Chris Widman is a Chicago DJ that defies easy classification. As a Smartbar resident and host of the weekly radio program Abstract Science (since 1997), he is at the forefront of breaking new styles, re-introducing forgotten music and showcasing import..
Chris Widman is a Chicago DJ that defies easy classification. As a Smartbar resident and host of the weekly radio program Abstract Science (since 1997), he is at the forefront of breaking new styles, re-introducing forgotten music and showcasing important touring acts. When DJing for the dancefloor, Widman practices his own form of crowd-pleasing sonic warfare: mixing dubstep, techno and anything else he can get away with.
Over the years, Widman has DJed with a diverse cast of luminaries - dubstep heavyweights Benga, Caspa, Kode9 and Skream; sonic innovators Amon Tobin, Apparat, Dosh, Monolake, Plaid and Telefon Tel Aviv; new-school beat makers Edit of the Glitch Mob, Nosaj Thing, Phon.o; crowd favorites Booka Shade, The Field, Moderat, Modeselektor, and Vitalic; techno stalwarts Deadbeat, John Tejada, Matthew Dear and Sleeparchive; Ninja Tune's Cinematic Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist and Mr. Scruff; bands M83, M.Doughty of Soul Coughing and Ulrich Schnauss; and classic electronic artists Nightmares on Wax, The Orb, Unkle and Meat Beat Manifesto - at Chicago's best venues and institutions: Metro, Empty Bottle, Abbey Pub, Lincoln Hall, Chicago's Museum of Contempory Art, Resfest, the Chicago World Music Festival and the Chicago Cultural Center with residencies at Smartbar and Sonotheque.
Widman also records and performs live with Colin Harris as Quadratic. Since their first EP release in 2008, the long-simmering collaboration has impressed Chicago crowds with dynamic live performances. A batch of new Quadratic songs, honed on-stage opening for Rukso, Hudson Mohawke, Daedelus, King Cannibal, and Kode9, are set for release this fall.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Widman started DJing straight out of high-school drum line. After hearing the frenetic percussion and massive bass of Jungle music at a local hip hop party, he bought his first 12", Shy Fx's "Original Nuttah", the next day and quickly expanded his scope to Chicago house, midwest techno, hip hop and acid jazz. Modeling his technique after the area's cultural vanguards - DJs Joc Max and Ray Velasquez, who both emphasized musical programming, tight mixing and playing great music - Widman starting DJing (as DJ Quest) and throwing raves in Kansas City with schoolmate Henry Self. In 1997, at the University of Missouri, Widman and Self first broadcast Abstract Science on KCOU 88.1FM. With the help of Luke Stokes, the show moved to WLUW 88.7FM Chicago with the Abstract Science crew in tow - joined by support members Colin Harris and Kim Schlechter. Widman quickly established his first Chicago residency at Smartbar (Abstract Sessions, 2001-2003) and has gone on to DJ and promote countless events in the city, and perform across the United States and Europe.
"...early arrival proved to have its benefits in the form of Chris Widman, host of WLUW's Abstract Science radio show. Widman is a tireless cultivator of electronic music in all its forms and a bright light in the city when it comes to bringing acts to town that we would otherwise never have the pleasure of seeing live. Widman built the intensity perfectly. I almost lost it at one point when he dropped this cut that sounded like Thom Yorke backed by Bugz in the Attic on PCP. A few more stunners followed, including "These Words," one of the standouts from Martyn's recent full length, and next thing we knew the music and lights were fading in preparation for the main event."
- Joshua P. Ferguson, "Live review: Moderat at Bottom Lounge" Time Out Chicago
"...the sound track pulses, shimmers, and echoes with creeping tension..."
- Brian Nemtusak, Chicago Reader, sound design review for "The Bubonic Humunculous"
Selected discography Chris Widman
quadratic-"electrocute"-la folia recordings
bobby braun-”applepicker (quadratic rmx)”-sleazetone recordings
quadratic-”rotten fruit ep”-la folia recordings
inanna-”traces of the sun (quadratic rmx)”-la folia recordings