I *heart* NY
Now is the time for New York. Autumn is my favorite season in New York - the bright sunshine, vivid colors and brisk air mix to form the perfect climate before the air chills and mire of coat check lines form. Autumn also marks a cultural rebirth in New York as museums, theater & music istitutions of the city begin new seasons, school is back in session, and of course the clubbing season kicks back into gear after the summer lull. Since 9-1-1, I've used this time to measure the electronic dance music and clubbing barometer of New York City. Over the last three years dance music pundits have declared the demise of dance music and naysayers bemoan the degradation of Gotham clubbing but I've been witness to a dozen rebirths, reincarnations and progression of the scene to believe in Autumn in New York's night-life rennaissance.
Made Events has been a stalwart in all this. First, ARC and then a series of one-offs at the Roxy including Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, Armin van Buren and last weekend?s massive "Danny vs. Danny" with Tenaglia and Howells for those who have been living under a rock. Made Events ups the ante again this week with Made in Central Park presents Tiesto (9/22/04). Love him or hate him, please recognize. Tiesto was recently the first DJ ever to helm the decks at the Olympics. This year in Athens, he provided the soundtrack to the parade of athletes during the opening ceremony. I always dismiss the naysayers sipping their bitter haterade; every DJ serves a purpose and Tiesto is a "gateway DJ" akin to the original stepping stone to better music: Paul Oakenfold . To follow-up this heady week, we have nu-breaks King Adam Freeland at meatpacking district's current hot boite-du-jour Cielo.
Last Saturday, another heavyweight duo tag-teamed it at club IKON - two of the biggest figures in the global deep house scene Derrick Carter & Mark Farina came in to mark the release of their double-album "Live at Om". The cavernous club itself has gone through several incarnations over the years. Since my first foray in 1997 it has morphed from Mirage, to Carbon, to Exit, to the short-lived Black NYC and now IKON. The UK global clubbing brand Godskitchen have taken over the Saturday nights and they've already started an onslaught of talented DJs and live acts. This Saturday, September 25th :: be sure to catch the debut of Hope Recording artists GRAYAREA, a reportedly stunning live act from Chicago. After a lot of industry buzz and on high recommendation from James Zabiela, I'm looking forward to seeing them perform for the first time. After working with various live acts like Underworld, Orbital, and The Orb and now currently with Australia's INFUSION, I really want to see how GRAYAREA measure up.
Finally to celebrate this all, Crobar is hosting a watershed event Tuesday, September 21st ; BPM Magazine & The Recording Academy Celebrate the Addition of the
Best Electronic/Dance Album Category. The addition of this event to the GRAMMY® awards is a significant step forward in recognizing this music we love as a legitimate artistic and commercial artform and not just fodder for video-games and commercials. In the larger context of the music industry and mainstream culture it is a win-win for the mainstream, and underground artists who've been supporting this culture with sweat and love. One of the organizers of this massive event, BPM magazine's Matt Colon says, "the Grammy's were the final obstacle that needed to be overcome to legitimate this genre in most people's eyes. We've gotten platinum albums (Fatboy Slim, Moby, etc), and Billboard coverage of our weekly charts, but this Grammy category was the final piece in that puzzle. It's the next step in the natural progression of the music."
One small step for artists, one giant leap for electronic dance music...
Made Events :: www.made-events.com
Godskitchen :: www.godskitchen.com
GrayArea :: www.graylabel.net
INFUSION :: www.infusion.net.au
Crobar :: www.crobar.com
BPM Culture Magazine :: www.djmixed.com
posted on 1:00 PM
P.S. 1 Warm-up Sessions
The annual P.S. 1 Warm-up sessions may just be THE quintessential NYC
clubbing event. It's a unique experience where art merges with music,
popular culture and people so diverse they could only be from New York;
all combining to create something part club, part fashion show and part
social mixer. This Saturday's Warm-up, the last of this year, was the
perfect note to mark the traditional end of the summer, Labor Day weekend.
For the closing weekend of Summer 2004, the all-star duo The Cosmic Twins
- christened by Detroit techno innovator Derrick May & French-born,
NYC-based house legend Francois K. - helmed the decks for the festivities.
Six hours of musical bliss for a crowd ready to party. As expected, we
heard classics like "Strings of Life" and "Knights of the Jaguar", but we
also heard a wide range of funky-jazzy-house, jungle, micro-bleeps and
banging techno; all mixed into a seamless blend of music for people to
dance to. And dance they did; I haven't seen such an inspired crowd all
summer. The twins had the masses on the "dancefloor" and all through out
the courtyard bouncing with fists in the air and cheering all afternoon.
Well over 7,000 were in attendance attendance throughout the day, and it
seemed each of them came ready for fun. The gathered masses included the
requisite hipsters, clubbers, celebs (does Moby count?), DJ groupies,
families with their kids in tow. I think many were just happy to make it
to the actual party and past a regular admission line that wrapped around
three city blocks and stretched for hundreds and hundreds of people. For
those people clever enough to arrive between 12pm - 2:00pm entry is
actually free; but of course, most people don't seem to take advantage of
this and arrive fashionably late to face interminable queues. Lucky for
us, membership has its privileges as MOMA members - as well as LIC
residents and accredited members of the press - have access to the shorter
special VIP line and free admission. That was a big benefit this weekend
on top of the good feeling of supporting a NYC art institution.
The setting of this year's Warm-Up was no less spectacular. Every year
MoMA's Young Architects Program hosts a competition for emerging
architects to design the PS1 courtyard space and envision an "Urban Beach"
environment as the setting for the Warm-Up series. This year's "Canopy",
designed by nARCHITECTS, was constructed primarily of freshly cut green
bamboo and featured spaces for lounging and relaxation including a wading
pool and a sandy area for sunbathers. The bamboo theme was widely agreed
by the party goers, to have trumped all previous years with it's
transparent intergration with the courtyard's open space and integrated
water mist sprays to provide temperature relief. We spent more than a
minute dancing in the mist, lost in a cloud of good intentions and quality
You can't quite capture the energy of the dancefloor and the raucous
screams and hands-in-the-air excitement in words but while you're there
it's the most inspired feeling. It's an amalgam of all that NYC is and
what electronic music and clubbing should aspire to be.
For those who missed out this year, shame on you! This is a NYC summer
institution and a clubbing must.
See you in 2005!
Photo credit: Chris McNaughty P.S. 1 - photos 1, Chris McNaughty P.S. 1 photos 2
posted on 3:40 PM
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