DJ’s Matt MacQueen & Dave Siska (San Francisco Bay Area, formerly Chicago). Who??
Underground DJ mixes for radio broadcast and download since 1998. We retired our weekly Chicago live FM radio broadcast ( 89.3 FM WNUR) on Friday nights in 2006, but are still recording new mixes to distribute on this website.
We mix a wide variety of funky futuristic records from all styles and years. Inspired by Detroit’s seminal open-minded radio DJs: from Electrifyin’ Mojo and The Wizard during the pre-techno and birth of techno in Detroit… to the Chicago radio hotmix shows on WBMX that flourished at the birth of house music… to the open-mindedness of David Mancuso’s Loft-era moods in NYC… to the expanses of Cosmic Disco and Deep Space electronix.
We seek out the freshest sounds on emerging underground labels and mix them with the roots, scribbling outside the lines of history and rigid sub-genres. Expect deep new sounds alongside timeless classics – from techno, electro, detroit/chicago house, soundtrack atmospheres, underground disco machine funk and weird nu-wave / italo / funk / soul dusties that slipped through the cracks of time (and fell onto our turntables).
We appreciate your feedback, suggestions, criticism – email us: info [at] sonicsunset . com
The best way to be informed when new mixes become available for download is to subscribe to our email list. We only send out emails when a new mix has been posted.
Also over the years we’ve included a lot of photos of detroit, chicago, and various record stores and label art with our mixes. See them in this Sonic Sunset album on Flickr.
Sonic Sunset (Ancient) History
A little more background for anyone still reading:
We hosted a broadcast live mix radio show (on 89.3 FM, WNUR Chicago) every Friday night for 7 years. The show was named Clinically Inclined after a classic Kirk Degiorgio track. For you old school listeners: our MP3 filenames still start with “ci_” for this reason. Dave went back a whopping 11 years total with WNUR, and invited Matt to fill some airtime one summer when he was Music Director at the station. Matt started out with a Monday night solo show on WNUR in 1998 called Bluemondays, and then was invited to join Dave’s prime 3 hour timeslot on Friday nights. Matt typically played earlier, and Dave later, though this varied for years.
Early on, we recorded many of the shows on MiniDisc format, and there was no practical way to do streaming online at the time. We tried some crude RealAudio streams in 1999, but they were a mess to set up and sound quality was still terrible, download speeds poor. So we published our text playlists on various forums, most frequently on the 313 detroit techno email list. (Matt was list admin for several years during the mid-90’s). We got a lot of emails from global music headz to archive the mixes for listeners well outside our broadcast range.
We realized our audience was much broader than the Chicago FM radio listening area. It was finally time to drag the show onto the web. For the site we needed a name easier to say, spell and type… we had to announce it on air all the time. We decided on Sonic Sunset, named for an atmospheric Detroit techno record by Model 500 (produced with help from Moritz von Oswald of Basic Channel). It also fit the mood we liked to set musically: stretching out Friday’s long transition into the weekend – as the sun was just going down on the city – and people tuning in were getting ready to go out, or just unwinding at home. We always got calls from people driving around in cars tuning in, which was fun to imagine from our lonely boxed-in studio on the north shore of Lake Michigan.
For the last few years we posted recordings of the live broadcast mixes on our website, and developed an global audience much farther than we ever imagined. New changes in family and geography meant we had to retire the live FM broadcast show. We had a long run, it was a blast, and a great way to end the week. It was a ritual for so many years, the show became a part of us. But due to continuing interest from our regular audience internet listeners, we’re continuing to record new shows and share them on this site. We intend to do at least one new mix a month and keep the spirit alive for those who appreciate our ultra-wide interpretation of moody dance music – past, present and future..
Records we stole show names from were inspired by:
Clinically Inclined by Future/Past.
Roll back electronic dance music to 1992. Clinically Inclined still sounds a bit, well, clinical. But a superb UK techno track by Future/Past (Kirk Degeorgio) with a hammering sample by Liaisons Dangereuses – Los Niños del Parque. The joint release was on UK’s A.R.T. imprint and Detroit’s fledgling Planet E label (started by Carl Craig) was a seminal moment when the “Detroit” sound had found its global techno peers across the Atlantic. The A.R.T. label had just begin to bring something just as magical to the Detroit techno-soul sound. Also contains the melancholy masterpiece Nort Route by Balil, a haunting track many see as one of the cornerstones of the “IDM” genre. Full info on Discogs. -Matt
Sonic Sunset by Model500
Sonic Sunset is the not best record ever from Detroit techno’s godfather Juan Atkins. But it is a damn good one, and when it came out in 1994 on the Belgian R&S imprint, it didn’t make huge waves. But over the years it has aged well and there’s nothing else quite like it. A solid, moody 5 track 2xLP of pure warm, dark and spacey techno soul. This record was healing for me. I was driving 8 hours home to Michigan from a huge outdoor party in the midwest US. I was pummeled by harder, abrasive and near-gabber side of techno for 3 days in the rain, and I was sick of relentless 909’s and 303’s squelching at 140bpm. I was burned out and wondering if I could still relate to techno in a deeper way anymore. But I had recorded this Model 500 album for the car (cassettes!) and during a gorgeous drive alongside Lake Michigan, I listened to it end to end. It was healing. It was pure Detroit deep space with a Berlin touch. It was at this moment I realized this ‘kind’ of techno I had really grown to love, and this record at the time epitomized the warm “Detroit is a feeling” techno-soul sound for me. It’s still so full of atmosphere, depth and feeling. Full info on Discogs.