^ Gary Beck : two hands on the wheels
Facing a dance floor so crowded that almost every dance move required shoving, techno hot-shot Gary Beck, making his first RISE appearance, dropped one of the most passionate techno sets this writer has ever attended. Using Traktor with two CDs and one mix-board, Beck imposed his excitations on almost every minute of the music. He mixed with both hands, all the time, often impelled by his body action. Many DJs dance for dancing’s sake at the mix board; Beck made mix moves of his dance moves.
He played mostly his own works; and as he has more than plenty of tracks to his credit, he nowhere near exhausted his crate. His sound is a seductive thing, flaunting ghouls’ smiles and glints of flirt talk. These pop in and out of, or ride alongside, a bottom ramble that has more flesh on its bones than one hears in almost any other techno. At RISE it played out lasciviously : the well-known hit “Diva”; the sentimental glimmer of “Vaag”; the clamor and rapture of “Before the Crash”; and — peak moment — lots of “in your face” girl talk atop the bristling bottoms of “Video Siren.” Plus many more Beck tracks put onto fans since he first came to world-wide attention about five years ago.
Heft and heave are Beck’s action. Set to classic train-ride rhythm narratives — of roll and chug, saunter and strut, his muscle tracks carried the RISE dancers’ bodies along with them. Beck made it feel pleasurable to just move, move, and move; and as he inserted barely a handful of pause breaks into his trip of continuity, the dancers had few opportunities to stop moving. Not that they wanted any.
Beck’s basic DJ move is the quick-cut, a mix technique first devised back in the disco years, whereby the performer jumps from one track to another without warning — no overlaying, no dissolve, just a leap of faith. Beck’s quick cuts slammed one track’s lift off against the next track’s stride — using the jump mix to ramp up the power of his music. Again and again he quick-cutted beat to voice, voice to beat, and beat to bigger beat. After getting slammed by such an energy burst, the RISE dancers found Beck’s runs of rumble — themselves as heated as most DJs’ mix bursts — almost easy to ride.
Thus it was that Beck’s three hours of slam, flirt, and rumble raised his set from mere music to a peak of body, soul, and spirit; a party so non-stop that few who exercised in it will soon forget. No wonder that the crowd included many local connoisseurs of techno, DJs included. Their being on hand was no mistake.
^ Camilo Serna at the RISE mix-board
Almost as fascinating a performance was Camilo Serna’s set of crunch and rumble. This was Colombian Inependence Day, and many at RISE were there to celebrate with their fellow Colombian as much as to see Beck. Serna wore a studious look, the face and delicate body of a nerd. Twenty years ago, guys who look like Serna would be seen jamming in an indie-rock band. Today they are DJs like Serna, all business at the RISE mixboard, an expression of absolute concentration on his face as he dropped a tangle of ferocious soulful beats.
—- Deedee Freedeberg / Feeling the Music