ERIC DUNCAN with NACHO LOVERS at the Brigantine Room (Harbourfront Centre), Saturday (July 5). Free. 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com Rating: NNNNN
Aggressive chainsaw synth-driven electro-house is still getting played everywhere from big mainstream clubs to grimy little indie dance parties. But if you look a bit below the surface, it’s apparent that many people are longing for slower tempos and gentler textures.
There’s growing interest in the spacey, tripped-?out side of disco, and classic house references are increasingly en vogue on dance floors. This is good news for folks like Eric Duncan, who has helped bring the quirkier side of club classics to the attention of the hipster kids in NYC with the Rub N Tug loft parties he throws with Thomas Bullock, and the hot melodic house records he produces with Liv Spencer under the name Still Going.
“I don’t know if it’s a reaction against current trends as much as a realization [about them],” Duncan explains from his NYC home. “When music is good, it just stays steady through all the trends and phases. For example, when there was new-?rave, house and disco were still going on. When there was electro-?clash, there were still house and disco parties, and so on. I’m sure you would be pretty hard pressed to find an electro-?clash party this weekend – you know what I mean?”
Describing Duncan’s style as “disco and house” is accurate enough but doesn’t really give you much of a feel for the bong-?friendly, luxuriously raw dance-floor oddities with which he fills his sets. He describes it simply as “music to dance to.” And while it is, indeed, dance music, it isn’t the kind that drones in the background of cheesy lounges, or that gets pounded out in the main rooms of glitzy clubs.
Thus, it’s not surprising that the Rub N Tug parties evolved outside of the bar and club scene. Going back to the roots of NYC underground dance music, Duncan and Bullock focused their attention on semi-?legal loft parties, that got such a strong response, Duncan now DJs all over the world, including regular gigs at UK clubbing institution Fabric.
“The loft environment was really important. At that time in NYC, nobody would have Thomas and me in a normal club, so we made our own. We had a bunch of crazy friends and we had a buddy who had just got hold of an old third-?floor massage-parlour loft. We started at midnight, it cost five bucks to get in, and went until noon sometimes. Talk about getting your money’s worth.”