ANDY CALDWELL with JEREMY JIVE at the Century Room (580 King West), Friday (August 26). $10. 416-203-2226.
San Francisco-based deep house DJ/producer Andy Caldwell's gradually been employing more electro flavours and embracing some of the techy aspects of big-room dance music.
It's a change from the mellow and soulful West Coast sounds he made his name with through releases on Naked Music and Om, and in particular the track I Can't Wait, which still gets lots of play four years later.
A musician (piano and trumpet) before discovering house music, he's also a member of the eclectic soulful lounge band Soulstice, and always approaches his productions with the ear of a playing musician.
His current blend of the edgy and the soulful sides of house can be seen on his new mix CD, Late Night With Andy Caldwell (Swank).
"This mix is much more on the electro tip than what I've done in the past," Caldwell agrees from a hotel room in Spain. "It's something I've been into my whole life, since the 80s with breakdancing, but now I can get away with it easier."
It's also pragmatic. The big rooms in underground dance music are generally ruled by harder sounds these days. While Caldwell still plays more soulful and musical records than you'd hear in the average mega-club, the growing electro influence in his sound means his records are being played by those big-name DJs at those clubs.
"Let's not kid ourselves - this is my career, and there's only so much you can do making obscure deep house records. I've been a bit pigeonholed by the Naked Music and Om thing, and it's kind of boring to keep on doing the same thing for 10 years.
"House has to reinvent itself if it wants to continue being the main music in the clubs. It needs to unify all the different tangents."
A little over a year ago, he started up his own record label, Uno, in part to provide a forum for his changing tastes. While he concedes that financially it probably would have been better to have done this years ago, when you could actually make some money selling singles, the initial releases have been successful by today's standards.
Between starting the label, a busy DJ schedule and his remix work, there hasn't been much time to concentrate on his own music. Soulstice is on indefinite hold, since the members live in different cities now and all have their own projects. Caldwell's solo album has been delayed yet again and likely won't come out until March.
In the meantime, his DJ sets give the best clues as to where he's going musically. For those worried about all this talk about electro, he hasn't completely left his house roots in favour of asymmetrical haircuts and deadpan German vocals - he's just using a wider palette of sounds.