house scene for his deep and dubby house sets.
His house credentials come naturally. He grew up in Chicago and cut his teeth early producing a weekly radio show with a young Derrick Carter.
His newest disc, Connect, falls under the house umbrella and sees Farina at his best. Ranging in sound from the accordion-drenched deep house of the opening cut, Boca De Bandoneon, to the raw disco cut-up funk of Diz's Yokoona Skateboard 2, Connect takes the feel of classic Chicago house and applies a wash of dubby San Francisco-style echo and shimmer.
This is the first time Farina's included one of his own productions, Radio, in one of his mixes. It's an interesting track, but also rough and unfinished to the point of being unfocused. Within the mix it works, but it makes me want to ask, Why is a DJ expected to produce?
Farina deserves respect as a DJ -- he's paid his dues, he has the skills, and he has two very distinct musical identities. As a producer, he's hardly been prolific, but why should he be expected to be? Too often, major-label electronic artists disappoint their fans live with amateurish DJ sets. Unfortunately, writing a song and mixing records are two very different skills.
Farina plays Kool Haus on Saturday (May 4).