Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Placid at Oslo last Thursday

Placid is a DJ from the UK who is described as the "world authority on acid house music" according to the flier for this party. He posts a lot of Detroit related mixes on the 313 listserv, many of which I have downloaded and store on my computer – I have a Placid file! I was a little wary of going out on a Thursday night because of work the next day, but things went okay for me the next day, even though I was pretty groggy. But I went out and it turned out to be one of the most fun nights I have had here in Detroit, and there have been a lot of good times! I went alone, and I'm getting a bit tired of doing that. I was at WhoDat's until almost 10PM for my lesson, then came home and watched part of Good Will Hunting with James and then left the house at about 11:40. I got to Oslo just before midnight, took a look around, Kevin Reynolds was playing. The music was really good – acid house – I'll have to explore how to describe that. People who make it and love it describe the sound as a squelch.

The following link and paragraph are from Wikipedia:

Acid house is a sub-genre of house music that emphasizes a repetitive, hypnotic and trance-like style, with samples or spoken lines usually used rather than sung lyrics. Acid house's core electronic squelch sounds were developed by mid-1980s DJs from Chicago who experimented with the Roland TB-303 electronic synthesizer-sequencer. Acid house spread to the United Kingdom, Australia, and continental Europe, where it was played by DJ's in the early rave scene. By the late 1980s, copycat tracks and acid house remixes brought the style into the mainstream, where it had some influence on pop and dance styles.

I got a beer, called my brother from a sort of quiet corner of the club – I hadn't talked to him in a while and I wanted to do something other than stand alone in the club. Then I went in and listened to Kevin. Kevin Reynolds was great – lots of fun acid-house. Great to dance to. At one point, someone came into the dance room and loosened all the red light bulbs, actually one person started it and then multiple people decided to make it pitch dark in there. There was still a bit of white light coming in from the bar area and from the bathroom hallway, but it was pretty hard to see. I got bumped into a few times. At first I was kind of freaked out. I quickly picked up my bag off the floor and tied my hoodie around my waist. It just felt kind of weird to do in a public place, I guess it felt a bit on the boundary between public and private for the people there. It was almost like, 'this is my music, this is my town, this is my space. Let's turn the lights off!' After a bit, I felt more comfortable, could see better, and then started to dance again. The music was excellent – squelchy! On the flyer, Placid was described as "the international authority on acid." I sat for part of his set, danced for most of it, had some water, danced some more, and then after a few comments from the club promoter and Kevin Reynolds between 2AM and 2:15AM, Placid ended his set. It's still strange to me that I repeatedly am out until the DJ set ends, or until the night ends in a club. It's mainly because the clubs are legally required to close at 2AM, so usually I can handle staying up that late. What I have experienced in Chicago and NY are clubs that stay open until 4AM, but not in Detroit. It makes for a much different performance style. DJs often have to be reminded multiple times to end their sets, they seem to be annoyed and want to play longer. WhoDat and Theo Parrish, and others, have explained that it takes them 2-4 hours just to get warmed up and then it becomes this meditative state, or a different level of consciousness in performance – Theo Parrish has said he likes to play for about 11 hours, and there is no space in Detroit where this can happen. Usually these types of lengthy performances happen in places like Japan, or somewhere outside of the US. WhoDat referenced the idea of imagining everyone naked when you are giving a public speech, then she talked about getting comfortable enough to imagine yourself naked while giving a speech, and then she explained that it takes her about 2hours of "playing records" before she can get naked.

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