D3 Elements has built a hell of a roster in the last three years: Hakim Murphy’s The Chocolate Dice rubs shoulders with tracks from Mike Clark, Terrence Parker, Dan Curtin, D-Knox and two records each from Brian Harden and Strong Souls (aka RayDilla). It’s worthy company, working in both directions. For in the seven or eight years that I’ve been writing about his records Hakim Murphy has become a superb technician, polishing off grooves that are rooted in the grime of Chicago but able to ascend to the heavens, if inspired to do so.

The last three years has seen a burst of visible output, with an album and something like a dozen EPs under his own name, two albums and an EP as “hm505,” two more albums and nine more EPs as half of Innerspace Halflife and probably about that much material floating around from various groupings with Specter, G. Marcell, Chicago Skyway and whoever else happens to get pulled into orbit. Almost all of this has also appeared on vinyl – dodgy at any time but especially so today when an entire industry is forcibly slowed, testing the age old joints and steel chassis of a half dozen or so stamping machines with a glut of tracks waiting their turn.


So on with it: The Chocolate Dice is Hakim’s first record on D3 Elements, a three track EP of cosmic shuffles and analog fuzz. “Boxbeat” (I presume he’s running out of names here) is raw but ethereal Techno; if the video doesn’t include clips from Yars Revenge, I’m going to be upset. “Taste o’Rainbow” is my favorite on the set: big, booming drums, hissing hats and a thunderous piano riff makes this go down so, so smooth. Nothing wrong with “Freshness” at either: claps, fractured keys and more 8 bit madness from a guy that’s established himself as one of Chicago’s best.

Out: On vinyl from Juno.


Published first in 5 Mag Issue #128, featuring Chicago Skyway, the Euro-Disco of Voyage, Getting Started in Vinyl, Ortella, Moppy & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music.