Archive for September 30, 2012

CELEBRATING MUJASI 29.09.12

September 30, 2012

CELEBRATING MUJASI

This Is A War Cry.

The warriors are prepared.  They have come ready to give out of sacrifice.  They come ready to give life-bearing fruit.  Too, the warriors are armed.  They are armed with their finances.  They are armed with their prayers.  They are armed with their God-given talents, skilled abilities and creative acumen.  They are armed with their dedication.  But most of all, they are armed with love.  They are equipped for battle.  But this battle is different.  This battle is not for the faint of heart, the ballerina types.  This battle is for the strong and courageous of heart, the dancers that drop beads of sweat that are gritty and free-style.

Sunset scorches the harvest sky a fiery salmon that streaks south before succumbing to the night’s outer darkness to the east.  A full moon hangs suspended in animated glory.  Its illumination provides a guiding light for the traveling troops.

The sleeping dust nesting beneath the warrior’s feet awakens and scurries into the nocturnal air at the incoming uproar.  The warrior’s feet march in sync into battle.  Their syncopated stomps are so harmonious it morphs into a life-giving heartbeat of drums thumping on rhythmic four counts.  The thumps grow louder and louder until a life-pulsating heartbeat sounds throughout the land. The healing heartbeat of restoration guides the warrior’s feet to dance.  When their feet dance, a seismic force of life-birthing tremors shakes the earth.  The dancers become a ramose of sporadic interpretations woven through the tapestry of mobile expressions.  Even rhythm-challenged white girls get down, dancing like injured robots in need of dance lessons, as experienced house dancers stomp holes into the ground, and gays J-set, drop to the ground-like it’s hot-and spring up again in a split second.  Every heart is in on the action.  Even the ministers of music deliver nothing short of sensational sermons; DJ 1derful of Sunday School lays down Reel People’s featuring Tony Momrelle, “Golden Lady”(Louie Vega Roots Mix), DJ Lynee Denise of Chitlin’ Circuit guides the dancers to an oasis of afro and deep house paradise, DJ Stanzeff of Tambor fame leads the parishioners to “The Bright Forest,”  Ramon Rawsoul, Founding Father of The Gathering, takes the people all around the world, DJ Salah Ananse of Sunday School has the dancers “Body Drummin’” as DJ Yusef of Free Ur Soul serves a heartfelt reminder that “Life Starts Today.”  Every heart dances as if to call down rain from the sky.  It’s a time of celebration.  It’s a time of life.  It’s a time of healing.  For this is Mujasi’s healing.

Who is this Mujasi that commands the hearts of the known and the unknown to give unconditionally through finances, prayer and dance?  Who is this Mujasi that causes six ministers of music, from various deep and soulful house music soirees around the city, to set aside their petty differences, uphold their common mantle, deep house music, and come together to support a benevolent cause?

 

It takes a community….It takes a village.

His name translates courageous warrior.  He is but only four years of age and yet a young man of many years.  Mujasi, the lad with a heart of steel and a heart of gold, was recently diagnosed with LCH-Unifocal (Langerhans cell histiocytosis, unifocal) a rare auto-immune disease that effects eight out of one million children.  The much-needed treatments for this rare disease are aggressive and expensive.  The treatments are so astronomically expensive that health care only covers a minute fraction of the costs.  Enter the city’s house music community and the city’s music community at large to assist with financial support and generous efforts.

Mujais’s prayer sings in the air, “There is no affliction in me.”  Although, not physically present on the battlefield his spirit dances with his mother’s heart that serves a faithful reminder when five years earlier, Mom danced with Son in womb at various house music functions across the city.

Mujasi’s mother, Theresa McGhee leads the warriors to battle.  Mother Theresa, the host of the Sunday evening gathering titled Sunday Dinner, fights for nothing less than the best.  Mother Theresa is not for show, but possesses a treasured heart of humility.  She diligently works hard “in the game” to support her son and to keep him happy.  She gives her all.  Her dance of triumph emanates from her heart.  She gracefully dances onto the battle field.  She adorns the battlegrounds.  Two dimples, worth a million dollars, dot about to and fro.  Her smile is awe-inspiring.  Although petite in frame, her spirit structures the battlefield’s strategic movements.  Every eye gazes stunned.  Her life-giving joy touches every soul she encounters.  A close stare in those bright as the moon, two-doe eyes aglow in hazel, reveals no hint of sorrow as her vibrant visage, besieged with two cheekbones that are perched as high as mountaintops, reveals no trace of doom or gloom.

She rallies the troops with a valiant heart-felt proclamation.  She is animated.  She is emotional.  She talks in cant, a sing-song pattern that practically eludes a poetess historic of spoken word.  She sways onstage and she bends over at the outpouring of generosity and support and most of all love from her brothers and sisters.  She tells of the many telephone calls that she has received, even from former-school peers that she no longer recalls.  She cries.  The troops cry.  She speaks of not only her son’s healing but the healing of the warriors through their giving.  The troops respond with valiant shouts of agreement that materialize in the warm air.

Back on the battlefield, the dancers know something.  Yes, they carry a secret.  Lend them your ear.  The secret whispers, “Already the battle is won.  Mother and Son have the victory.”  So, the warriors dance in victory.  Death will not show its face tonight, the next night or any other night thereafter.  Not even, a hint of death’s venom in slave- induced sickness will be felt.  Even the universe bares witness with a miraculous message of majestic proportions.

Look up in the night’s sky.  Yes, up in the air.  See, the harvest moon illuminated in its entire splendor.  There is something different about this moon.  The lunar creation shimmers with a blue magnetic ring that shivers around its spherical form.  The moon speaks.  It speaks truth.  Hear the words, “This is not the courageous warrior’s end but the courageous warrior’s beginning.  We celebrate you, Mujasi.”

To donate and for more information:

Healing Mujasi by Theresa McGee

Words & photography by AJ Dance/Except flyer

RUBEN TORO 22.09.12

September 23, 2012

RUBEN TORO

The candy man was back at it at again, but this time at a new home called the Shelter and not to be associated with the NYC club with the same moniker.

Fred Everything’s featuring Wayne Tennant “Mercyless” (Atjazz Mix) greeted guests at the front door.  Traveling up a flight of wooden stairs that landed safely on the second floor where door fees were paid in full and the left hand was stamped, one viewed the sounds of razor sharp synths mercilessly slice and dice fellow dancers on the dance floor.  Immediately thereafter appeared, neon blue and red glow sticks dancing to a beating cowbell.  Cough, as a couple of lit cigarettes traveled by spewing their poisonous venom into the air.    

Having thought this was a real night club and not a Corner Tavern- minus the wooden jumbo dining booths-carbon copy of the restaurant chain scattered throughout the city, the displayed tableau reeked disappointment.  The décor seemed a bit confused, stuck between Midwest Saloon and slutty art show with two shiny disco balls hanging from the ceiling.   The rear of the former restaurant housed two pool tables, adjacent the dance space sat a mechanical horse kiddy ride (found at the K-marts of old) as paintings of three-fourths naked anime girls totting guns hung on walls.  Alongside the room’s right wall sat the only bar that served a pretty tastful “Sex On The Beach.”  However, no sex or beach would be found near or far.  Only a wooden floor would quench such appetites that safely allowed dancing feet to sway softly and smoothly without sending knees to the operating room.  The venue’s frontal feature, a platform stage, with a birthday party in progress, sat underneath two ceiling speakers that banged out a not so clear and crisp auditory effect. Four monitors dispersed throughout the establishment played the Box Office flop, “Suckerpunch” that proved much more entertaining and eye appealing than the environment’s aesthetics and the cacophony fugging up the party.

Opposite the bar, in the DJ booth, veteran DJs sounded more like amateurs.  A frustrated looking DJ Yusef having much difficulty mixing in and out of songs played three no-no’s; Jill Scott’s, Crown Royale”(Timmy Regisford Mix), Distant People’s featuring Nicole Mitchell “Make Me Over” and the latest interpretation of Gregory Porter’s “1960 What?.”  Even Atlanta’s starling Miranda Nicole’s “Kissing You” (Rune Mix) proved fatal and couldn’t save this train wreck.

Next up, Sweat Zone’s DJ Ant B preferred classics over contemporaries.  Frankie Knuckles’ Presents Satoshi Tomiie featuring Robert Owens “Tears” and Lil Louis “Club Lonely” could have stayed bolted and locked in the vaults of yesteryear’s record crates.  However, the packed dance floor disagreed.

Bar none, this was the largest crowd Sugar Groove had hosted.  From the dance space, bodies overflowed.  Don’t get it twisted.  Most of these cats were age forty, heck they were older than age forty-five.  So there was not much in the form of eye-candy, unless over-the-hills rock your boat.

Damn the mixer that continued to wreak havoc as songs were cued in and out of with nauseated annoyance.  Songs transitioned from mere off-count to overtly mismatch.  The people  “hooted” and “hollered” and rollicked with no care.  Only the city’s plentiful of DJs and a few spoiled house heads kept note. On a side note, why was Marlon D’s “Jesus Creates Sound” played twice within the same hour by two different DJs?  The song is a classic but c’mon, twice in one night.  Really?

DJ Ant B brilliantly added into the pot Stardust’s 1998 epic, “Music Sounds Better With You” before transitioning into the gazillion interpretation of Goyte’s mammoth “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

As the candy man DJ Swift mumbled a few shout-outs into the microphone, the bowls filled with gooey Laffy Taffy and crunchy Dum Dum Pops proved more satisfying to the palette than the music.

Afterwards, NYC’s Ruben Toro who sported the shimmering initials rt on a black tee came on board and took the crowd circa 1995 with The Bucketheads’, “The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind).”  Miraculously, ALL mixing and sound technicalities disappeared.  Uhmm?!?  As the speaker’s sound output increased, Ruben transitioned from song to song without a trace of trouble.  Sadly, too much went on in the Temple Movement ambassador’s musical concoction.  Everything But The Girl’s “Missing” surfing over house music’s mellifluous waves  to Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Any Love” jockeying over a Quentin Harris’ “My Joy” galloping drum loop to the newly minted, “Sometimes” (Timmy Regisford Mix) scared hard-core dancers off the floor and away to the bar, bathrooms and even outdoors.   The former Shelter DJ mixed the music with the vigor of NYC’s Shelter lead Timmy Regisford and his former protégé Quentin Harris that proved at times welcomed and at others times a big fail.  By 1:30 am tired bodies aimlessly disappeared as another round of soul searchers entered the establishment.  The night that took off to a dizzying start of disastrous sound difficulties ended with a many of happy feet dancing.

Of course, Sugar Groove will find its footing after a few tweaks and adjustments (and a new mixer) at its new home.  In the meantime, whispers can only hope that it will not take long.

Words & Photography by AJ Dance

JAMIE 3:26 02.09.12

September 4, 2012

JAMIE 3:26

With that said, the people would have loved MORE Jamie 3:26.  Here is to next time and hopes of more Jamie. –AJ Dance 

 

In Space2 sharp sounds from synthesizers slice the air over a choppy drum beat that renders the crowd, Mercyless.”  Already a sizeable mount of foot soldiers conquer ground.  The soldiers dance hard, almost too hard.  Fists pump the air, legs wobble around in semi-circles and feet stampede the concrete.  The scene resembles a pre-HITP fundraising party and not an HITP 8 after party.  Earlier that day at the park, had the people not filled their bellies with enough sweet house music treats and much dance?  The culprit, Salah Ananse feeds the crowd leftover goodies, songs not played earlier at HITP 8.   It’s after midnight.  The crowd turned monsters, munch on everything in sight from refrigerated potato salad-by the way, left out all day in the hot sun-to meatless rib tips.  Just joking.  Actually, the charismatic crowd rollicks as they munch on a cornucopia of soul music with joviality.  From Fred Everything to Atjazz, soul music emanates inside the environment.  With attempts to rekindle the anthem spirit from earlier in the day, the one song repeated at the party from the park, MJ’s, “Thriller” (Black Motion Mortarfied Mix) plays for eight minutes, that drags on far too long as the night’s guest headliner tweaks wires, sets up hardware and cues music before he opens with……

Brother Johnson’s, “Stomp.”  The song is played like it has never been played before.  Drop the EQs.  Punch the bass line.  Pitch the highs and let the mids ride.  Stand by the speaker to hear secret rhythms and unheard melodies escape that leaves the listener entranced with an ear-struck experience.  The song is deconstructed to its fabric core to reveal hidden elements that creates a 3D soundscape.  Drums talk.  Horns blow before eyes.  Guitar strings pluck fingers.  A symphonic vision emerges and comes to life right in front of the eyes. The high definition sounds play with the outer ear. The middle ear vibrates with repercussions of joyful noises.  Utterly, the experience leaves the listener breathless.

Atlanta’s house and disco heads wishes came true.  Two days prior the 1st Annual ATLANTA WEEKENDer’s start, e-vites announced the return of Jamie 3:26 to close out the four day festivities. At the same venue, three months earlier, Jamie put a chokehold on the city’s house and disco community.  The people wanted more, so much more that the size of the WEEKENDer’s closeout attendance proved so.

How does Jamie do it?  Do what?  Know when and what songs to play at the right time.  The party’s surprise, perhaps the best song played, arrives like a New Establishment.  The 1985 sing-along classic from the British New Wave Band Tears for Fears with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Timmy Regisford & Adam Rios Mix) oozes with enough R&B soul to rule urban radio.  Sleeping feet awake to life, “hoots” and “hollers” shrieks the atmosphere like the first of morning yawns as arms grasps the air and the balls of the heels playfully bounce up and down as if stretching after a full’s night rest.  The feel good house treatment, even more shakes off the slumber when a rousing keyboard solo electrifies the song’s ending.

Out comes the baby powder.  Enter the hardcore house dancers into the room.  Immediately they stake dance floor real estate.  A dance circle forms.  Here comes their fan club ready to marvel at choppy arm punches, sporadic hip thrusts and staccato foot stomps.  The talented two-some dance harder than anyone else.  These cats don’t play.

Four-count thumps pump harder as a haunting voice appears out of thin air.  The voice croons of sleepless nights and the hearing of voices calling her name.  Thiwe’s vocals on Black Coffee’s, Crazy (Manoo & Francois A. Deep Journey Mix) meanders over the thumps until a keyboard riffs escalates the copyright into euphoric heights.

 

WEEKENDer EPILOGUE

The music continues as the night’s hours march off into the aphotic.  Honestly, not much is recalled from the party.  The reason being is not from mild-altering substances but from the six hour dance marathon that you took part in earlier that day.  Your feet are tired. You are so exhausted that you want to fall asleep.  You wish that you could stay longer.  However, you have a twelve pm flight back to the UAE.  Unfortunately, your time in Atlanta is drawing to an end.  A sudden smile crosses your face.  What a weekender.  There was so much deep, soulful and meaningful house music crammed into three days that has left you with an overwhelming natural high.  As you say goodbye to Space2, the place where your adventure began, you come to the realization, Atlanta is on to something and this is the start of something huge.

Photography by AJ Dance

HOUSE IN THE PARK 8 02.09.12

September 3, 2012

HOUSE IN THE PARK 8

Gone are the days when House In the Park was intimate, sitting at quaint public city parks where 500 people gathered.  Today, House In the Park has become a behemoth must-attend event for house heads, non house heads and soon to be house heads from around the world.  It groups with the likes of large music festivals, think Music Midtown, DEMF or Bonnaroo.  The event has grown so large it could easily sit on a 700 acre farm somewhere in Georgia or on a meadow in the city’s largest park overlooking a pavilion with a giant stage where the Fab 4 can DJ.  Get ready!  In the near future, if HITP continues its exponential expansion these ideas might consider further exploration but for now we’ll settle for two pavilions at its latest incarnate, Grant Park.

HITP’s footprints have danced the city far and wide for the best green space with amenities.  Eight years earlier, Candler Park with no electrical outlets played host.  Thereafter, home for six years was Perkerson Park in the heart of the city’s Southwest Capital View community.  Amazingly, during that time span something happened that every event planner prays to experience.  The phenomenon called growth plagued HITP at such an unprecedented rate that PP had to be abandoned for greater green space.  So, off to the city’s east side where the oldest and fourth largest park named after engineer Lemuel P. Grant seemed a more suitable fit.

Home to the city’s only zoo, civil war-esque Cyclorama, swimming, and recreation facilities the 131.5 acres is somewhat a tourist trap.  Grant Park sits between Cherokee Avenue and Boulevard SE where Confederate Avenue begins or ends depending on one’s view.  Yes, this is the park where the guy jogs wearing a Confederate flag.  However, on this day HITP’s house music freedom flag waves for all to behold.

Already, the park is abuzz with various makings.  Picture perfect blue skies while birds chirp songs of joy.  The morning temperatures announce another noon day scorcher.  Fresh air travels to and fro delivering lively scents of burning charcoal.  Famous chicken sausages and green veggies sizzle on grills.  In the not so far away distance, a soundtrack of classic house music and old-school hip hop emanate from a portable device in the smaller of the three pavilions transplanted between pavilion 1 and pavilion 2.    To the left, several vendors assemble a massive tent, and to the right muscle men carry folding chairs and folding tables.  Jovial moms push little ones in high-tech strollers as little girls run by giggling.  Boisterous voices thunder across the pathway to greet love ones with cherish bear hugs.  The scene embodies one giant family reunion. This is love in the park.

The noonday’s festivities kick off sharply with the internationally acclaimed DJ Kemit of Spread Love assuming musical duties.  As the band Rufus plays backup, singer Chaka Kahn wastes no time taking lead on “I Know You, I Live You” that draws singing voices and dancing sneakers racing to pavilion 1.  Next, DJ Kemit throws in a classic for all the old-school house heads with Ten City’s Devotion.”  After another round of oldies but goodies and Afefe Iku’sBody Drummin”, DJ Kemit logs off as music ambassador as the next musicologist logs on.

It’s the DJ with the dreads that proves new songs can be just as addictive as old songs.So Addictive(The Layabouts Addicted to House Vocal Mix) by Benedetto & Farina featuring vocals by Sandy Spady, laid back vibe ushers in a refreshing cool breeze that the dancers warmly welcome.  DJ Salah Ananse’s ever eclectic persona takes the vibes deep back to 1997 with gospel legend BeBe Winans “Thank You” (Masters At Work 12” Mix) that brings Sunday morning church service and the crowd to the park’s pavilion.  Keeping things classic, Chic’s “Dance, Dance, Dance” storms P 1 which is packed with sweaty bodies.  Once again, the tone cools down a bit with the disco-esque bouncy grooves from the UK’s Layabouts featuring Seattle vocalist Portia Monique on the sing-along Do Better.”  DJ Kemit AKA MC Kemit hops on the microphone and announces a Salah Ananse exclusive that pounds from the speakers.  An afro beat comes to a thrilling climax as 1990’s “hip hop on an R&B tip with a pop appeal/feel to it” pioneers, Bell Biv Devoe sing “She’s Driving Me Outta My Mind” on their platinum hit, “Poision.”  What a surprise as Generation X sings along and jumps off into dance hysteria.  The song that receives the “MOST CRUNK” award goes to one of the most recognized song’s in the world, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”  This ambitious undertaking remixed by South African sensation Black Motion (Mortarfied Bootleg) equipped with an afro house beat, brass horns and Vincent Price’s famous cackle is without a trace of MJ’s theatric chops.  The remix builds to a climatic peek with Vincent’s howl that raises the roof off the hinges as the afro beat slams on the heads of the crowd that sends bodies into frantic fits of rage.  Fists pump the air as mouths drop agape and feet stomp the concrete.  The Afrique Electrique founder known for his production/remix skills sets the bar high with another handcrafted standard this time with Goyte’s featuring Kimbra “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Salah Ananse Mix) one of the countless interpretations of the Top 40 smash that now thumps with an afro house kick accompanying its lullaby inflection.  “Do You Have It?” The questioned begged by DJ Spen presents LeRoyal, Baltimore’s up and coming urban/pop sensation, remixed by Maurice Joshua, told the people to say “Yeah” if you have the key to life, love.  On the grunge front, Salah drops another goodie, his rework to Nirvana’s, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Salah Ananse Mix) that was last years HITP 7 anthem.  A tribute to the late great Fela’s afro beat rounds out one of the most diverse, eclectic and impressive sets of the day.  Salah rocked that fresh face house music mixed with an alternative vibe of unpredictability that shows the crowd love and the crowd responds with more of the same.

“How many of you were at the Paradise Garage?” The master of ceremony shouts into the microphone and asks the crowd.  The crowd roars like lions.  To both pavilions, old-school heads rush in droves as DJ Kemit rewinds the hands of time to yesteryear.  A fellow well know old-school head raises a crafty constructed Paradise Garage poster that travels the pavilion.  Time rests somewhere between the years 1976-1987 as the group Chicago’s “Street Player” takes the dancers to the land of FM radio and disco roller rinks.  The crowd can’t get enough as DJ AKA MC Kemit announces a future surprise.  Then it happens, a song plays that causes the people to respond like wild animals in summer heat.  BT Express’ “Peace Pipe” smokes and burns receding hairlines and salt and pepper follicles completely bald.  After a well-rounded tribute of old school classics, DJ Kemit switches gears and brings the vibe back to the present.  The Yoruba Recordings catalog Is on full-blast as Yoruba label mate Afefe Iku’s Re-edit of the mega platinum selling rock band Radiohead’s,“Everything In Its Right Place” takes the listeners on an ancestral journey of deep rhythms and tribalism.  Yoruba Recordings label head Osunlade’sEnvision(Yoruba Soul Mix) tingles the air.  By design, DJ Kemit segues into two songs from his recently released long player titled,Everlasting.”  The first single Transformshimmers with Osunlade singing lead vocals while Spread Loveshines with Atlanta’s Sepesenahki on vocals, the theme to DJ Kemit’s acclaimed ectopic party with the same moniker.  “Go pick up the album at Moods Music or on the web at ……, “announces compere Kemit.  The former Arrested Development DJ is in pleasure mode and is on the prowl to please every lady in attendance.  The lovelies are serenaded with not one but THREE offerings; from DJ Zinhle featuring vocalist Busiswa Gqulu with My Name Is,” to Teddy Douglas presents Margaret Grace with God Created Woman,” to Verna  Francis, “Earth Is The Place” (Restless Soul Peaktime Mix) that has the ladies singing, “Cause I’m a woman.”

Expectedly, every woman arrives implacably dressed and ready to impress.  Actually, HITP is a tour de fashion.  Every hair-do possibly imagined is sported by the ladies.  Afros, braids, curls, extensions, faux hawks, locs, natural, and twisties bop and weave around the park.  Every hair color is spotted on tops of heads from blonde, blue with purple roots, pink, red and brown.  Hair hangs cropped, short, shoulder length and down the back that can rival any famous hair show.  Vibrant outfits of every summer color electrify eyes.  Every hue of bare skin provides orectic temptation.  Accessories of sneakers, kneepads, belts, neckwear, ear wear, eyewear and church hats compliments bare skin against sweat- stained clothes.  Actually, wearing one outfit is not sufficient.  Yes, a second change of clothes is needed as several people change T-shirts, sundresses and shorts for the next DJ.

Ramon Rawsoul beams those pearly whites.  A million dollar smile flashes in the sun’s embrace.  The HITP founder stands aplomb to lead the congregants to the Mother Land.  The sojourners cross the Atlantic Ocean and arrive at Jo’burg’s townships on the continent called Africa where African rhythms are explored.  From the likes of Manoo’s,Kodjothe tribal banger to Zakes Batwini’sWasting My Timethe sounds of South Africa’s house music plays loud and proud.  From there Ramon gives his parishioners a glimpse at his stomping grounds back in Chicago, Illinois with a classic Chi-town acid house music track.  Then it’s time to get serious with Jill Scott’s vocal prayer “Hear My Call” (Pablo Martinez Mix).  Someone somewhere must have danced to the rain gods because in the midst of the tribal excursion raindrops descend upon the park.  To tease the crowd, Ramon plays Kerri Chandler’sRain(Atjazz Mix) the soundtrack to the precipitation.  The refreshing shower that lasts a mere ten minutes does nothing to divert the people’s attention in the park.  As the rain clouds roll away, sunny skies reappear and dance to Ceramic featuring Aisling Stephenson’s Broken Dreams(Ian Friday ‘Tea Party’ Vocal).  Unsung, Atlantic Starr shows up with “Send For Me” (Master Kev & Tony Loreto) that makes the hearts of old-school die.  One observer notes, she has died and gone to heaven while one house head proclaims, this is paradise.  How important it is to play new songs that young people can relate too.  A team of young girls, holding hands, walks through P 1 and mouths Goyte’s anthem “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Master Kev & Tony Loreto Mix).  The song that plays for the second time at the event marks one of the many music standouts of the day.  The anthem also wraps up Ramon’s time on deck.  Thanks for taking the pilgrimage to the lands of South Africa to explore the deep tribal sounds of house music.  Musical exposure is a key concept at HITP.

Kai Alce is his name and music is his game.  When the mixologist plays people show up in droves to experience the master at work.  Always the final installment of the Fab 4, Kai wraps up the party with old-school meets on the horizon anthems.  From classic disco, Brainstorm’s “Lovin Is Really My Game” to classic house, Kenny Bobien’sFather” (Ricanstruction Mix) there was something played for all peoples.

Of course, an event of this magnitude will have a few issues.  It all started during DJ Salah Ananse’s set.  At various times and in various spots within P 1 dance circles formed for the elite of dancers to battle and show off fancy footwork, hand stands and pop and lock art forms.  Honestly, when the pavilion is packed with bodies in motion, there’s not much room in the pavilion for open mouthed bystanders to besiege cropped circles to watch b-boys and dancers prove crown.  HITP needs all the dance space it can conjure.

During DJ Kemit’s illustrious set, there was the mishap fire incident when a fire extinguisher is needed within fifteen minutes or the park and party would have been shut down.  Inside the pavilion, people took the matter into their own hands chanting “The roof/The roof/The roof is on fire/We don’t need no water/ Let the …..(well you know the rest).  Yes, the people mentioned the undesirable right in front of families and small ones.  “People HITP is about family.  Let’s respect the kids,” announced MC Kemit.  At that time, someone had the brilliant idea to throw water into the air until MC Kemit laid down the law and had a come to Jesus meeting with the obnoxious.

By the time Kai Alce assumed music duties, P 1 became so crowded that for the first time ever at HITP crowd control was needed.  Outside of P 1 a HITP female volunteer stood with yellow caution rope in hand to let one to two people into P 1 at a time.  In effort to find additional space P 1 was abandoned for P 2.  However, both pavilions overflowed with people like cellulite trapped in spandex on a hot day.  In P 2 the hysteria chants of ATL vs New York vs every other city represented at the park was nauseating.  SECURITY.  We need security in P 2 fast before the zoo animals get out of hand.  Actually, the city’s zoo is at the other end of the park.

Once again, HITP set out to exceed expectations and that it accomplished.  From its latest stomping grounds to the music played the event was not only the summer’s hot sauce on collards but the fatback to the event of the year.  What a beautiful experience to behold and witness.  Also, words to the wise, next year, please don’t submit the DJs a request list.  The Fab 4 need not be told how to do their job.  These cats are the very best of the best.  They know what music to play and how to play music.  All four professionals played a diverse work of art that well-represented genres of music that ranged from house, classics, to soul. Please keep in mind, this is not the NYC Weekender, nor the Chicago Weekender, nor the Detroit Weekender, nor the San Francisco Weekender or the London Weekender.  It’s not even the Old-School Weekender or the New-School Weekender.  This is the ATLANTA WEEKENDer and HITP is house music.  So Atlanta standup.  This is your time to shine.  Be it the music that unites and not divides.  House music conquers with LOVE!

WEEKENDer Epilogue

After dancing on the concrete and sweating outdoors for several hours, you find out there’s an after party that you must attend.  Off you go….

 

Words and Photography by AJ Dance

HOUSE IN THE PARK 8 IN PHOTOS 02.09.12

September 3, 2012

Photography by AJ Dance

KARIZMA 31.08.12

September 1, 2012

KARIZMA

Launch Control:  Atlanta, we’re set to blast off.  All systems are ready to go.

In the Sound Table, the people stand on pins and needles.  An anticipatory buzz ignites the air aflame.  

Time: T minus 3 minutes.
Launch Control (LC): KAI, Technics 1200 right arm has needle.
KAI: Attached.
LC: KAI, Technics 1200 left arm has needle.
KAI: Attached.
LC: Pioneer CDJ 1 tray press open.
KAI: Open.
LC: Pioneer CDJ 2 tray press open.
KAI: Open.
LC: KAI, vent 1 speaker control power on.
KAI: Power on.
LC: KAI, vent 2 speaker control power on.
KAI: Power on.
LC: the Sound Table reports spacecraft is go.
Mission Director: Karizma Kaytronic is go.
LC: the ST – FTS bat one and two heater controls heaters off.
the ST: Off.
LC: Karl Injex, pressurized first stage LOX tanks to relief.
Karl Injex: Pressurized.
LC: Karl Injex, top first stage LOX to 100 percent levels.
Karl Injex: Up and down, 100 percent.
Time: Ninety seconds.
LC: KAI, hydraulic external power on.
KAI: Power on.
Time: Eighty seconds.
LC: RCO, report range go for launch.
Range Control Officer (RCO): Range go for launch.
Mission Director: LC (Viera), you’re go for launch.
LC: Roger.
Time: Seventy seconds.

 

Atlanta’s acclaimed DJ/producer/remixer Kai Alce proclaimed, “Its A New Day.” The mantra interwoven through a soundscape of current mid-tempo grooves ends in the record crates of vintage house music sounds.  It’s been noted the NDATL label owner has been on an old-skool house music tip lately and his followers are all smiley faces.  Mr. Alce slices and dices mellifluous beats that drive happy feet mad to the restaurant floor to dance between dining tables and around seating guests.  Warm cheers serenade the cozy environment that patronize dining companions munching on the last bites of oxtail tacos while clicking cocktail glasses of Blackfoot Confederacy atop candle lit tables.  Finally, after an eternity, the full bellies abandon their stations as the wooden oblong dining tables are evacuated onto the outdoors back patio or stationed alongside an exposed brick wall.  The transformation from delectable eatery to decadent dance club signals the countdown to……..

 Time: Fifty seconds 

After Kai wraps up an astonishing set the party’s way over due special guest DJ, Karizma steps foot into the DJ booth.  Ready. Set…….

Launch Control: We interrupt this blog to bring you a very important announcement.  T minus to launch off is approximately thirty seconds.  The ATLANTA WEEKENDer, Afrique Electrique or Distinctive cannot and will not be held responsible for what will take place to your body, mind and soul.  Please, prepare to be possessed by strange rhythms that will descend upon you like bolts of lightning.  Your life will never be the same.  As a matter-of-fact, within the coming week you will experience severe withdrawals from the seismic shift that will take place.  Brace yourself.  Get ready for the ride of your life.  You are about to launch off on Space Shuttle K2.  AKA Space Shuttle Karizma Kaytronik.  Your destination and mission: To seek out uncharted rhythms and to dance on unexplored worlds. 

LC: T minus 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,

LIFT OFF!!!

For anyone’s guess what occurs next could not be possibly conceived or imagined.  All it takes is for one switch of a button to launch the party’s booster rockets into space that sends the shuttles red glare bursting into the air.  The travelers packed into the thin vessel stand frozen-in animated positions with stunned visages-completely suspended in space and time until…….a jolt is felt.  A thump is heard…… that signals the arrival of some unknown orchestrated philharmonic ready to pounce on the heads of the people.  Split between several seconds, calmness gives way to chaos.  Quiet anticipation gives way to boisterous recollection.  A whirlwind of activity electro charges the atmosphere as Karizma Kaytronic presses play and sends the room into static shock.  The environment is shocked with piceous particles ready to manifest in ectopic explosions.  A seismic shift occurs.  The travelers don’t expect such force.  Nor have they experienced such blithe.  Suddenly, people’s feet seem to detach off the floor, somehow able to defy gravity.  Strange rhythms pulsating from several speakers command the floating bodies to dance in mid-air.  The moonwalk has nothing on this.  With force, the sacred grooves possess every soul within sight.  The strange rhythm slam bodies against walls, drops bodies to the floor, and makes bodies roll on the floor.  One individual even wants to scale up a wall.  One being that vibrates violently, runs around in circles and dances as if overtaken by a secular ghost.  Clothes fall apart.  How can they not?  A left suspender strap hangs loose.  A red hat falls off one dancer’s head, flies several feet in the air and lands somewhere on the other side of the ship.  Not one body or article is safe from this spatial anomaly.

Let’s back-up.  Just who and what is this strange phenomenon called a Karizma Kaytronik?  Perhaps a look into the house music’s history logs can provide additional insight.  Karizma Kaytronik hails from Baltimore, Maryland USA, the city better known for its crime-ridden statistics and cable television police drama than its music.  Every so often a life force shows up bearing talented gifts.  His name happens to be Kris Klayton.  Over time, Kris’ government name became Karizma the stage persona that won the world over with unmatched DJ skills and signature productions crafted under several monikers.  To explore the mind of Karizma his name must be defined.  Charisma is a gift of power that is divinely bestowed upon an individual.  The power that Karizma possesses when he plays music is unequal to any rival.  Some DJs can play music.  Then there are DJs that can actually PLAY music.  The latter are the anointed ministers of music (hence Karizma’s brother in rhythm DJ Spen) where Karizma Kaytronic falls.  The in-demand DJ/producer/remixer doesn’t cue a CD and press play or cue some laptop software and press enter, he takes a beat and pulls an a cappella out of his a$$ and creates spontaneous smash-ups.  These live remixes rock the global community of house mongers from the US to Croatia.  To create spontaneous remixes is no wee task as a veteran goes through mind boggling hours and years of practice to pull off such a craft.

So what’s the fuss?  It all starts with the Freddie Hubbard, “Little Sunshine” interpolation, sampled by the likes of Pepe Braddock, Trackheadz, Jask and DJ Spen, that explodes in the ear drums of the listeners.  Several seconds later, an, “Heeyyyy,”  “Ohhhhh” resonates and commands its place on board the ship.  The unexpected yet surprising vocals cause rapture.  Look up in the air, it’s a meteor, it’s an unidentified flying object, no it is songbird Jill Scott’s, “Golden” flying to the rescue that makes this supernatural smash-up the journey’s soundtrack.  Stop!  Someone’s heart just exploded.

On one hand, Karizma is a humble gent with a clever persona when in conversation.  However, once behind the musical controls, out comes the world revered DJ’s other personality.  Kaytronic, Karizma’s alter-ego, takes over the ship’s music controls and flies the people at warp speeds to uncharted territories.

Kaytronik’s first stop transports the travelers to the realm of Planet Old-School where time travels backwards and forwards simultaneously.  The recently re-edit old-school anthem of Rufus & Chaka Kahn’s,Live In Me remixed by Karizma’s brother in rhythm DJ Spen, commands the star power that keeps the crowd zoned out in euphoric mental states.  Time continues its retrograde as BT Express’, “Peace Pipe” the 1970’s war protest anthem has the crowd “smoke it on up.”  Another house music classic from yesteryear recently interpreted for the current year, Kerri Chandler’s, Rain (Atjazz Mix) keeps the crowd all buzzed dancing animatedly in mid-air; as GQ, “Disco Nights”-the song that most DJs are playing as of late-warps minds back to a time of swinging bell bottoms and dancing platform shoes.  However, it is Saint Germain’s, “Rose Rouge” from the year 2000 that takes the exploration to new heights.  On the time lapse planet, writhed bodies fall to the ground, roll on the floor, and cause substantial damage to anyone standing in their way.  Minds become twisted with strange debacles.  This 2000 space odyssey loses all control and goes mad.

Once again the lodestar, with a press of a button, vaporizes the travelers into thin air where their bodies land on another unknown surface.  There are certain DJs that can unleash the BEAST.  Not all DJs, honestly not that many, can awaken the slumber of the beast.  Every so often, perhaps every blue moon, the beast is unleashed that strikes.  To witness its attack is bar none.  Shhhh.  Quietly the dancers watch their every move on this ramshackle planet that resembles an apocalyptic scene straight from a nightmare.  Hold on just for one minute.  In the distance, there appear several frightening beast-like forms that resemble dead zombies from a certain iconic music video.  A closer inspection reveals their ghastly movements interpret the dance moves danced in that certain iconic music video.  In the background the shouts of trumpets blast to the forefront of the mind.  It is the opening sequence to Black Motion’s interpretation of Michael Jackson’s opus, “Thriller” (Mortarfied Remix) the bootleg with that afro-house beat that has the monsters dancing.  Quickly the travelers join suit and dance with the otherworldly beasts with smiles on their faces.  All is well on this planet.  Truth be told, music is the universal language.

The dancers beam back on board Shuttle K2, and are fixated on French-ster Rocco featuring C. Robert Walker on vocals with, I Love The Night (Louie Vega Roots Mix).  In the DJ booth, Kaytronik doesn’t play around, nor does he expect the dancers to play around on the dance floor.  His music comes off boisterous but not pretentious.  The beats play hard, not fair.  Karizma is no joke.  Nor is he for the ballerina types that prance to fingers that snap softly at 120 beats per minute or below.  Folks, this IS your father’s house music.  That Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit shit that pioneered house music’s movement in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a time when the beats were allowed to be pitched up, or jacked up to its fullest furor to deliver seismic jolts to the heart.  So if you like to play patty cake beats then get out of the cockpit because things are bound to get HOT!

More homage to Rufus & Chaka Kahn is paid with “I Know You, I Live You” that comes to an abrupt stop in mid-song.  From the mouth of one disgruntle traveler spews four letter obscenities that hurls toward the DJ booth.  However, all is well as the next song starts that has the once cursing traveler now singing, “Tell Me/Would You Like/If The DJ/Brought It Back” at the top of her lungs with a smile on face.  The broken beat music segues into A Tribe Called Quest’s, “Award Tour” as the travelers scream in holy panic.  Additional old-school hip hop rounds out the trip that makes for a safe return to the Sound Table.

 

WEEKENDer Epilogue

The Sound Table’s lights come on.  One glance around the space reveals dishevelment.  What happened?  You question where you had gone?  You check your watch to find three hours has passed.  Really?!?  Had that much time lapsed?  For what was three hours seems like a mere three minutes.  Had you really been gone that long?

Later that morning, at your Studio Suite at the W Hotel (downtown) after a bit of sleep and slumber you find that your passport has been mysteriously stamped with a K2 Shuttle Mission ensignia.  Now that’s golden!!!

 Words & Photography by AJ Dance