RIP Exist Dance’s Mike Kandel (a.k.a. Tranquility Bass)

mike kandel tranquility bass

The dance/electronic music community is mourning the passing of wildly talented producer Mike Kandel, who was known globally for his poignant, touching and often left-of center downtempo/ambient/trip-hop tracks such as the’90s classics “They Came In Peace” and “Cantamilla.” Kandel released a variety of material during his esteemed career but only issued one album, 1997’s Let The Freak Flag Fly (Astralwerks), a release which he realized after spending two years on a remote island off the British Columbian coast.

“I’d go for days without saying anything to anyone, because no one was around,” Kandel told the Chicago Tribune after he returned to Chicago. “My few social interactions on the island didn’t go too well. I met a few hippies and one time suggested that I wished I didn’t have a body at all so I could just stick my brain in a bottle hooked up to a computer. They were not amused.”

In addition to his recording career, Kandel co-founded the highly influential label Exist Dance with Tom Chasteen.

Kandel was a Chicago native. He learned to play guitar and keyboards at age 12. By the age of 15 he had begun to record experimental electronic music in his bedroom.

Check his impressive fretmanship on this clip of “Never Gonna End” recorded at Tranquility Bass’s first live performance at the Double Door in 1997.

Big Shot extends its sincere condolences to Kandel’s family and friends.

Darren Ressler

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