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While the past few years have been a challenge in many ways due to the pandemic's impact, there has been—without a doubt—many positive takeaways. For Cason Trager and Lou Sceelo, the stillness brought the two closer together. So much so that they decided to team up and launch a music production project, Bootleg Contraband.

Exploring the polarities between time and culture, digital and analog and real and virtual, the budding electronic music duo have unveiled their debut album. Expanding beyond the roots of house music, in I/O the duo branch out into elements of techno and electro, among other sub-genres. Pulling inspiration from their collective pasts and delving into their life experiences, the album was born. 

Capturing both a retrospective perspective as well as optimism for the future of humanity, Bootleg Contraband deliver a tastefully unique sound throughout I/O. You can listen to the album in full below.

The two artists met by chance at a Guitar Center in Chicago in the spring of 2019, and they struck up a friendship around their passion for music production. Trager later helped Sceelo set up his production studio and shortly thereafter they began collaborating in sessions. Bootleg Contraband was originated in the fall and they released their first single, “What Is This?!” in December of the same year.

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The tandem released a slew of singles over the past few years, including some remixes by the likes of R34L, Josh Fina and Mark Pistel. In November 2021 they released The Singles, a compilation of all 13. Now, hot on the heels of that record, Bootleg Contraband have delivered their first full-length album by way of Section Eight Music. 

"We were working feverishly on the record for a solid 18 months, all during Covid, and I felt as if we were firing on all cylinders," Sceelo explained. "The idea that we were releasing pent up energy through music is probably the portrayal the record emits." 

"We wanted to capture both a sense of nostalgia for our experiences," Trager added, "but also a feeling of curiosity and hope for what is next to come."

You can stream I/O here.




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