Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Moodymann Spins in NYC & 12’’ Halloween Treats
Last Saturday afternoon NYC was blessed with a visit from one of Detroit’s most gifted house music producers- the one and only Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann. The last time KDJ was in NYC he played at Santo’s Party house in lower Manhattan. While this venue had a nice thick sound-system, its harsh concrete walls and busy main room proved to be a tad bit too impersonal for KDJ’s unique style of DJing. This time around the boys from Mr. Saturday Night got the arrangements spot on by booking Kenny Dixon for an afternoon set at the 12-turn-13 loft. This Brooklyn loft is probably the best spot to have a dance party in NYC at the moment. The main room offers enough space for comfortable dancing but is also dark and cozy enough to consistently generate the intimate, friendly vibes that distinguishes average events from truly great house music gatherings. Despite the weather not cooperating and dumping sheets upon sheets of rain from Friday through Saturday, the turn out for the party was large and enthusiastic. As I stepped in at 6pm, a large crowd was already gathered on the floor anticipating the arrival of Moody.
Coming on at around 6:30pm KDJ opened up with some nice bits of disco before dropping C2’s remix of Junior Boy’s “Like a Child”. As the long intro of the track played out, the Detroit DJ grabbed the mic and introduced himself to the crowd. Surprisingly everyone was enthusiastic that he was actually speaking to them. This differed drastically from the reactions I’d seen from this approach at other Kenny Dixon sets. Usually the crowd tends to get very confused when the DJ decides to literally address the floor. Luckily this group had enough hardcore fans and open-minded dancers to happily go along with Moody’s style and the result was a solid few hours of great music and interaction between the crowd and DJ.
The flow in Moody’s set was unlike that of just about any other contemporary, well-known DJ /producer. He truly is individual in his disregard for genre boundaries and his ability to keep a floor bouncing, even while interrupting his mixes every few tracks. He’s also (sadly) becoming increasingly unique for being one of the few major names out there still spinning close to 100% vinyl. Luckily for us wax fanatics he made it a point to announce his preference and love for the physical format multiple times. He also humorously suggested anyone pass along requests to the booth and that he would play anything if he had it on vinyl or ‘just drop some other shit like it’ if he didn’t.
Overall it was a great evening full of soul, disco and house RECORDS from every period of modern dance music history. Of all the great tunes Moody dropped, one in particular stands out to me: Yaz’s “Situation”. While this is a certified 80s classic it’s not the kind of ‘underground’ or ‘obscure’ record you’d associate with a producer like Moodymann. Still, for 8pm on a Saturday night to a room full of sweaty house-heads the effect was pretty damn epic with smiles all around and people screaming along to the lyrics. Always bringing the unexpected Moodymann is definitely one to look out for…
ALSO TWO GEMS TO LOOK OUT FOR…
Leron Carson on Sound Signature & Slow to Speak’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (Unicarsal Epitaph Edit)
As some of you may know, 12-Turn-13 is dangerously situated steps from Dope Jams, one of NYC’s finest record stores. Of course I couldn’t help myself so I copped the above two release as a Halloween treat before dropping by 12-Turn-13. Both releases come highly recommended, in particular the bizarre Bela Lugosi edit from the good guys over at Dope Jams. Dissecting Bauhaus’ goth-rock classic into a droning mélange of reverb, guitars and wailing vocals, this edit is the ideal soundtrack to the grey, rainy days we’ve been having leading up to Halloween weekend. The guys also threw in some vintage screaming and wailing samples to spice up your mixes…
On a completely different tip, the Leron Carson is some truly mechanical Chicago house from the archives. Recorded to tape between ’87 and ’88, the reels were dusted off and engineered by Omar-S for release on Theo Parrish’ Sound Signature label. While several of the tracks are perhaps too dry to imagine them having a long shelf-life, a few have a deeper emotional depth that guarantees pretty much eternal value. In particular, “Red Light Bulb” has a gorgeous, melancholic vibe. While I appreciate the grit of the lo-fi recording, this is one particular track I’d like to see resurrected in full hi-fi. Overall a solid double-12’’ on Sound Signature worth adding to your shopping list.
So, after Halloween this weekend look for my Fall Retro records round-up and possibly a review of what I get down to on Hallow’s eve. I also still owe everyone a mix… Hope people are enjoying reading this!!!