It is a given that a set by Madrid's DJ CHUS + PABLO CEBALLOS will feature their special, "Iberican" take on "tribal" house music. In their two-hour drop at Bijou on Friday night, low octave statements in the shape of samba and batucada rhythm -- the duo's bottom line for a decade and more -- powered the action from start to close.
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.
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.
Despite of our city's dispiriting 2am closing hour, which snuffs the club music experience way too early, Boston is home to a great many house music and techno DJs of note. WILL MONTONE is one such. Like many, he was a fan first; he even worked at Boston's beloved Boston Beat Record Store. He's also a track maker.
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.
One of techno's most venerable track-makers, BEHROUZ NASARI, dropped a 105-minute set at Bijou on Friday night that was not to be missed by those who appreciate visionary sound-scaping. He has been DJing for more than 20 years and producing his own works for at leeast a decade; his set at Bijou, as distinctive as it was classic, took this observer back to when DJs insisted on being distinctly themselves and when their overlay mixes, quick cuts, and blends of groove and voice gave shape to ecstasy on the dance floor and voice to dancers' desires.
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.
Friday night's SAEED YOUNAN performance was balm to those dance music fans that have had their fill of techno, techno, techno all the time. Booking Younan's seductively flirty "tribal" sound into Bijou, currently Boston's techno temple -- the club's allowed him to drop his sound; too many clubs require DJs to conform to theirs -- hopefully signals a big change.
In just a very few years, the UK's NICOLE MOUDABER has moved into the top ranks of performing DJs and re-mixers; she also collaborates now with Victor Calderone and Carl Cox, and her bio adds that Danny Tenaglia himself is now working with her in studio. For house music and techno it doesn't get any better than these; thus her Boston debut, at Bijou last Friday night, was a top date for this city's knowledgeable fans.
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.
Ever since he rolled out his new sound a few years ago -- train motion and flight take-offs -- VICTOR CALDERONE'S dance music has been a study in rhythmic romance. Playing to an almost completely full dance floor at Bijou this past Friday night, he played a love trip that moved from acceleration to cruise control and which settled into two grooves at one time: a high octave that sounded up, up, and away, and a low frequency rumble that trekked way down to the bottom of it all.