Friday, May 13, 2011
People say disco is dead; VIA begs to differ. Last Saturday's show, held at what is becoming one of the best places for parties in the East End, Istanbul Grille on Butler Street, staged a lineup of artists that were all wildly different but whose sounds all held some tangential connection to the disco days.
Edgar Um started off the music with an expertly crafted string of tunes that hearkened anywhere from the early '70s to current underground treasures. He pulled out the deep cuts from bands like Goblin, The Alan Parsons Project, and The Rolling Stones with smatterings of present day bass artists like Boxcutter and Africa Hitech. The visuals, provided by Scott Andrew, were keenly in tune with Edgar Um's breadth of sonic diversity, humorous and visionary. Edgar's opening set and the interludes between artists acted as a segue from the '80s flavored opener to the nu-disco headliner smoothing all the dance happy disco jamming into a solid party.
Michael Ice's performance transformed the Turkish milieu of Istanbul into a dark dark New York City club of yore, like something located in Alphabet City in the '80s; the throbbing glow of his visual component, a set of red lights on either side of him, synced up with the synth sounds emanating from his keyboard that were dripping with influence from The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order. He was a one man powerhouse of '80s tinged energy complete with a floppy blond 'do and black jacket.
Majeure followed Edgar Um's interlude with epic space rock that turned the dance floor from '80s club to '80s sci-fi phantasmagoria with the dark, danger forewarning arpeggiated synths that dominated his set. His sounds were truly encapsulating, the dance floor inhabitants no doubt dreaming of electric sheep as Theo Leung's visuals of mesmerizing video montage reminiscent of the Qatsi Trilogy flashed behind him. A veritable blend of organic and futuristic, both on screen and transmitted through the speakers.
By the time In Flagranti took the stage, Istanbul had been transformed into a present day Studio 54, the crowd composite of trannys dressed to the nines and vogue hip kids who trickled in from the Dirty Ball that happened earlier in the evening. In Flagranti's set was all of the expected dance inducing sleazy disco remixes with visuals to match. It was an expressive array of soft core sex all melded together and reinterpreted to create a mediated randomness of electro beats and deep disco-house that just went instantly to the dance floor, no waiting around to find a groove, they just dished it out straight up.
So yeah, disco certainly isn't dead. It's alive and well and you can pretty much find it at the core of any dance music. VIA didn't even need a disco ball to remind us of that.