NICKODEMUS performing as part of GLIDE with DENISE BENSON and Andrew Allsgood at Gypsy Co-op (817 Queen West), Wednesday (December 5). $8. 416-703-5069. Rating: NNNNN
Listening to the third in Nickodemus and Mariano's Turntables On The Hudson (RhythmLove) mix disc series -- compiled from the funky fusion tracks that rock their weekly summer soirees on the Hudson River -- you have to wonder what Nickodemus is doing wasting his time on the turntables.
Not that he's a terrible DJ. On the contrary, Nick's actually a top-notch selector, and his Toronto debut at Glide Wednesday (December 5) promises to be a fabulous affair. But the two tracks he produced for Volume 3, Free Souls Part 2 and Desert Dancer, are the most exciting moments on the disc. So, clearly, he needs to get off the decks and spend more time in the studio.
"Actually, I have been taking my studio work up a notch lately," says Nickodemus from his Brooklyn pad. "I just got some great new equipment and I've been working with a lot of different musicians through Giant Step.
"Since the St. Germain record blew up, dance producers everywhere have been booking sessions with musicians, but they usually just sample one little phrase, run it through different effects and build a track out of it. That's cool, but it's not what I do. I get all the musicians jamming together in the studio and just record their improvisation live to 8-track. Everything is done in one or two takes, to keep it organic."
There's a revolutionary concept: club music created with an improvisational edge built in. You'd think most people would welcome any such deviance from the 4/4 house norm with teary delight, but the wide-open stylistic concept of the Turntables On The Hudson party apparently took some time to catch on.
"For a long time it was rough going, because house still rules the dance floor and we dared to be different. The music I play goes all over the place, and it took some time before people caught on.
"But now we attract a really diverse crowd that's an interesting reflection of the scope of music we play. It's fun when you put on a Middle Eastern-flavoured track and suddenly a whole group of Egyptian people will go crazy. What I've found is that as long as the beats are heavy and the groove is funky, people will dance." TIM PERLICH