Twenty years and more after he and Ralph Falcon, as the Murk Boys, started their three year run of Funky Green Dogs and Liberty City hits hits that changed the shape and direction of house music, Oscar G (for “Gaetan”) is still at it, DJ-ing two-hour sets that at their best remain among the most distinctive and inspiring. At Bijou last night he made clear that his signature — growl-y bounce beats sending up a fierce female vocal — unlocks dancers’ inhibitions as seductively as ever. Playing his newer works, which don’t sound much different from what he did twenty yerars ago, and mixing in fiery vocals from other producers past and current, the Miami master got his sound under his fans’ defences and kept it there. The crowd was small — it was a Holiday weekend; many folks were away on Cape Cod — but everyone utterly devoted to what Oscar G justifiably calls “the dark beat.”
The set had its weak moments, in its third half hour especially, in which Gaetan wandered away from his signature sound. Here his sound descended to the generic, music as flat as a hundred similar DJ sets you can find in any big city club. Why Gaetan chose to digress is hard to figure; in any case, he soon enough reverted to the sound that he and Falcon invented and finished as strong as he began. And strong it was. He began in bounce mode less dark than 1990s Murk textures but equally joyous, indeed quite reminiscent of the kewpie-girl, late 1980s Miami beat music that immediately preceded his darked-up invention. Using a pc program with its own mixboards, Gaetan fuzzed the vocals, gave them a dream-like aura beguiling to one’s ear and seductively at odds with his deep, syncopated, occasionally merengue rhythms.
Such was his set’s first hour; its last half hour sounded even more seductive as he played his newer works, as soulful and sensuous as 1990s Murk but more vivid. From “I’m Moving On” to “Amame’ and “Hypnotized,’ Gaetan’s recent tracks feel like Murk works dark by double. Into them he has fed the glimmery sound effects of this decade’s “tech house.” The blend has accorded Gaetan a rhythm of movement and passion emphatically dranatized, a sound so tipsy and topsy that it readily disoriented the Bijou crowd. Here he discarded the work of other producers; his own work sufficed.
He tooled the (Murk-derived) voice of Dennis Ferrer’s 2010 hit “Hey hey” onto his own “305 Bounce.” bled it into the “I believe you are ready” come on of “Amame,” also a Gaetan club success (from 2011), then smooved into the ten-plus minutes of appropriaely titled “Hypnotiozed,’ his current Beatport Number One. “Hypnotized” features girly tease, a guy monologue, and enough glimmer to drown a dancer in starry atmosphere. At Bijou the dancers breathed it all in, as greedy of Gaetan’s laughing gas as its puffs felt lavish.
Local DJ Wil Trahan opened for Gaetan by playing in Gaetan mode with none of the digressions that briefly marred the headliner’s two hours. Trahan’s set inc luded several tracks as Gaetan-like as any crerated by the creator himslef. An opening DJ can proram his stuff no better than that.
—- Deedee Freedberg / Feeling the Music