November 01, 2006



(Cell-phone photo courtesy of David Day.)

I could not take a photo of this event because I was trying to be a host. This task consisted, mainly, of doing nothing. I sat with Michael Mayer and his girlfriend, Sidonie, in the "green room," which was a room upstairs. I thought Club T would be gigantic, but it was not, which was a pleasant surprise. (Not because there are inherently bad things about small or big clubs, but the club I was imagining was too big and not full of people.) There was some free vanilla-flavored vodka, which nobody liked. The first of my only two real obligations was to find normal vodka, which required me to move several feet and "borrow" some Ketel One from a bar that was not being used.

The next task was to be concerned and ask other people to do things. Ezekiel Honig was finishing a set with his laptop. I followed Michael to the DJ booth. He looked at the turntables and said "Where are the needles?" Someone from the club said "DJs usually bring their own." Michael said that his rider made it clear he wasn't bringing needles. He didn't seem very upset. The club person whizzed away. I couldn't tell if this was run-of-the-mill stuff, or a potential car wreck. I found the club person, stressed how important the needles were, while trying not to get all Naomi Campbell about it, and went back to the booth. A different person, bearing two needles, appeared less than ten minutes later. It was impressive. Ezekiel kept going with Ableton Live. Nobody had gotten their panties in a bunch. I thanked all the people it seemed right to thank.

Then, Michael attached the needle (actually needle, cartridge and headshell) and started playing a record. It did, literally, make everyone dance (though many were already dancing). Michael cued up the second record, but had to remove the headshell. He blew on it, and replaced it. Something wasn't working, and he kept removing the headshell, blowing on the needle, and screwing it all back together. I looked at the first record. The needle was less than an inch from the gutter and I think the platter was going at 45 RPM. This could be weird. And then, after five tries, it worked. He blended the records together, and that was that.

Michael is as good as people say he is. You can buy his new mix CD, "Immer 2," but this will not make clear what he can do. Dance DJs, dependent as they may be on technology, are close to uncapturable as musicians. Plenty of musicians depend on amplification but dance DJs work in an enviroment where the speaker bins, walls and dancers form a circuit with the record selection and create a synthetic experience that defeats recording technology. Even if I had an MP3 of Michael's T performance, it wouldn't convey how the music worked and how quickly time passed while we were dancing.

Posted by Sasha at November 1, 2006 02:30 PM | TrackBack