You could hear this one coming all summer long – like a lumbering giant stalking the nation, I think everyone heard the footfalls. And DJ Skull came through with one of the most unexpected but delightful comebacks by a Chicago artist this year.

DJ Skull, aka Ron Maney, resurfaced just in time: the climate has never been better for the return of his eclectic and uncompromising aesthetic. It was Skull with Mike Dearborn, Steve Poindexter and a few other Chicago techno producers that made Djax-Up-Beats such a formidable entity in the early 1990s. I’ve written about it before and will always remember fondly the Planet Djax party in the warehouse district that celebrated the label’s odd but inspired coupling of mostly white Dutch and mostly black Chicago techno producers.

Apparently this is just the opening salvo of a rejuvenation from Skull that will see a remix of a Roy Davis Jr. & Robert Owens track on Mile End, a new group called Skybox and a project called Chi Life (which from a YouTube clip I’ve heard, sounds like a merger of minimal techno and soul-with-strings). The title track of this one alongside the appropriately named “Reboot” is frenetic, uptempo techno – gorgeous, soaring and elevating. “Promise of Peace”, as might be expected, is more flowing, almost with a new age vibe. The crazed “Big Girls” is a classic close-out track, with a sound bouncing between Swing, Reggae and maybe even Ghanaian Highlife.


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