In a city proud of it’s surveillance leaks and abuses, it comes as no surprise Deep Dish were heavily rumored to kick off U Street Music Hall’s 4 Year Anniversary Week. In the land of jackals and honey, the truth and its many variants leak fast. Too many pieces were lining up. Deep Dish performed a surprise warm up gig in Chicago earlier in the week, Sharam’s U-Hall set had been postponed due to scheduling conflicts, the symbols in their current branding campaign were used as the design theme for the kick off night’s promotional poster, U Hall posted their ’98 Essential Mix as Friday afternoon mood music, and the fact that it would be fitting for DC underground house legends to perform at an anniversary celebration for one of DC’s most relevant underground club were all reasonable clues.
The ‘surprise’ guests were officially announced Sunday morning and thus a green light to start hard on the sacrament of this blessed day- knee deep in a baptism of margaritas before the snow made us atone. By 10 P.M. when the doors opened, the line to get in was already creeping down the block. One last storm for the season wasn’t enough to deter old fans and curious newcomers. Our pre-show bar crawl ended at Velvet Lounge with a conversation about new directions in tech and house for DC. The conversation presaged Deep Dish’s sonic explorations for the evening.
Deep Dish’s set was not nostalgic; it was not the great hits comeback tour. We were in a laboratory, subjects of their experiment. The track selection indicated a push to make up for lost time and lean into the future. Sharam and Ali were digging to reestablish and to find a fresh sound for a new live audience. Sharam’s loose grooves were tempered by a tension that transitioned to Ali’s sense of structure. Sequences between house and techno, especially as we approached 3 A.M., seemed disjointed at times but not displeasing. The crowd remained in a fever pitch the duration of the set. For a new Deep Dish to be culturally relevant there must be preliminary trials, it’s part of the scientific method.
There has been a lot of speculation about the reunion. The cynics argue that Sharam and Ali’s solo projects have lost steam and now they’re jumping on the opportunity to cash in on the Deep Dish brand. I’d argue differently. They’re back to raise the bar both for the city and house in general. The punch-you-in-the-dick aesthetics of current EDM is growing tiresome, and Deep Dish see an opportunity to push the art form forward. Always adept at the art of recorded mixes, their Essential Mix on 3/21 is a testament to this new seriousness. Two surprise sets and a chrome-finished Essential Mix later, the machine has been warmed up and finely tuned. I look to the show in Miami as the starting gun it has been billed to be.
The Blisspop mix series is back for its second installment and this time we have Blisspop captain and resident, Will Eastman, manning the decks, ahead of this Saturday’s massive Bliss, featuring Dusky and Midland at U Street Music Hall. Here’s the DJ’s take on the mix:
Years ago, I made a crate for “Last song of the night” tracks to use to close out my sets. As time passed, this genre tag has become the playlist I go back to over and over again to listen to on my iPod. The songs I tag as LSOTN are my favorite tracks, perfect for a 4 a.m. vibe; perfect for going out into the streets in bliss after a great night out. I’ve had the idea to do a mix series called “4 a.m. Eternal”, riffing off KLF, for years and now that I finally tried it I’m really happy with the results. These are my favorite tracks, perfect for an after hours set whether you’re raging or chillin.
It’s been a minute since we last featured London-based techno producer Joe Ashworth, and since then he’s released a series of killer EPs, a collaboration with Citizen, and a killer remix of Ghostpoet’s “Meltdown.” Last week he caught our ear again with a twist on a classic Nina Simone track “See Line Woman.” The track is fairly scarce, accompanying Simone’s voice with a relentless drum groove and deep sub bass twists, until it fades into a light melodic outro, filtering the vocals in and out over a soft piano progression. It has deep primal groove to it that makes it hard not to shake to. For now, it’s just up for stream, but hopefully it will see release of some sort soon. Check it out below:
Planet E’s founder Carl Craig works as the architect for the restructuring of Audiofly’s ‘Excuse my Wildness’, debuted last week on Mixmag, Craig, a strict machine, assembles a moody sequence of ominous tautness, decentered atmospherics, and a progressive build. The track opens with icy synth stabs, and around the 2:50 mark, minimal kit percussion joins the 4 on the floor kick drum. Shakers and claps round off the rhythmic layers at 5 minutes.
The only narrative comes in at 6:30: “Hey, you. What’s your plan for tonight?” Forward and to the point, there’s enough information for intentions to be known. It lacks romance but remains nonetheless libidinously charged, and I would know as part of my review was conducted with a bottle and a half of pinot noir, seriously negotiating the logistics of visiting another country to ask someone what her ‘plans’ were for the rest of the evening after hearing a DJ we’re both into. Yes, the wildness, please excuse it.
DC-based techno producer Pentamon has released a new track entitled “Virgil.” The Pentamon ethos, summed up as “the weirder and darker the better,” is taken pretty seriously with “Virgil,” which was inspired by Virgil’s perspective in Dante’s Inferno. Using the nine circles of hell as its theme, the track descends through multiple layers, each one more twisted than the last. From start to finish, “Virgil” straddles the best attributes of techno and acid: While building with the pummeling pulse of techno, “Virgil” shifts through the figurative cries of tormented souls, and tapers off with buzzing and infectious acid sequences.
Grab a free download of “Virgil” below: