SWEET POWER with 3 PIECE CHICKEN ORCHESTRA featuring DJs PAUL E. LOPES, MIKE TULL and DAVE CAMPBELL at Drink (132 Queen's Quay East), Fridays. 416-869-0045. Rating: NNNNN
long-time toronto rare groove enthusiast Paul E. Lopes hasn't exactly gone house, but dedicated followers may notice a heavier thump to the DJ's deep mixes these days. On his weekly radio show Whatnaut -- Saturdays 7 until 10 pm on CIUT 89.5 -- and at parties like 52 Inc's regular throwdowns, Bump 'N' Hustle and his new Sweet Power Fridays at Drink, Lopes has begun to refine his selections, focusing more on the soulful house side of things, with latin bits and disco thrown in.
It's no less funky, but it is a conscious move away from the hard-hitting big jazz and rare grooves that defined Lopes's sets for so long.
"I'm not as interested in the whole rare groove thing these days," Lopes confirms on his way home from another stop at a record store.
"I'm more interested in what works for asses on the dance floor. The whole world has caught up with the Brazilian and African vibe, and I'm not willing to pay the huge money those records go for now, so I've made it a bit more dance-floor-friendly."
Luckily, there's no shortage of people willing to play along. The dance music scene seems wider and more open than ever before, with jazz, soul, funk and international beats all happily existing alongside each other.
Drop some batucada beats midway through a set of deep house or soul jazz, and no one bats an eye. Lopes is thrilled.
"I took a break from DJing, and it seemed like a lot of good things happened in the interim," he laughs.
"People are generally checking for natural, good-feeling music. It's a little more roots-based than in the past, especially in the house music scene. House is a barometer of other music. Right now, it encompasses a world view of music, with percussion, latin beats and African music. It's an exciting time."