By any other name

Satellite becomes Mass Muzik; SoulKore in Dudley Square
By DAVID DAY  |  May 5, 2006

Pat Fontes and his new sign
Pat Fontes and his new sign

Boston has very few outlets for dance vinyl. There’s Satellite Records at 49 Mass Ave, and, well, that’s about it. This week, if you go by the location, just off the Charles, you’ll find a new sign and a new attitude as Satellite becomes MASS MUZIK. “I’m looking for a fresh start,” says PAT FONTES, owner of the Boston landmark. Fontes bought the location and all the stock last year from the Satellite honchos in New York (he already owned a sizable piece), and this week he gives it a new name.

The reason for the change, he says, is the store’s new Web site, Fontes plans newsletters and added stock as the site grows, but he’s taking baby steps. “I’m a poor man who really loves music,” he says with a smile. The shop is still packed with vinyl, and with the buying being handled by Fontes and his staff — as opposed to the headz in NYC — the shop caters even more to what Boston is looking for. On a recent visit, Circuits found a tremendous collection of techno, electro, and breakbeats, genres Fontes says the site and the store will emphasize in the months ahead. In our bag: a French house remix of the stellar “Gazebo” track from Fairmont, a/k/a Canadian Jake Fairley; a 12-inch EP from Italo-disco connoisseurs the Polygamy Boys; the new Depeche Mode 12-inch with remixes from über-hot Cologne label Areal; two singles celebrating the taste of Berlin’s F.U.N. club; and the Pitchfork-endorsed super-hot 12-inch from the British Bear Entertainment label by Norwegian Space Disco overlord Prins Thomas.

Fontes is also proud of his new sign, which, designed by local graffiti artist KENJI NAKAYAMA, was due to go up Monday. It stresses the cultural aspect of the store: Mass Muzik carries T-shirts and records, sure, but a wealth of nightlife information, from local ’zines to piles of fliers, is kept in the window. Browsers and DJs tend to hang around the listening stations. Last Sunday, we found local minimalist JON SCHMIDT behind the turntables; when we exited, MIKE UZZI had taken over the decks. “I’ll be here a few more hours,” he said with a smile.

Over the last few years, Satellite has outlived Biscuithead, Beat Non-Stop, Vinyl Connection, 4Front, and Boston Beat — but not without a cost. “I sacrificed my health, my bank account, and my living situation,” says Fontes. “I live with my mother, who’s very supportive. She used to listen to disco, Portuguese music.” He laughs. “I can blame it all on her in some sense.” This month, he plans to celebrate the name change with guest DJs at the shop and a few small get-togethers around town.

DJ NOMADIK (a/k/a Marie Recupero), the WMBR DJ, SoulKore founder, president of the Boston chapter of Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation, and long-time stalwart of Boston hip-hop, is throwing her annual YO! BACK TO THE OLD SCHOOL party Sunday at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square. “I’m an ’80s girl, I remember hip-hop parties being more about fun,” she says. “And this is about taking hip-hop back to that fun atmosphere.” Among the performers are PROJECT MOVE, CRUSH ONE, MDIESEL, dance super-collective the FLOORLORDS, artists from the AFRICAN-LATINO ALLIANCE, hip-hop author BRIAN COLEMAN, and sneaker freak LORI LOBENSTINE, plus giveaways from comic-book artists MAD TWIINZ, who recently left Boston for deals in LA. “I wanted a place to have all the elements of hip-hop under one roof.”

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