What to do with techno is the question for DJs who employ the genre. To complicate it with effects, render it dramatic with a voice or two, or leave it be as a pile-driving stomp: these are the usual. At NAGA on Thursday night, Munich, Germany's tINI experimented with all three routes. As might be expected, some of her ways worked; and some did not.
Open on Sunday night because of the Monday holiday, Bijou Boston hosted Germany's MARTIN BUTTRICH for a two-hour set played to a dance floor as full of revelers as this writer has ever seen it. Even at the 2am close time, the floor was nearly full of bodies grooving and arms upraised.
The massiveness of Buttrich's sound was not expected at all.
The headline is not mine, but I've adopted it because it nails Detroit DJ LEE CURTISS' sound. I found it in a YouTube posting of Curtiss' "Haters Haterz," a track appropriately sleazy and one that he dropped at Bijou Boston on Friday night. This was a two-hour set that moved at 124 BPM, a sleazy speed indeed, a low and sumptuously toned rumble pie overtopped by a shifting meringue of frosty, sugary detail.
Making his first performance visit to Boston in his long and masterful career, Lisbon's DJ VIBE dropped a 105-minute set on a Bijou audience that included quite a few of the city's best-known DJs. They were there to see, at last, one of the originators of "Portuguese tribal," as distinctive a sound -- sultry and bluesy, racy, fierce and low-low down -- as any in the entire 26-year saga of house as a genre.
FUNKAGENDA'S two-hour set at Bijou on Friday night surprised many, disappointed some, and sure fooled me. True, that given how rapidly and often his sound has evolved these past five years, there was no telling what he would play this time. Last year at Gypsy Bar he played an entire set of fast, synth-y "progressive" house, which was itself a big shift from the bluesy, down-tempo house music that first made the UK's Adam Walder famous as Funkagenda.
ROLANDO ROCHA, a DJ and track maker much more veteran than his youthful appearance, dropped a two-hour-plus set Thursday night at Cambridge's Middlesex Lounge. The floor was almost brim-full of fans who demonstrated that they knew his work even though Rocha is hardly a household name even in dance music.
Considering how strong a groove and dreamy an atmosphere one encounters in almost every top CARLO LIO track, it was disappointing to this writer how non-dramatic his 105-minute set at Bijou Nightclub played out this past Friday night.
Taken in individual pieces, Lio's work dominates. No house music producer creates tracks more classic as funk, blues, or psychedelics.
Making his first major visit to the Boston area in many years, DANNY TENAGLIA dropped a master set at Bijou on Hallowe'en night. The set lasted more than two hours, and not a minute sounded weak or suspect. Any doubts that fans may have had about Tenaglia's chops, given the absence of new track productions since 2007's "Dibiza," not to mention last year's announcement that he was retiring -- which proceed not to be the case -- were kicked aside by the power and ingenuity of his Bijou set.
As a solo artist, SHARAM TAYEBI has had less success than former Deep Dish partner Dubfire at embracing a sound to call his own. His top-ten downloads at Beatport -- not to mention his prior solo work -- swing between genres of dance music that do not relate easily. There's "progressive" -- which was Deep Dish's hallmark during their decade of glory, 1995 to 2004 -- and there's techno, progressive's polar opposite; and there's some "elektro," a touch of "tribal," and some girly dance-pop.