^ full tilt train trip into the mystic : Victor Calderone at Bijou last night
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There were two distinct parts to Victor Calderone’s masterful set dropped on a full dance floor at Bijou last night : the absolute certainty of classic train-trip R & B, and the limitless fantastical of an escapist movie soundtrack. Calderone laid down the law of train trip sure enough to carry an entire matrix of escapist sounds. Everybody got on board — his train-trip beats sounded huge, magnetic, commanding — and once on board, found all their imaginables piqued, tickled, salivated, gravy-ed.
Rarely have I seen a DJ dominate a mix board as relentlessly as Calderone last night. Deploying one channel or two, even three at a time, he left hardly any bars of sound as-is. He whittled, blended, jumped, stuttered, progressed all of his tracks — including such feasts of abstraction as “into the Void,” “Shame Cube,’ “Break It,’ and the ultimate “The Journey Begins,” inviting the dancers to conceive all manner of spirit-physical selfies. Bottom rhythms purred gigantically; streak-ies of all sorts arose; tickle percussion — his signature — made a few appearances; and echo effects painted it all in a glow and a shimmer that made one want to sing.
The music delivered all of it to the dancers, clothed their bodies from head to toe in space beckoning dream-scapes, with such force and conviction that every person in the room delivered body and soul to Calderone, to whatever chug, choogle, boom, and bomp, prickle and whimsy he had ready. And he had plenty.
We do not live in a vacuum but in heavy air — the gas of history afoot — and that Calderone’s mix-board work and sound progressions balanced freedom and control — opposites in the world we move in — mirrored what is going on, politically, in the arena of events. There, freedom bitterly fights against control freaks, and control robots push back against freedoms. Only if the center holds does it meld rather than fracture as anarchy. In the policy ring that center is our government; at Bijou it was the DJ. Few dancers may have noticed the analogy between government and Calderone, but by consenting to his DJ rigor and dominance, they reaped the fruits of emotional and, dare I say, spiritual liberty.
Calderone’s sound this time was quite different from the sexy-sensual, magic carpet rides of vroom and tickle, reverb and murmur that were his signature for many years. I found myself surprised — but not disappointed at all. If no longer the “Superflyin’,” “Boarding Pass” love maker, Calderone was yet a very effective suitor. It proved impossible to resist his consensual imagination inviting a room full of digital people to a feast of danced innovation.
^ opening the door : Brunno Santos
The opening two-hour set was delivered by one of Boston’s most accomplished DJs, Brunno Santos, himself an avatar of sonic abstraction riding prerequisite train tracks. His set had all the hugeness and blue funk of Calderone’s, graciously leading to the Master’s huge up-steps.
—- Deedee Freedberg / Feelin’ the Music