Noted by house music fans for being a Chicago club kid whom Danny Tenaglia, no less, encouraged to become a DJ, HONEY DIJON -- real name Honey Redmond -- has more than lived up to whatever it was in her that Tenaglia saw. It was not always so; her early work, though fierce enough, lacked breadth of vision and mastery of colors.
When, almost halfway through his two-hour set at Bijou on Tuesday night, ROGER SANCHEZ tooled Ultra Nate's anthemic "Free" into his complex mix, he cycled the song's declarative "free to do what you want to do!" over and over. It was a message -- and more than a message. Given the rapid rush of his mixes, the quick changes from track to track, the hub-bub of riffs, beats, screaming noises, talk, and horns -- many different voices, pathways, destinations, and purposes -- Sanchez was demonstrating, musically, to the full floor of dancers at Bijou just what it sounds and looks like when everyone is free to do what he or she wants to do and doing it in the same life arena.
How does a DJ and track producer, one of whose YouTube vidclips has over 12 million views get booked into Cambridge's Phoenix Landing, where the dance floor accommodates maybe 200 fans? Yet 12 million views it is, for Berlin, Germany's Michael Vater, who DJs as PHONIQUE. The vidclip in question is "Feel What You Want."
House music and techno's most senior DJs continue to deliver the strongest sets, as true to the music's roots in blues, funk, soul, and psychedelics as they are adventurous. Ali Shirazinia, who as DEBFIRE has mixed and produced, as boldly as anyone, for more than 20 years -- first as half of Deep Dish (with Sharam), and now solo -- dropped a set at Bijou Friday night both abstract and passionate.
Though many dance music club owners are said to tell their DJs what to play, it certainly cannot have been the case at Bijou Boston's Gold Room on Thursday night; because the set that Bavarian-born, 31-year-old DANIEL BORTZ dropped sounded extremely unlike any that this writer has heard. Here was not the stomp and edgy harshness of techno, not -- despite some online track purchase sites' characterization of him -- the sentimental softness of house music.
On Saturday night, no fewer than seven of Boston and Providence's more prominent house music and techno DJs brought "BassWave," their traveling showcase of DJ styles to Good Life. The first BassWave night took place about a month ago in New Bedford, ground central for much of our area's DJ activity; it returns there, to Bar 908, on New Year's Eve.