Garnier a mix master
France's biggest techno export, Laurent Garnier , touched down at System Soundbar Saturday night to prove once again why his fans' devotion runs so deep. You can never be too sure what he's going to play, since he's been known to crank out smooth and sexy deep house sets one night, banging techno the next and ambient jazz in other situations.
Last week was about everything from organic house to techno anthems, dirty Chicago classics, minimal, tribal and even some drum 'n' bass toward the end of his set.
What was really impressive was the creativity of his mixing. At one point he stopped a record with his finger, slapped some huge echoes on it and started drumming on the disc with his finger, making a sound like thunder rolling across the club.
It looks like System's renovations aren't quite complete yet, but they've still made a huge improvement on the feel of the main room. The back room is obviously still in mid-renovation, and the new front room needs some work - it's too bright, and there's too much bleed from the main room. But the changes so far have all been well thought out.
Fortunately, the rumours that Club 56 has shut down permanently have turned out to be false, and after a brief liquor licence suspension the club is up and running again. One of the eclectic left-field events that have really flourished at the gritty basement club is Expensive Shit , featuring Captain Easychord and DJ Nunk . Last Friday was supposedly the last Expensive Shit at Club 56, because it's started to outgrow the space.
A good-sized crowd came out for the party, bouncing around to mash-ups, post-punk-funk, hiphop and electro.
This month featured a live performance by Koolit , also known as Ninja High School , who did their indie-rap shtick with the energy of a hardcore band and the same lack of technical finesse. It was pretty fun for the first three songs, but after that not so funny.
Luckily, the DJs had no trouble getting the dance floor moving again, and not too many people were scared off by the slam-dance hiphop shenanigans.
Late Friday night, New Jersey's Jihad Muhammad flexed his mixing muscles for the Soulutions party at 99 Sudbury . It's rare for deep house DJs to work this hard behind the decks, since the genre's use of melody makes long overlays difficult. Muhammad doesn't necessarily ride every mix forever, but when the tracks are meshing well he can really work the transition into feeling like a new song.
His style is deeply rooted in the tradition of house, so it was a bit surprising to see him relying so heavily on CDs, but then again, many have been making the shift over the past few years.
This event was a release party for NJ Groove, the track he just put out on local label Iwanai. He must have been happy to see the crowd go off to it.