^ flexible flirty techno, exotic and almost ballet deft : Tomiie at RISE Club last night
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If you, as a long-time fan of Satoshi Tomiie’s DJ work, came to RISE Club last night expecting to hear his dreamy, lissome, almost deliquescent house music — his signature for two decades — you found yourself puzzled. Until very late in his set Tomiie played none of his signatures. Almost 50 years old Tomiee may be — and, greying, he looks the age — but his three hour set was all about what DJs are dropping now, at the doorway to 2014. Tomiie played lots of grumbly boomy techno; and when he did lift the lid to give chants, streaks, and melodic echo a chance, even these effects felt edgy, uneasy in the headlights.
Still, this was no Chris Liebing or Lutzenkirchen factory work. Tomiie, who performs all over the world and knows his distinctions, favored undulating rhythms, Brazilian beats, and exotic sound effects — a kind of mechanistic Africanism — and where most techno sets clash by night like poet Matthew Arnolds’s ignorant armies, Tomiie’s techno shapes fluctuated from glide to traipse, flexible and flirty. Active at the mix board, Tomiie fashioned voices to chatter, piano solos to percussion, rumble to romp. Using a Traktor running two channels only, and steering his tracks with an iPad mix board upon which textures and tones were pre-set, Tomiie cut his music constantly, lively. The impression as of extremely complex sounds competing for attention or dominance, but nothing dangerous : more like a clique of people conversing excitedly trying to be heard over the multiple babble. A stylish babble it was. Tomiie’s breaks didn’t slam, they evolved. his cuts chattered and ceded. the music sounded seamless even when most complex, in ballet terms a pas de douze, if one can picture twelve dancers tiptoeing in synchronized individuality.
Still, I waited to hear what “Virus,” “Love in Traffic,” “Scandal In New York,” “Backside Wave,” “Storyreel” and “Aruba” would play like in live Tomiie performance; and I was disappointed not to hear much of these until finally, at 5.25 AM, his set almost over, Tomiie dropped what sounded a lot like “Love In Traffic.’ And a seductive drop it was, the sighing voice commandingly seductive, the moaning music capturing your moment. It made me easily imagine Tomiie, rather than Giorgio Moroder, producing Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby” with all its body and physique translated to the lithe, finger-silky way that Tomiie makes the music love him — and you — all over yourself.
—- Deedee Freedberg / Feelin’ the Music