Wednesday, August 26, 2009

THank you, New York & Boston (gig wrap-up post)

It's been an epic week or so..

I hit New York running, coming straight from the airport (after a plaintive wait for lost luggage) to Halcyon record store to play instore for the Bless Up radio show (big up the host LionDub). We sweltered in there, at the end of a long narrow room, in the NY heat. Kotchy, FaltyDL, Geko Jones and Incyde all rocked the decks in their own inimitable styles and I closed out the evening..I was afraid I'd short out the mixer by dripping sweat on it, but luckily we all survived. Saw some friendly faces, and staggered stickily home to the place I'm apartment-sitting, to drink ice water in my underwear.

The next day was the doublehitter, but first I needed to practice, and after minor and heat-addled (sense a theme?) confusion on the subway I found my way out to Studio Geko for some conversation and some good musical messing about. Later, rolled to Glasslands, where I wimped out and huddled in front of the overworked air conditioner upstairs until it was time for my set.

Lamin and Geko Jones laid down the early set, ranging all over the map, shaking the audience out of their chitchat and getting people bubbling, and I came on with the more global side of my breaky steppy tunes, including this kind of clappy latin-sounding dubstep stuff that makes an odd kind of sense: Emvee's "Nocturnal," Untold's remix of Ramadanman's "Revenue," mixed with ravier crunchier sounds of Shlachthofbronx, 2step like El-B's "Cuba," plus Daniel Haaksman, Ku Bo, and several of DJ Cs new instrumentals which are AMAZING. Unfortunately I had to leave just as Maga Bo was preparing to step up, Rhiannon was drumming and singing onstage while Geko tossed beats to the crowd from the decks.. I packed up my gear and ran through the rain (hello rain!) to a car to get to Manhattan.

Dub War is at Love, which everyone will tell you has a bababoooming sound system. It does. As I came in, slipping down the stairs with the rain, I could hear the dreamy offkilter sounds from the main room. From the DJ booth, there was a sea of smiling faces turned towards us, clearly the Ableton dj set washing over them was to their liking. I just remember the mix of a lovely chunky dreamy tune with the Toasty classic "the knowledge" in a way that spun both tunes into something storming yet delicately balanced. Such inspiring sounds, and my impression was that the crowd was happy, into it, but also ready for things to drop harder, so I got up and gave it to them.

What a totally fun set - I guess I would call it "chipdubcrunkraggajukestep" - there was a Britney Spears remix in there (nice to see the Dub Warriors getting down to things they might not have thought they would get down to), some Chrissy Murderbot burners, Dj C's "Du Ting" riddim (on which NOBODY should sleep), more Schlachthofbronx, Taal Mala, Akira Kiteshi, Cardopusher, my new favorite supercrunch dubstep producer Gizmode, Robot Koch, Badxman, and DJ Remi, DJ Deeon plus Dj Donna Summer as part of an extended rave/juke/dubstep crossover moment with a high point of female voice repping the uh female anatomy (a K-swift sample I believe).

Overall while I didn't avoid the wobble basslines, I cut them with chiptunes-influenced bleeps and crunchy sounds that gave the music more shape, more punch, and more dynamic range. What I like about those sounds is that they are more stark and add more silence & pause on the dancfloor, they add dramatic tension, make the music more percussive. They open out the space by defining the high-end with clean-bleeps and making the low end ragged and glitched out. And then I also dropped some of my favorite vocal dubstep tracks like Sarantis (featuring Honey Brown)'s "Fall in Love" plus some classic and new 2step from El-B, Sully, and Garage Dubs..

Recovering from Dub War (and the small friendly afterparty) took me through the weekend, and on Monday I hopped the Bolt Bus (with Dj Pandaia) to Boston to play Beat Research. Small and friendly is the baseline for getting this fantastic gig. The Enormous Room contradicts itself sizewise, but the quality of people and music there is truly huge. As usual, lots of Toneburst heads came out (my Boston area history runs deep), plus many dear and beloved friends old and new. There was dancing, there was talking & catching up, there were cool visual projections.

Cheers to DJ Pace and DJ Flack who also played great music that caused heads to turn and toes to tap. The venue felt too warm and cozy for me to want to drop the ferocious aggro bass, but it's perfect for classic 2step, baltimore, funk carioca, DJ Flack's own productions, Fauna, dunkelbunt, and more horn-sprinkled, ska-influenced steppers.

And now I'm back in NYC. One more confirmed gig coming up, this one with a slightly different flavor.
September 3, I'm speaking at UpgradeNY as part of a conversation with Karl Fogel on Jamaican music-making and the open source software movement.. and then I'm djing afterwards! That's all happening at The Change You Want to See - 84 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn, NY, and it's early, starting at 6:30 pm and the whole thing done by 11, I think. The conversation is definitely supposed to include the audience, so come out and make it interesting and then stay and dance!

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