Freebreak: The Breakthru Sound of Today

Here is something I wrote in 2003 when Electroclash was declared the next big thing. I’m not sure why I wrote it but I got a kick out of reading it. It is a parody of “the next big dance music genre” articles that often appeared in Mixmag, URB, BPM Culture, and other DJ magazines (and the type of article that would appear on Resident Advisor today). The funny thing is if some of the references were changed it could have been something I have written yesterday. Really dance music culture really haven’t changed that much. So here’s the first part of  this article about the latest sound hitting the dance floor, Freebreak.

Saturday night, February 22, 2003, at the Nu Funhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a small group of twentysomethings, who looked like they just stepped off the set of the 80’s television show Fame, is lounging around to the sound of melodic breakbeats that is straining the power of the sound system of this local lounge. This is the release party for the URB article, “Freebreak: the Breakthru Sound of Today.” The men are either in colorful buttoned down shirts with suspenders or they are wearing sleeveless shirts that show off their lanky physiques. The women are feeling secure in their stretch pants, their colorful blouses buttoned at the bottom over cleaveage bearing shirts. Some of the women looked like they stepped out of a cotillion — similar to how Madonna looked in the Like a Virgin video — but in a more casual manner. As far as hairstyles go, it is big Jersey hair everywhere, along with mullets fashioned after Patrick Swazye — or George Clooney during his Facts of Life days — at the peak of his popularity.

The corwd gathered at the Nu Funhouse os slowly starting to bob their heads to the songs. The DJ seamlessly drops the early 80’s classic “One More Shot” into his concoction of breakbeats and the crowd starts politely clapping in approval. One reveler, Tina, 29, a journalist says, “Now this is fun. You don’t see people in Manhattan enjoying themselves like this.” The DJ spends a good amount of time dropping the breakbeats behind songs like “Let the Music Play,” “I.O.U.,” “Show Me,” “Bad of the Heart,” “Temptation, “Dreamboy/Dreamgirl,” etc. but tell any of these revelers that Freestyle is back and they won’t hesitate to tell you that “This is not Freestyle, but a new style called Freebreak that takes the best parts of Freestyle and gets rid of its ‘cheesier’ aspects to create something that works for today’s dancefloors! Didn’t you check out the article in the latest URB, which incidentially I wrote? Freebreak is going to free the club scene from the monotony of House, Techno, Trance, and Drum & Bass. It is obvious the current sounds of clubland cannot sustain the club scene, so this new sound is going to kick those sounds in the arse,” yells Tina over the barely audible music.

Freebreak, like other dance music genres, did not come fully formed overnight, it has developed over the past year in underground New York and London clubs. It takes its cues from Freestyle, the sound of such Manhattan clubs like the Funhouse, Devil’s Nest, Inferno, and The Palladium, and Florida clubs including Merci Mercy, Pretty Pretty, and Falcon. The Freestyle sound consisted of Electro beats mixed in with Salsa flavor backed by melodic vocals about young love and heartbreak. Freestyle was the sound of Latino and Italian youth and during its peak from the mid-80’s to the early-90’s became a staple of radio. The choppy beats and the simple, yet elegant, melodies of those bygone days almost get the crowds of The Nu Funhouse shimmying. The DJ, Jesus Martinez, is pleased with the warm reaction. Who would have thought that the Freebreak sound he spearheaded would become so big.

In 1994, Jesus had the massive club hit, “Be My Love” under the moniker Love Shack. That song with its “Planet Rock” styled Electro beats and its primitive, slightly off-key, but engaging vocal was Freestyle’s last big hit before the sound evaporated under its lack of innovation. He eventually moved on to the Trance wave and became a world renowned DJ as a result, achieving even greater success as a DJ/producer, collecting the frequent flyer miles commuting between Europe and his adopted New York — he was originally from Great Britain and changed his name for greater street credibility — every weekend to prove it. Yet he wasn’t satisfied with his success as a World Renowned DJ. Martinez explains, “Trance lost its appeal. After a while, Trance became predictable and lost all its meaning. Trance wasn’t cutting edge anymore. It was time to move on to the next level, to the sound that was going to bring the excitement back into the clubs. I knew it was over when, about a year and a half ago, I was spinning some Trance in Miami’s hottest club and only twenty people showed up. A week later, my press agent sent me twenty reviews from twenty different Miami publications dogging me for playing the same records I was playing six months before. I realized then that I was losing my edge and decided to revamp my sound.”

One night, a friend dragged him to hear Freestyle oldies act, the Glamour Girls. “My first thought was, ‘they’re still around,’ but I went to see them and I was inspired. I realized that there was some potential in the Freestyle sound but it needed to be updated for 21st century audience. With some attitude it’s going to kick the club scene in the arse!” Martinez went over to the Glamour Girls and they gave him a demo. He took the demo into the studio, added a more prominent Breakbeat, played around with the vocals by minimizing them to the “oohs” to make them sexier, increased the Freestyle effects already there and added that “Martinez touch.” “Today’s crowds like ole’ school sounds mixed in with some new school flavor. While the sound is reminiscent of 1986, it has that edge for 21st century audiences. I also felt that the Glamour Girls had the potential to be a touring group but today’s clubbers don’t want performers who just sing over tracks, so I created a live audiovisual performance experience full of dancers, hi-definition video projection, performance artists, the works. I even revamped the Glamour Girls to give them a sexier image because clubbers are obsessed with sexy, glamorous images, so we brought in some new girls that represented what’s currently chic in the club scene. I mean, the audience doesn’t relate to a Lydia Mendosa, so I replaced her with the beautiful Marilyn. These new girls are beautiful, in shape, and have no blemishes whatsoever.

Realizing the commercial potential in this sound, Martinez realized that “this could potentially be fucking huge.” He searched for the best representatives for this sound. He found K-fem in a London lounge crooning about Lime and Coke over minimal breakbeats. He heard about German singer, Jesus Luna, after seeing his name on the cover of The Face. Acquaintances were raving about Exotic Ecstasy from New York. Although he was approached by a few of the old Freestyle acts like TKA, George Lamond, and Lil’ Suzy, he didn’t feel that they accurately represented the 21st century sounds of Freebreak. “All that shit about young love just doesn’t cut it these days. Besides who wants to see pre-fab acts when they could see artists who truly care about their work.”

Over the past few years dance music has mutated into an increasingly more arcane collection of sounds. 2 Step, Tech House, Electronica, Dub Step, Nu Jazz, Electroclash, Speed Garage are among the sounds that came and went in the last five years. It has gotten to the point that the only people into these sounds were journalists and record collectors who spend all their time cataloging them. As dance music became further divided into ever-growing subcategories of barely distinguishable sounds, clubgoers moved on to more relevant music like Hip-Hop, boy bands, and Britney Spears. Upon discovering, the fashionable performers at the forefront of the Freebreak Movement, Martinez knew that “Hip-Hop, boy bands, and Britney were obsolete!”

To be continued…


Resident Advisor X New York City Edition Review

Happy tenth birthday Resident Advisor, the dance music website that covers the many aspects of dance music culture. To celebrate, Resident Advisor is throwing ten parties around the world called Resident Advisor X. The New York edition on 8.20.2011 was a massive disappointment. While I didn’t hate the party as much as some (the party is getting massacred in the RA Forum), the party had many problems that dampened the party; IMO, it was a mediocre party that could have been great if the organizers had their act together. The NYC lineup was DJ Masashi Nakazawa, King Sunshine, Peven Everett, and DJ Mala, a lineup put together by a mysterious “X” (I will reveal his identity shortly).

First the e-mail to ticket holders indicated that Masashi Nakazawa was opening at 8 and King Sunshine was starting at 9:30. Well I got there at around 9:15 and they were adjusting Masashi’s turntables. He was playing some nice spacey, jazzy stuff but between the unstable turntables that were constantly skipping and the shoddy sound system that had muffled basslines and distorted highs, it sounded terrible. It was an ominous sign for the night.

Masashi Nakazawa early in the night

The music was good for easing into the night but it was obvious he was having trouble with the equipment. With a decent sound system the music would have been perfect for that time of night but the system blunted the music. After one particular equipment hiccup we just shared a look with each other that said, “What can we do about it.” After about 30 minutes or so, X came out to help adjust the turntables.

X (Theo Parish) discussing the turntables with one of the Le Poisson Rouge staff

As you can see (or maybe not, crappy cell phone camera) X turned out to be Theo Parish. Theo then raised the turntables and adjusted them a bit but it only made things slightly better. Masashi played another record or two then Theo took over, starting with some Hip-Hop and Reggae into some Jazz and Afro Beat. Being early in the night he didn’t raise the tempo too much. A nice side of Theo that you don’t usually see since he’s usually playing during peak hour; that set lasted about 45 minutes.

X (Theo Parish) graces the decks with an early set.

Masashi went back on and Theo went backstage. As people were starting to come in Masashi was picking up the tempo and started getting into the groove. He started playing some Jazz Funk which segued into King Sunshine. However, you couldn’t hear what the lead singer was singing because the sound of her microphone was way too low. The guitarist was trying to introduce the band and you couldn’t hear the band. These types of sound problems should have been settled before the doors opened at 8 pm.

King Sunshine performs for your pleasure

King Sunshine was everything you could ask for in a band they played fun, Disco influenced music. It’s obvious the band was influenced by the Disco records of the past. I also loved that treated the genre without irony. To me the “cheekiness” is one of the things that are a turnoff about a lot of the nuDisco bands that have popped up in recent years. Fun, bouncy dance music is what King Sunshine stands for. As King Sunshine was finishing their set Peven Everett was standing on the side of stage. The guitarist announced Peven as a “special guest” as half the band left the stage for him. Peven and the rest of the band went into alternate rousing renditions of “Burning Hot” and “Stuck,” but after that was it.

And now…Peven Everett

I for one was disappointed that he sang only two songs. For a show that was marketed on the basis of a mysterious “X,” Peven Everett was a selling point of this event for some. While I did suspect that “X” would be from Detroit thus providing some incentive to purchase a ticket, if my guest wrong, then at least I would have seen a nice show by Peven Everett. While I did not expect Peven’s full show, I expected a 45-60 minute performance. My expectations of the night was an opening set by Masashi Nakazawa then King Sunshine then a DJ set by Mala then a 45-60 minute performance by Peven Everett (of course the order of these two is irrelevant) then “X.”

As far as marketing this show goes, Masashi Nakazawa is a total unknown entity, King Sunshine has a following based on their reputation and their recordings but they never played in NYC before, so the most well known acts, beside “X” whose was identity unknown until last night, are Mala and Peven Everett. However, Mala fans and Peven Everett fans in NYC are not one and the same for the most part. The whole “X” factor was a big blunder on Resident Advisor’s part. While they could market the party based on the idea of X and the “Resident Advisor” name in the European cities they have done party so far, that’s not the case in the United States. The Dance Music scene in NYC is very splintered in terms of genre with very little overlap between fans of one genre and fans of another. The people who go to Peven Everett concerts at S.O.B.’s are not the people who go to Dubwar parties to hear Dubstep. Heck, even without revealing “X” to the public, the promoters should have realized that the people who come out for Theo Parish are not the same who would come for Mala, although to be fair there is much more overlap between Theo Parish and Mala fans than Mala and Peven Everett fans. Also while Peven Everett’s music should have an appeal to those who listens Theo Parish, Peven’s concerts are not marketed to the same people who go to the parties that bring Theo to play. That’s something that should have taken into consideration if Resident Advisor did their homework on the NYC market.

Crowd shot during the peak of the night.

Back to the party, Mala went on after Peven finished. He put on a Reggae record and the sound stopped coming out of the speakers after awhile. Since there were two DJ setups on the stage – one stage right for Theo and Masashi, and one stage left for Mala – he went to the other set of decks. When the needles started skipping on that one he went back to his original decks. While he was changing decks the audience followed him from one side to the other in a funny moment. Really, is what Dance Music DJs do really that interesting visually? It did not make much of a difference as far as sound goes which side he was on as far as which side the music was emanating from (although it may make a difference in other aspects but the music did not sound any crisper on either the right or left sides). It’s not a freaking concert (okay it was but still…). From his Reggae beginning he immediately segued into Dubstep. It was okay for what it was and I heard worse Dubstep sets but I am not a big fan of the genre. I was just never into aggressive bass-heavy music (although I am into some types of Techno); I mean I’m probably the most Hip-Hop illiterate person I know. Once he started with the Dubstep the crowd started pogoing, jumping up and down while waving their hands. To me that’s not dancing but that’s just me. Besides my knees are so bad that I probably would be laid up for a few days if I pogoed for too long, besides, that dance floor was hard and had no give whatsoever. I actually used this set as an opportunity to step out and grab a pizza (at least Le Poisson Rouge allowed reentry).

Mala hypnotizing the crowd

Of course once Mala finished his set, it was time for Theo Parish to formally make his appearance. He started spinning and once again the turntable needles started skipping and the sound started dropping out. He had to switch to Mala’s turntables at one point (this time the crowd did not ping pong with him). At this point it was 2:00 AM and the problems that have been plaguing this event since at least 9:00 PM were still occurring, something should have been done during that time, especially since the turntables were not in constant use during all that time. I personally enjoyed the Jazz-Funk Theo started his set with after Mala’s set but it was a strange fit after the preceding Dubstep set. That coupled with the equipment problems did put a damper into the proceedings. Things were a bit rough in the beginning but I liked Theo’s progression into more House-oriented sounds. At one point he mixed a record from Mala’s turntables to his. That actually came off better than expected. Theo started getting into more Techno territory when he dropped his own “Synthetic Flemm.” From that record to his last few he started getting a nice zone.

Theo Parish on the decks for real

After a few more records, Theo handed the decks back to Masashi Nakazawa. At this point the crowd was thinning out; no doubt disappointed by the night in general punctuated by Theo’s seemingly short set, even though many did not realize that he played for a short time earlier in the night. Masashi continued along the lines of what Theo was playing earlier. The transition was so seamless I did not realize that the DJ changed until I looked up. He played a more “Deep House/Techno” set than earlier. Some nice selections but the equipment was still giving him a hard time. At this point my knees were hurting. The main room of Le Poisson Rouge has a concrete floor covered by a wooden (I think) surface which enable the crowd to dance but that surface got real sticky by the end of the night. Between the stickiness and the lack of give, it was difficult to dance. The last 15 minutes or so I just gave up dancing and just sat down and appreciated the music. I feel bad for Masashi Nakazawa because his sets were plagued by equipment problems which gave off the wrong impression of his abilities to the crowd. He was a total unknown to probably 99% of the crowd and to many in the NYC Dance Music community a DJ must mix flawlessly and play sounds that they at least recognize. The equipment hampered his ability to mix, the language barrier made it difficult for him to communicate his difficulties with that equipment, and he was playing records that were more leftfield than most of the crowd was used to hearing at a Dance Music party. Personally I would love to hear him again in an environment where the equipment was actually working properly because despite the equipment problems he played music that I would dance to. Unfortunately, I do think many in the crowd won’t be as forgiving and recognize the circumstance he had to deal with since he’s an unknown entity that does not have a hot record out.

Full circle

The problems with the New York edition of Resident Advisor X could be summed up to a lack of understanding of the NYC Dance Music market. Between the lineup (which was a good lineup but not what most were expecting), the choice of venue, the promotion of the event not reflecting the lineup, and the equipment problems plaguing the show, the party did not come off well. Resident Advisor X should have been a night to remember unfortunately it was for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think this was the worst event I’ve been to this summer but it certainly was the most disappointing. The next time Resident Advisor decide to do a party in NYC they should at minimum they should do their homework and maybe partner up with established NYC party promoters (there are some pros and cons but that’s a different subject altogether).

Movement 2010 Days 2 and 3

This is the long awaited conclusion to my DEMF report. I look both days 2 and 3 as well as the Metroplex party. Hopefully the delay was worth, plus some video and the story of the Mad Hatter of Movement 2010.

The second day I left my room to catch the beginning of the Martinez Brothers set. Let me say something about the Martinez Brothers, I first heard them years ago and my first impression of them was, “they’re okay but they play like 40 year old DJs.” At the time they did not convince me that they had their own voice. That is definitely not the case now. These boys have not only found their own voice they have mastered the skill of complete crowd control. They had that crowd at the Beatport stage at the palm of their hands. While I appreciated the craft they used during their set, I just couldn’t get into what they were playing. Pretty much everything I said about the stage during the first day applied here. I just couldn’t get into it, plus I was tired from the previous night so I went back to the hotel.

I stayed in the room until about five then I headed back to Hart Plaza. After going around the different stages a little bit I checked out Cassy on the Beatport stage. This woman knows what she was doing. I would love to check her out the next time she is in New York City but the tendency of everyone to playing very “Ravey” plus the dynamics of that stage made me head back to the Made in Detroit stage to hear the closing of K. Hand’s set. She wasn’t near the worst offender of this crime and there was a certain charm to her presence and style but the Beatport stage just wasn’t for me.

Speaking of people playing hard and banging, K. Hand was definitely pumping up that energy. The Raver kids were out in full force and K. Hand was controlling their every move. She got me screaming, “She’s the queen of techno.” Some may have felt her set was a bit too “Trance-like” but I enjoyed every moment I heard. Although the stage were overflowing with kids at times, because the stage was more oriented toward dancing and the lineup was filled with the people I came to see, I enjoyed that stage a lot more than the Beatport stage.

Anthony Shakur brought things down a little bit, playing a more Classic House and Disco oriented set with some Techno added in. This set was much stronger than the set he played in the Bunker in February. Shakur had me shaking and kept me dancing throughout his set. After “Shake” DJ Rolando stepped on the decks mixing Adonis’s “No Way Back” with something else and it was on. Rolando is someone who takes where the previous DJ left off and builds his set up until the climax. Coming in, I know that Rolando is building to “Knights of the Jaguar,” so I was anticipating hearing it. At one point he teased the crowd with a remix before going back to his set. I decided to go to the Main Stage with a friend to check on his wife who was watching Derrick Carter play. I respect Derrick Carter but I could never get into him. I probably stayed there for about ten to fifteen minutes. Of course by the time I got back to Rolando, “Jaguar” was just finishing up. Oh well, I enjoyed the rest of the set and got excited when Rob Hood started his Live set.

What else could say about Rob Hood other than, “He is the Man”! There were problems with the sound early on and the performance stopped cold within about ten minutes. After that was settled, Rob continued with a relentless set of tracks that sent me to ecstasy. Totally amazing! After that it was back to the Main Stage for the Inner Life performance. They played their greatest heads and while enjoyable, the performance was marred by sound problems. I could barely hear Paris Gray’s and Ann Saunderson’s vocals. The lack of clarity made it harder to really get into the performance.

While walking back to the hotel, I saw the line to get into the Metroplex party. I figured, fine that’s cool but I wanted to take a little rest before heading to that party. Big mistake! By the time I got on line it was 1:00 am and I did not get in until past two after alcohol sales ended for the night. I was on line next to John. Who is John? If you were at Movement you probably saw a guy in a Mad Hatter costume; that’s John. I told John, “You should put on your costume maybe they’ll let you in because by the time you put it on we’ll still be at the same place on the line.” He went back to his room and about 20 minutes later he was dressed and we were on the same place on line. He came back with his friend Bridget, a dancer and proceeded to entertain the people in our section on the line plus some people passing by in their cars.

A bunch of guys drove by blasting Michael Jackson and they stopped when they saw the Mad Hatter. The stereo was playing “Billie Jean” while they stopped and Bridget started dancing and the guys in the car were cheering her on. That made the wait on line that much more bearable.

Here’s a Youtube video of the Mad Hatter from Movement 2010:

Once we got inside it was after 2:00 a.m. which is last call for alcohol. It’s so easy to New York’s 4:00 am alcohol laws for granted until you leave the city. I’m just getting warmed up at 2:00 am but a lot of NYC transplants are usually home by 1:30 am. Posers. Anyway, back to the Metroplex party, we kept ourselves entertained until we finally got in.

From what I heard there was a lot of behind the scenes drama regarding this party; there were a few DJs that were advertised but did not play like Rob Hood and Ben Sims. I don’t know if Rob Hood was ever slated to play but Ben Sims posted on his Facebook page that he could not deal with the party’s promoters so he decided not to play. There were only set times listed for the downstairs floor where the four Techno founders played (Eddie Fowlkes, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Derrick May) but no one knew what time the DJs on the other floors was playing. Plus, the long line was totally unnecessary. I understand wanting to create a buzz but in NYC there is a way of managing the line to make the event look happening while getting people into the room. Once inside, you realize the place was huge and it was nowhere near hitting capacity. The doorpeople could have done a much better job managing the line.

Once inside, all of that didn’t matter. The music from the Techno founders was amazing. I missed Eddie Fowlkes but Kevin, Juan, and Derrick was amazing. Kevin probably played the most Techno of the three, while Juan focused more on early-80’s dance classics, and Derrick was a combination of the other two. A highlight for me was singing along to Love Committee’s Salsoul classic, “All I Got is You” with someone else on the dance floor. Derrick May was hitting it strong until the sound abruptly cut out in the middle of the song at around 6:30 a.m. Security was encouraging people to leave at that point. By that time I was up for about 22 hours straight. I walked back to the hotel, had breakfast, and sneaked a few hours of sleep.

The next day I wanted to have a late start. I wanted to see the Mortiz Von Oswald Trio but I got a text from a friend when it started at 4:00 p.m. I quickly headed down to Hart Plaza from the hotel to catch the last 20 minutes of their set. It was more “Techno” than the set they played during Unsound New York. There was a slow, but airy beat underneath the music. Good head music that took you somewhere. After that set we decided to go somewhere to eat, coming back to check out a little bit of DJ Minx in the Real Detroit stage but I was hoping to hear more Soulful House from her. I went over to the Main Stage for Stacey Pullen. He provided more of a big room sound that was effective.

Then it was time for Kenny Larkin. Kenny killed it. His live set was pure, driving Techno. I can’t say anything else that hasn’t been said about the man. He also dropped Knights of the Jaguar. Model 500 ended the festival with a live show consisting of Model 500 classics. Juan Atkins, “Mad” Mike Banks, and their cohorts came out in their Star Trek: The Next Generation outfits. It definitely set the stage for the vision of the future as described in the music. Between the two headlining performances I saw, this one was the strongest. This was a great way to close out Movement 2010.

I did not go to any afterparties on Monday, instead hanging out then going to bed. The next day was back to reality. Sorry for the delay in this report but a combination of circumstances slowed things down. Thank you for reading.

Movement 2010 – Day 1

This entry covers day one of Movement 2010. I will provide my thoughts on the Made in Detroit Stage, Main Stage, and the Torino Stage, including what I think is the worst stage. Plus I provide a review of the Deep Detroit party.

I arrived at the festival a little before two to check out Patrice Scott’s sound check. I heard about all the complaints in the past about the sound in the underground Made in Detroit stage but at that time of day, it did sound really good; however, the sound in that area deteriorated throughout the day. Once 2:00 came, Patrice proceeded to play a set of nice, hard, driving Deep House. With the people just coming in to fill the festival, the Underground was perfect for dancing. Although I expected something a bit more melodic, the deepness Patrice provided was perfect for a Saturday afternoon. The first sign of sound muddiness came when Nico Marks took over. The sound quality dipped slightly. Nico started combining Classic House records with his keyboard playing; while it was nice, I really wasn’t feeling it enough to stick around consistently.

It was a good time to check out some of the other stages. I dipped in and out of the main stage to groove a little to Mark Ernestus’ Dub set. I also went over to the Beatport stage. While it was crowded, I wasn’t feeling the crowd dynamic or the “Ravey” sounds emanating from the stage. One thing I noticed about the Made in Detroit stage was that there were a lot of teenagers really getting into the sounds. Generally speaking the kids were the ones dancing in the pit while the older folk were grooving on the sidelines looking down at the dancing down in the pit. I came to dance so I was often dancing in the pit whenever I was in the area. Quite a few dance circles formed throughout the day. At the Beatport stage while there was definitely some kids, there were also quite a few older ravers/ex-ravers hanging around the stage. However, while the Made in Detroit stage was made for dancing, the Beatport stage was situated more for watching the DJs rather than dancing to them. The “DJ as a Rock Star” paradigm was definitely in affect at the Beatport stage. That probably made sense since that was the stage where they have placed the big names from the international circuit. For me, the Beatport stage was a good place to take a breather and hang out with friends rather than a place to enjoy and to dance to the music.

Headed back to the Made in Detroit stage and caught the beginning of Kyle Hall’s set. Kyle has definitely improved from when I heard him last year at The Yard. He knows how to mix the past and the present together in a compelling manner. However, the sound situation in the underground was definitely deteriorating at that point. I headed over to the Main Stage for a bit and caught Woody McBride. To me, he was the surprise of the weekend. Before this weekend I have never heard of Woody McBride and if you got a profile of the type of Dance Music I like, the music Woody plays would not fit that bill. The man plays, high energy, almost “Trancey” Techno and I was really feeling it. As someone who likes things a bit deeper, I was surprised at how well I responded to Woody McBride. I would definitely check him out if he comes to New York, depending on the venue he’s booked to play at.

Back to the Detroit stage for Rick Wilhite and while played some nice classic jams like Dancer by Gino Socco, I felt he was a bit inconsistent musically and his set didn’t flow as smoothly as it could of. Plus the sound was shot at that point. I went over to the Torino stage for Kirk Degiorgio who played some balls to the wall Techno. I loved it, probably one of my highlights in terms of dancing. Degiorgio’s set was criminally under-attended. People complain that the Made in Detroit stage is the worst stage to play at but I honestly think that honor belonged to the Torino stage. As you approach most of the stages you hear what is being played on the stage at the moment. The Torino stage is located to the right of the entrance to Hart Plaza. Ideally, the Torino stage should provide your first impression of the music of Movement, unfortunately what is being played at the stage is overpowered by loud, obnoxious video game Trance music emanating from the Playstation booth. I understand that Playstation is a sponsor but do they have to have a booth with music loud enough to overpower the music coming from one of the stages. I think there is something very wrong with that. At least the Detroit artists in the Made in Detroit did not get overpowered by the noise from the Playstation booth. After that the group I was with decided to go to dinner and we missed the rest of the night’s festivities at Hart Plaza.

After dinner and a misadventure involving finding beer in Detroit at night (unlike New York, grocery stores do not sell beer), we headed down to the Deep Detroit party with Kai Alce, Larry Heard, and Theo Parrish. The Deep Detroit party was a nice change of pace because most of what I heard throughout most of the day was hard, driving, banging Techno with some little breaks between. By that point I was ready to hear some Soulful Deep House. For a variety of reasons, including crowd dynamics since the dance floor was dominated by teenage ravers, even DJs known for playing Deep House was playing relatively hard, so it was a relief to have the BPM’s slow down, the music more melodic, and have songs to sing along to.

The party was held in a café/performance space. Early in the night Larry and Kai traded off every half-hour or so. Larry played some nice cuts but it was Kai Alce who was the star of the night. He kept that party going with a combination of Soulful Vocal House and Dance Classics, along with some Acid (maybe it was Larry who was playing the Acid, it is all a blur at this point). Whoever was playing at what point that person had me dancing hard. Theo Parrish came on around 3:15 and while I usually enjoy Theo, this was probably the weakest set I’ve ever heard from him. It was lacking something. I also felt that he was milking James Brown’s Doin’ It to Death a bit too much. It didn’t help that he followed it with another James Brown song. The set was a little too linear for a Theo Parrish set. I was getting a bit tired so I grabbed a Gatorade and sat outside for a while. The cops came and told everyone to leave the sidewalk since there were a lot of people in front of the venue. People tried to go back into the club but only some made it back in before the cops stopped people from going back in. Despite all this the cops did not shut the party down. The party went another 30-45 minutes before it ended around 4:30. We hung outside the venue for a few minutes. Theo walked out the venue like the conquering hero. It was an excellent party but it was time to walk back to the hotel and get a little bit of rest.

Movement 2010 – The Friday Before the Festival

Sorry, I haven’t been updating. I’m expanding the scope of this blog beyond libraries. I am a big fan of House and Techno Music and I am writing about it. Last weekend I was at Movement 2010 , Detroit’s annual electronic music festival. This post will begin a series of posts regarding my experiences and impressions from the event. I will start with Friday night and chronicle each day in order. Let’s begin.

I touched down on Detroit on Friday. After getting a few things together and having dinner, I went to the This is Home party featuring Omar S and Reference. When we got there we weren’t feeling the main room. We went into the side room and Big Strick was bringing it down with some nice techy Deep House. I never heard of Big Strick before that night, he is one of Omar S’s boys, but I am looking forward to hearing more from him (I love discovering someone new to me). He really had that room in a trance. Unfortunately, the DJ that followed provided a textbook example of how to clear a room. I actually don’t remember the name of the DJ who followed but it was interesting to watch the eventual mass exodus from that room.

I hung around the main room to listen to Reference for a while but around two, the man we came for, Omar S. got on the decks. Omar proceeded to play a set of 90’s styled NYC House. He put down the vocal and organ tracks like nobody’s business. I occasionally went into the side room and saw maybe two people at most in there. It was Omar’s show and he had everyone’s attention. He was superb overall but eventually we got tired and we left before his set ended. It was onward to our rooms to get some rest before the festival.

Continued in Movement 2010 – Day 1

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Movie Review and What I Have Been Up To

As you have noticed I have not posted anything in a while. Hopefully that will change but let me just give you a brief update on what I have been up to then I will provide a review of the movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I have graduated from the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. I have just received my MLS and my New York State Public Librarian’s License in the mail. I have also just started a new part-time job as the night librarian at the St. Paul’s School of Nursing in Staten Island. I currently live in the Bronx so that is one long commute. Overall everything is as well as expected, things could be better but they could also be worse. I am thinking about the future of this blog but I haven’t made many decisions about it yet. I might expand its focus beyond just library and information science stuff to more  of a focus on the stuff that interests Myron which includes library and information science but I’ll say more about that later.

Okay now I am going to provide a review of the movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I want to note that I enjoyed the book immensely and this review does look at some comparisons between the book and the movie. I was not too impressed with the movie. It is safe to say, if I read the movie version of this story in the book I probably would not have fallen in love with the book.

Overall, the plot of the book was left intact for the most part but the movie really simplified a lot of the relationships that made the book so interesting. The character that suffers the most in the translation from book to film is Mikael Blomkvist. The movie has made him a “Boy Scout.” He has only one sexual relationship in the movie (three guesses as to with who). Considering that some of his personal relationships in the book would have provided some more dramatic tension, cutting out those relationships really made the movie suffer. The movie also narrows the focus to the mystery at the center the book, minimizes the other major narrative thread that drove the book; essentially reducing it to a prologue and epilogue. While there are some pluses and minuses for minimizing it, I felt the movie could have done a better job of incorporating it into the storyline. Also, by the way it was minimized, it actually diminishes Blomkvist’s character.

My major pet peeve of the movie was how it valorized Lisbeth Salander at the cost of every other character. Make no mistake, Salander is the star of this series but the way the movie highlights her awesomeness winds up making her look more like a caricature than the interesting character she is presented as in the books. The Vanger family wasn’t as well-developed as they could have been. It would have helped the narrative if you became attached to them before the denouncement of the mystery occurred.

Characters like Erika Berger were glorified extras in this movie. Erika is actually one of my favorite characters in these books so I am especially disappointed. Although the book series is called the Millenium trilogy, Millenium was hardly a presence considering the subplot concerning the fate of Millenium magazine is cut out completely. Also, one character who plays a major part in the sequel but not in this story has a blink and you will miss it appearance. While I did not expect her to play a major part in this movie, she did get enough of an introduction in the book that I cared about what happened to her in the second book. I don’t think I would even remember what she looks like when she shows up in the second movie, assuming she is even played by the same actress.

Overall, I was disappointed but at least the casting was age appropriate for the most part. The actors and actresses are appropriately middle-aged and not-so-glamourous, which I don’t think would the case in the inevitable Hollywood remake (it is coming).

I was surprised (maybe I shouldn’t have been) at how many people going to the screening I went to did not read the book. As you could tell I was disappointed at the movie but maybe my expectations were too high. I am looking forward to reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest when it is released in May.

Do They Want Librarians?

Something got me thinking the other day. What is the role of the public librarian today? The argument goes that since the Internet is often people’s main source of information, the role of a public librarian should be more focused on programming than on providing reference services. While I am not discounting the importance of library programming, the planning of certain types of events is a different skill set from the professional duties of the librarian.

First, the Internet does not fulfill every information need out there, sometimes you just need to use other sources. Also, the first search hit may not be the best hit for a particular need. Also, and this is showing my biases, a good readers’ advisory librarian is hard to find and recommending good books to read for recreation is more than just shoving a list in someone’s face. If someone needs an answer to a question beyond a simple directional or technical service question that person would left to find for themselves causing a dissatisfied customer.

So, what is the purpose of the public library in the 21st century?

709 New Direction

With the clock running out until the next IRB meeting, I have decided to change direction and do a critical content analysis of information literacy teacher’s guide instead. Hopefully I could finally get things moving.

The 709 Blues

These last few weeks I have been trying to turn my 709 topic into something doable in one semester. My original plan was to do a study of a class that uses critical pedagogy. I could not easily find anyone in the area who uses a critical information literacy pedagogy so I modified my plan somewhat. I decided to take a look at whether students find what they learn in information literacy classes in their everyday lives outside the “classroom.” I just created a questionnaire but I have no idea what class I am going to study. I need to figure this out soon if I am going to submit an IRB application before they meet on October 5th. So much to do so little time.

What’s New with Myron

The summer has come and gone and I broke my promise to maintain this blog on a regular basis. There’s really no real reason besides sheer neglect. What have I been up to in the mean time. I took two summer classes and did reasonably well. Now I am taking the final two classes before getting my MLS and I am excited about it.

This semester I am taking 709, the thesis course (we’re not supposed to call it that but that’s how to describe it to non-Queens College library science students, and 713, science reference. I’m glad both classes are on Tuesday so I could spend one day in class and the rest of the time doing homework and other things. Already in the science reference class I have become of things in databases that I have always taken for granted. Those things will become useful for 709.

My 709 project is on Critical Information Literacy, information literacy where students evaluate information to empower themselves based on Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy. Ideally I would like to observe and survey a class that uses Critical Information Literacy as its pedagogical basis. If that happens then I am doing “human subjects experimentation,” which means I have to go in front of Queens College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). That means I have to be certain of what exactly I am doing by the next IRB meeting which is October 5. Before that I took an online tutorial that dealt with the history of human experimentation in social science research. The tutorial was time consuming but it is something I had to do before moving format. I may change what I am going to do depending on whether what I am aiming for is practical. I will keep you posted about the status of my project.

I’m still working at Rosenthal Library and Milliman. I finally received an interview with New York Public Library for a Librarian Trainee position. The interview is on Tuesday so wish me good luck.

I’ll write more soon.