TECHNO THE TOMIIE WAY : SATOSHI TOMIIE @ RISE CLUB 12.07.13

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^ 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

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SLAM, FLIRT, AND RUMBLE : GARY BECK @ RISE CLUB 07.20.13

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^ 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.

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^ 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