on the air

Who
DJ’s Matt MacQueen & Dave Siska (San Francisco Bay Area, formerly Chicago). Who??

What
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.

Why
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).

Contact Us
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.

Photos!
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.
clinically inclined
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
m500 - sonic sunset
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.

-Matt

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20 Responses to “About”


  1. 1 jon bagis March 5, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    A friend told me about this site ..i am completely blown away as this type of music was my life from the age of about14 until i started a love affair with opiates in my late 20’s…while browsing the content of your site i was thrown into deep despair as i owned a large chunk of these tunes and while possesed by opiates i sold them…Now recovering at the age of 34 this site and others like it shall be a powerful tool on my path back to humanity ………THANKS THANKS AND MORE THANKS …Sonic Sunset and its brothers and sisters have most probably saved my life …P>S I also owned sonic sunset and i agree , Juan, Derrick, Carl, Mike and all the rest, you know who im talking about they do not produce music they produce pure therapy/medicine….ALL MY LOVE TO ALL INVOLVED….Peace out

  2. 4 MacQ March 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Jon – thanks for ‘coming home’ to these sounds, really glad to make the connection and share the mindset. peace, Matt

  3. 5 TROUBLESHOOTER March 7, 2009 at 12:30 am

    UPON LISTENING BACK OVER SOME OF THE EXCEPTIONAL NOT TO MENTION UPLIFTING BEATS,PARTICULARLY A COUPLE OF MR SISKA’S SETS ITS A PLEASURE TO SPREAD THE WORD TO ONE OR TWO CLOSE COMRADES THAT APPRECIATE AND KNOW QUALITY WHEN THEY HERE IT. FOR SOME PEOPLE CERTAIN GENRE’S AND SCENES OF MUSIC ARE A FAD, FOR US BOYS FROM GLASGOW IT ALWAYS HAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A OF WAY LIFE.PEACE BE WITH YOU AMIGO’S…. P.S. A PARTICULAR SHOUT OUT TO JON BAGIS FOR REDISCOVERING YOUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE MUSIC AND FOR BEING A SPECIAL TROOPER

  4. 6 jon bagis March 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    OK i didnn’t exactly hold back on the ol’ reveal the soul who, what i am thing. But my soul is pure (i truly believe sounds with such magical power would not click with an impure soul) .When Mr TROUBLE put your gem of a site my way I did go abit silly. To get a wee shout back from yourself …well thanks . …thnx again ..im plugged right back in and to all involved cheers for the free therapy i’ll spread the love …

  5. 7 Ka§par October 8, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Oh man, it’s been a while since I stumbled upon such a great source of inspiration. I hold a similar site, with a comparable concept: http://WWW.MAMILO.ORG. Not all our guest dj’s can spawn an elegant array of music that is eclectic yet held together by the quality, as you can. But, if you shift around our archives, many of the mixes I recorded more-a-less have a similar attitude.

    Congratulations for a great job, please drop by, I’d love to show you my work : http://www.myspace.com/djkaspar

    all the best

  6. 8 macqueen October 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    thanks.. I dig your site imagery, downloading #21 now. good looking tracklist. peace from Chicago, Matt

  7. 9 Don Simon November 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Hi!

    Just wanted to point you in the direction of our new label out of Stockholm!

    We release creative and forward thinking artist within IDM, techno and minimal. Always with a certain melodic and melancholic vibe. Ten top notch releases so far. Pre-listen and download for free from our web:

    http://www.astorbell.com

    xo,

    Don Simon

  8. 10 Tracy December 12, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Word. Many thanks for everything you do at Sonic Sunset.

    Peace.

  9. 11 clubnet October 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Awesome sounds man! Thanks

  10. 12 Reza Gerretsen February 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    A friend drew my attention to your site. Next week I’ll be in Chicago with some friends. Any chance of me seeing you performing?
    Greetz from The Hague, The Netherlands, Reza Gerretsen.

    • 13 dytiq February 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for the comment, and greetings from the West Coast U.S.! We’ve both relocated from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area. Definitely keep an eye out for some of our guests, though – Steve Tang, Karl Meier, and Jeff Pietro all occasionally play in Chicago.

  11. 14 melodic electronica February 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Just discovered the web site and i am looking forward to listen to your mixes.

  12. 15 Fred May 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    The kings are dead, Matt and Dave are Dead, long live Matt and Dave…Savage Progress! timeless, don’t ever go away again x.

  13. 16 The Baggage Handlers September 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Been listening to your mixes for years. Our synthpop/techno project: http://thebaggagehandlers.bandcamp.com/. If you’d like a promo copy, just email us!

    -The Baggage Handlers

  14. 17 Mark Millner December 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Love the website! I’m 31 and started listening to WNUR when I was 16. It’s good to see you guys are still going strong. Keep up the good work!

    -Mark M

  15. 18 matt holland May 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Not sure when you guys updated the “about” page but it’s great. Thanks for taking us down your memory lane.

  16. 19 Brut33 April 21, 2014 at 2:29 am

    coming to you from downunder. I’ve been digging through old mp3 and reliving some Oct 2004 goodness, glad to see you guys still doing what you do. don’t stop!

  17. 20 nano November 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    looking forward to the next show


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