Chicago's DJ Diz was the special guest Saturday night for the monthly Robsoul party at Footwork , and took the crowd on an eclectic journey through variations on house's 4/4 thump.
Much of his set seemed to be devoted to new tracks fresh from last week's Miami Music Conference, and their quality bodes well for the next year of dance music. Mixed in with the new releases were a smattering of classics, but not the typical ones. You don't expect to hear a funky Chicago house DJ drop a tripped-out Plastikman techno track, but he worked it in perfectly, even coming out of a fairly deep and melodic song.
Whenever you thought you knew where he was going, DJ Diz would take the vibe in another direction, but the crowd stayed with him all the way.
Black Market 's party Friday night was billed as a reunited Fingers Inc , the Chicago house group that defined deep house in the late 80s, but in truth only two of the original three members performed, as Ron Wilson is still AWOL. Still, it came pretty close, since Larry Heard and Robert Owens were the original founders, and there was a lot of anticipation among house heads beforehand.
First slated for Studio 99, the event was moved to Wallace Studios , which is much more out of the way and not known as a party venue. As a result, it wasn't rammed to the rafters, but was still busy enough to feel like fun.
For most of the night Heard or Owens DJed, and a set in the middle featured Owens singing over instrumental versions of old Fingers Inc classics, the night's obvious high point. DJ-wise, Heard did what he's done the last few times here and concentrated on weird, atmospheric but still soulful dance music, while Owens tended toward bigger, more aggressive tracks and played more current house. In fact, Owens was pounding it out so hard early on that one of the bass bins started to smoke. Fortunately, the sound system survived the brief crisis.
Hz atmosphere scores
At that other film studio ( Studio 99 ) across town, AlienInFlux , Sensor and Promise teamed up on Saturday for a party called Hz that concentrated on techno, with a separate room for dub reggae and downtempo.
AlienInFlux, who always put a lot of thought into the look of their parties, have avoided spots used as often as this one, but they transformed the space so completely that you were only reminded of where you were when you went to the washroom.
The ceiling was covered with camouflage netting, and walls and corridors were erected out of hanging fabric. In the middle of the main room was a one-of-a-kind lighting rig that used a bunch of tiny disco balls and some red lasers to great effect. The rest of the lighting was above the netting, which made it feel like we were inside a military tent being probed by searchlights.
The music was all pretty decent, but in this case the atmosphere was really the star.