DENNIS FERRER with ANDY ROBERTS at the Great Hall (1087 Queen West), Friday (December 22). $20, advance $15. www.myspace.com/patboogiemusic. Rating: NNNNN
Not so long ago,it was unheard of for techno DJs to be caught rocking a track by someone like NYC's Dennis Ferrer.
That all changed, though, with Sandcastles, a 10-inch single that Ferrer wrote with Jerome Sydenham in 2003, which paved the way for the wave of deep techy tracks finding their way into a surprisingly wide variety of DJs' crates.
Before Sandcastles, Ferrer was best known for soulful Afrobeat-influenced records, although back in the 90s he had a minor career as a techno producer. Ferrer credits Sydenham with pushing him into combining the cold synth sounds and textures of his early work with the moods and melodies of house, against his better judgment.
"When we were done, we sat down in the studio and looked at each other and were like, 'Uh-oh, we got something here.' You just knew it," Ferrer recalls from his NYC home. "We knew it was going to be a huge record, but was anyone going to get it? That was the problem.
"First we gave it to François K, who was getting into that techy stuff, and the way he rocked it people were going crazy. So we took it to the Winter Music Conference to a roomful of house heads, and it flopped. Dude, it was so embarrassing. Everyone in the house scene was looking at me like I was a crackhead. I just wanted to get off the decks and break the CD."
Despite the initial mixed reaction, most of those same big-name house DJs would find themselves playing that record to death a few months later, and it also found its way into techno, progressive and even trance sets.
But don't expect his new album, The World As I See It (Defected), to be a collection of melodic soulful techno. Ferrer is already anticipating the backlash and is getting kind of sick of that sound himself.
"I'm at the same point now as I was when I was doing all those African records, when every house record wanted to be like Fela Kuti or Femi Kuti and everything had that same backbeat. I'm at that point with the techy stuff now -- it's time to jump off that ship. There are too many people doing this. This was cute, it was a nice little phase, but it's time to go."