Of all the many DJ BORIS sets this writer has seen, his stint at Bjou on Friday, September 21, was the strongest. Though his sound has changed strikingly, from classic, dainty-footed "tribal" to a booming, deep techno, the new rhythms fit. By this move he has, smartly, followed the lead of DJ Chus and Victor Calderone, with whom Boris often works in studio, and his set at Bijou, though not as strikingly original as the sounds of Chus and Calderone, showed mix ingenuity and mastery of form. And, as Bijou's dance floor was capacity-full -- Boris always draws a devoted big crowd in Boston -- it was a dance party to remember.
Nor was the Bijou crowd just anyone. Many of Boston's most knowledgeable house heads were in the room; there were at least 30 people whom this writer knew well, and several more who knew me -- usually at a Boston house music gig I'm lucky if I see a third that many familiar faces. And they didn't just stand around. Dancing had its way with all (this writer too), as Boris dropped many of his new techno tracks -- "Ha," "Get Ready," "Rhythm Make You Dance," and "Give Yourself" were all featured. It was classic European DJ-ing: one strong groove dominated all set long.
Through changes of texture, same murmur. Underneath screamy noises, glitch vocals, and up or down volume, same murmur. Through several pressure builds -- in which the upper register sounds get squeezed, then go burst -- the same murmur held place. Boris changed his groove's angle and its volume, and he cut into it with mix board tricks, but always it stroked that same low, loud murmur. Orgasmic bliss it was. Clearly he could have stroked it all night long.
It was a set full of shrewd improvisations, too. Heard at home, the Boris tracks cited above sound incomplete, like basic building blocks but no more -- no resolution. At Bijou, Boris erected onto them an entire skyscraper of danceable floors, familiar yet surprisingly presented. He used the vocal from Green Velvet's "Flash" and the monologue of Celeda's "The Underground" -- usual DJ suspects indeed, but in Boris's set, shaped almost unrecognizably. He toned them so underneath the main groove they sounded imagined rather than actually heard -- very flirtatious.
He mixed tracks on their mid-register sound effects rather than the groove -- a difficult play if you don't get it exactly right. Lastly, in a two hour set, almost any DJ will repeat himself; the trick is not to replay himself as well. Boris never replayed. His many dissolves from trippy noise to funky groove always felt fresh. Same shift, different gears, every time. No wonder the house heads couldn't stop dancing.
Local DJ Scot Cox's opening set was a strong one too. Techno is how this writer first heard Cox, at Providence's Therapy. It's his go-to style, and he plays it with a bluesy flavor (and a bluesy 122 BPM tempo) carrying a full frosting of screamy trippy noise effects on top. From Cox's choogle to Boris's stroke was an easy and worthy transition.