14 nov 2007

Cellspace tonight, shared DJ duties with T. Not sure about the flow, I feel like it was kind of uneven. I like and respect T but I have to admit we have very different ideas of how to build tandas and how to regulate the energy of the music. So I think for anybody paying attention it was very obvious when one or the other of us were playing. The people responded well, so that's all that matters. I played one tanda in my first round which I knew going in was going to be very iffy and it turned out to be even worse than I feared. Modern milonga set by Quinteto Ventarrón, who play tangos that are really intended to be listened to rather than danced to. More in a jazzy vein. Watching the people struggle to that was painful. Right before the tanda came on I was chomping at the bit to change it, but I had already told T that he would be coming in with his music after that tanda and he had arranged his selections accordingly, so I didn’t want to mess up his direction (I’ve had that done to me before and it is a BITCH to have to reshuffle your music at the last second). So I grudgingly let it go.

As the night progressed I found myself reconsidering my originally intended tandas a bit more than expected, as did T. Finding the right energy was proving elusive. There were always dancers on the floor (Cellspace is very forgiving that way) but I was having trouble really getting everybody into it the way I wanted. And I knew before I could get them into the groove I had to bring them to a place where they were comfortable. T was spinning a lot of alternative stuff so I 86’d some of my experimental/alt selections and kept things familiar. On my second round I threw down some high energy heavy hitters – Fresedo instrumentals from the 30’s, Biagi with Falgas, D’Arienzo milongas. I felt the crowd was starting to get into a groove but right then we had to interrupt to have a performance from Murat and Michelle. They decided on their music one tanda before they were up. Murat asked me to play the vals “Tres Esquinas” by D’Agostino and then Canaro’s “Poema.” Right when I started their music I knew something was screwed up somehow. But you would have never known it from their amazing performance. After the two songs, Ney Melo started chanting from his seat, “Otra! Otra!” and the rest of the crowd joined in. Murat rushed to me and asked me if I had “Sacale Punta” by Donato. I promptly fired it up and they did one more for the happy audience. Later, Murat came to me and we both acknowledged that we had mistaken the first song. “Tres Esquinas” is a tango, not a vals. What we meant to play was, of course, “Esquinas Porteñas.” Damn. Too many esquinas with Los Angeles. I think under normal circumstances I might have caught that but lately my head seems to be in a fog.

After the performance it was T’s turn again. I find the way that he arranges his music kind of amorphous and elusive. He has clear ideas about how he wants to direct the energy and he constructs his playlists very deliberately, but, for example, he is fine with changing artists/orchestras inside his tandas, which as a dancer makes me feel insecure (I tend to need a lot of reassurance to feel safe on the floor, in various ways). When I was up again I had a little less than a half hour to close the night so I kept it classic and easy for the most part. In my first tanda (Di Sarli, 40’s) I was even able to get some of the ones that Homer called the “rock star” dancers on the floor – Murat, Michelle, Ney, Jennifer, et al. I kept them on with the following tanda of Caló/Berón. I almost changed my last tanda to traditional because I wanted to keep them dancing but after consulting with Homer I stayed with my original choice. 2 songs, tango electrónico, downtempo. They stayed on the floor until the end, thank god.

Here is what I played:

FIRST ROUND - Orquesta Típica Víctor: El Portenito, Quiero Papita, Recuerdo / Francisco Lomuto: La Revoltosa, Catamarca, Madreselva / Enrique Rodriguez (valses): Llora Corazón, Mariquita No Mires Al Puerto, Isabelita / Quinteto Ventarrón (milongas): De Vuelta y Media, La Trampera, Milonga De Mis Amores

SECOND ROUND - Osvaldo Fresedo: El Irresistible, Derecho Viejo, Firulete / Rodolfo Biagi: La Chacarera, Queja Indiana, El Estribo / Juan D’Arienzo (milongas): Silueta Portena, Milonga Del Corazón, Milonga Del Recuerdo

LAST ROUND - Carlos Di Sarli: El Incendio, La Cachila, Shusheta / Miguel Caló: Qué Te Importa Que Te Llore, Tarareando, Al Compas Del Corazón / Jaime Wilensky: Sentimientos, Electrocutango: Mi Viejo Dolor.

Incidentally, I didn't dance at all, which is fine. Being a dj is a pretty big responsibility.

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