Arts & Events

Overlooking The Sound reviews: Mattress Music


This week: “Mattress Music” with DJ Mel Kohler (aka DJ Hoklem, see if you can figure that one out), airs Thursdays from 5-7 pm.
DJ Mel’s “Mattress Music” show should come with a warning statement: “WARNING: This music may turn you on. Proceed with caution.” The purpose of this radio segment is to play music that one might like to hear to get in the mood for a little sexy-time.
The show is well appreciated on our University campus where there are more and more sex-positive dialogues every semester. Instead of blatant arguments, “Mattress Music” simply presents its support for positive sex and it provides a potential way to make that happen through music. Filling a niche for University students and community members alike, DJ Mel Kohler creates playlists catered towards gettin’ it on.
The real brilliance of the show is that by choosing mattress music as a theme (or mood music, make-out music, sex music, whatever you want to call it), all genres can be played. But instead of choosing genres of music to organize each week’s show, DJ Hoklem picks a specific feeling or as she calls it, ‘flavor’. This week would be classified as soulful.
The title of the most recent playlist, and lyrics of the Rick James song “Bustin’ Out,” “Dance on the funk, make love in this song” describes the show quite well.
Both Rick James and Prince were headliners of this set. Prince’s “Head” is a song that DJ Mel considers absolutely necessary on a sexlist. The classic funk grooves bring out the soul in all of us. Michael Jackson’s, how do you say, higher-pitched sighs and typical vocalized breaths gave energy and passion with “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” Another classic, Stevie Wonder’s “Tell Me Something Good,” also balanced it out.
The funk and soul world is typically dominated by men, especially when it comes to blatant love-making music.
But the ladies made a stunning appearance. Lauryn Hill mellowed out the mood with her sultry sounds and Erykah Badu stepped in to prove that the sexiest thing in the world is the singing voice of a soulful woman.
Kohler has gotten a surprising amount of requests from people who have some version of their own mattress music. One of the songs absolutely necessary on her sexlist is “Never Have I Found” by Josh Garrels, a song she never would have found if it weren’t for a request she received.
This week’s show was notably quite funky, though sometimes it leans more on indie-electronic, and occasionally more acoustic love-songs. The response DJ Kohler gets to her more funk and bluesy “Mattress Music” sets is bigger and more positive than any other, reflecting a potential trend that the music world (at least at KUPS) has been noting.
This may be projecting my own musical transformations to the rest of the population, but where bluegrass used to be the go-to, off-the-beaten-track genre, blues and funk seem to have taken over. Is funk the new ‘thing?’
The show is experimenting with genres and moods in a fun and funky manner. It eases its listeners from one sly mood to the next. Keep in mind that if you are entertaining between the hours of 5 and 7 on Thursday you don’t have to worry about being the DJ, turn on KUPS.