Tuesday, May 11, 2010

juan maclean tours: thoughts on his dj kicks mix

DFA recording artist Juan MacLean is hitting the road to support his recently released, self-titled
mix-CD (dates below). I've been listening to the mix and find it irresistibly groovey.

The strange thing is, however, is how MacLean's DFA brethren (particularly James Murphy) made a name for themselves by dissing the linear, four-on-the-floor journey of DJ culture in favor of a punked-up, disco-fied vision of hipster music. It's strange because this mix offers up ... a linear, four-on-the-floor journey of DJ culture.

It's almost as if wannabes at the gate of club-topia -- Murphy, Steve Aoki, et. al. -- feel the need to act as though what DJ culture really needs is a non-linear, punk-rock kick in the arse. But once they get inside, it really is business as usual. It seems like the dissing-DJ-culture card (and Deadmau5 has done it too) is a ticket to ... DJ culture.

MacLean's mix sounds like DJ Dan playing a slower house set in the late 1990s, which is as good as it gets. But lets not ally ourselves with those who say DJ culture is lame, and then trod over well-worn terrain. If we want to hear DJ Dan play a slower house set, we don't have to travel to Williamsburg and pose in Ray-Bans with the hipster kids; we'll just break out an old mix-CD.

MacLean's dates:

June 3rd- The Moct, Milwaukee
June 4th- Green Dolphin Street, Chicago
June 5th- Fixed Party @ Public Assembly, Brooklyn
June 8th- Beauty Bar, Austin
June 9th- Square One, Jacksonville
June 10th- Makin' Time @ Voyeur, Philadelphia
June 11th- Wrongbar, Toronto
June 12th- TBA, Los Angeles
June 13th- Days Inn @ Camelback, Phoenix
June 20th- La Santernera, Playa Del Carmen
June 24th- PM, Dallas
June 25th- Boondocks, Houston
June 26th- Respectable Street, West Palm Beach
June 30th- W. Lounge, Salt Lake City
July 2nd- La Rumba, Denver

1 comment:

joshua said...

An interesting thesis on the surface, but I think the one thing you're not factoring in is 'time.' You're holding people to eight-year-old call to arms against "dance music" despite evolutions in taste and style.

Everyone ends up loving some music they once despised. Sometimes there needs to be an gateway for people to get to dance music (ie- dance rock). Sometimes there needs to be a seismic shift in taste (Daft Punk @ Coachella = ground zero).

I think you need to move past the us v. them mentality that scarred so many dance music champions in the early '00s, when rock came back around and we went from being the wave of the future to the latest next big crash. I was with you. I felt the pain. But, it was a decade ago. I read your stuff consistantly and I think that attitude limits your critical thinking at times. It can devolve into an class struggle (young hipsters vs. 30-something house heads). I'm not saying this as an insult, just an open dialog between two creative professionals.

There has evolved a new polygot of 'dance' music built greatly upon the new way we consume all music. Diplo and Tiesto just dropped an MP3 together. I think that says it all.

I love me some DJ Dan, but I've been saying for three years that Juan Maclean gives me that feeling I used to get from Derrick Carter in 1997. Derrick Carter doesn't give me that feeling anymore, and I'm not satisfied with old mix tapes. I like to go out and dance, and I'll never miss Juan when he's playing in town. The guy just has the touch.