Archive for June 30, 2013


June 30, 2013

Visuals: AJ Dance


June 24, 2013

Visuals: AJ Dance


June 16, 2013


Happy Father’s Day


You’ve got to love the event pages on social media websites.  The best is the website, yada-yada-yada, that tracks who is going to attend an event.  Read the dozens of posts to hype the event.  Check out the several comments to hype the posts.  Thumb up.  Over one hundred people click, “going.”  Nowhere near one-hundred people attend the actual event, not even ninety or eighty….the drastic drop grows depressing.  There goes the digital age’s accuracy of tracking and surveillance.

 This ain’t no stairway to heaven but a stairway to a hole-in-the-wall.  The thought references the steps that lead to the entrance of the venue’s smaller room.  Even sadder, is the missing accessible ramp for the disabled.  Walk-if you can-through the open door, greet the Tambor Party’s awesome twosome.  Purchase a Tambor tee, members: ten bucks, nonmembers: fifteen bucks, in the tiny foyer adjacent the men’s and women’s rest areas.  Enter the main room.

-Witness the makeshift DJ stage.  Listen to the sound system pieced together by the hands of manual labor and view the neon strobe lights playing a game of cat chase mouse, without succumbing to a seizure, underneath a Pro lighting setup. Tambor deserves an A for effort.   The party is a DIY initiative.-

There is still something off kilter about the smaller space.  The vibe is off.  The room is dark, too dark, for a Tambor party.  And the room is too small.  Whiff.  The air smells stale.  A chill hangs overhead.  And, no, this chill does not blast from the AC or industrial fans.

Where is the love?  Is the love at the bar?  Can the love be found upstairs in the VIP area?  Perhaps, is the love at the merchandise table in the hall that separates the larger room from the smaller room?  Where the larger room is Tambor’s home, the smaller room is Tambor’s gloom.


Several months ago, one post on yada-yada-yada asked, “What is the house music song you never want to hear played at a party?  One female dancer commented, “My Name Is” by DJ Zinhile.  DJ BE, hard at work, plays the Alpha & Omega Drum Arena Remix.  Where BE fails, he trumps with Atlantans ChiProfess and Kwi B’s, who have yet to arrive at the party, “We Are Black Love.”  The Tambor Party’s number two keeps the music Afro for the remainder of his set.


Several family faces are absent.  Where are the people who complain they want to hear different music played?  Where are the virgin ears that have yet to experience this month’s guest DJ?  Furthermore, where are the 80% other folk who attended last month’s Tambor Party?  “The night is young,” Optimism answers. “Surely they are on their way.”


An impressive montage of pounding drums, hissing snares and hi-hats abruptly fade.  The event’s guest DJ, dressed in a blue V neck that exposes his chest fur, stands center stage. Cue the music.  A Spanish guitar plucks strings over Balearic beats.  The song is the perfect nod to summer nights in Ibiza.  It’s a rather soft-opening statement.

“Whomp.  Whomp….Chomp.” The sound is bass heavy.  A weight reserved much more for trap & dubstep’s aggression than deep house’s spiritualism.

“Can you hear the Tambor bass?”

Stanzeff.  Yes.  Not only do the people hear the bass, they feel the bass.  Apparently, Lars interprets Stan’s inquiry as an opportunity to pound the shit out of the bass.  He drops the bass, filters the bass and explodes the bass on several songs to come.  Lars is that eight year old child mistakenly left in a music studio, playing with the controls, sliding crossfaders, turning knobs, and pushing buttons that light up bright colors while he grins mischievously.  Behind the decks, he is a mad scientist.  Lars concocts further antidotes of claptrap rarely heard in these parts.  Voiceovers and sampled vocals float haphazardly over the loudest percussions imaginable.  Lyrics collide into digital beeps and pongs.  The faint of ears need protection.

Several standees-wearing the color white, the party’s unofficial shade, stand glowing underneath a black light,-wonder where the music marches towards.  Several dancers, too busy dancing can care less.  The music must be trusted.  The DJ must be trusted.  The medium must be trusted.   The west coast maestro understands.  He silences all doubts.

“We Are Sons of Yoruba of West Africa”

“We Are Sons of the Great Divinity” speaks the South African producer and vocalist, Bluelle on “We Are Africa.”  The crowd agrees.  Lars has their attention.

Sonic jolts of bass shake the ground.  A synthesizer chords slices the air.  The voice of string instruments stutter.  Electronic bleeps burp on ones and threes.  Heavy percussions thump, tick tock.  Seismic shifts of sound evoke a melodious flow. A sample of Common Sense’s “Voices Inside My Head” pits the lyrics to the drum.  Viewing the surroundings suggests common sense lacks as several people appear to hear voices inside their head.

Vrooom.  A white Panama hat blows by.  Actually it’s a female, all smiles and entirely too happy, skipping by.  An unknown lady dressed in all black molests a male dancer, without permission, and proceeds to tango.

“There is too much going on.”  Natalie Cole comments.  Oops, that’s not Natalie Cole.

Look.  There onstage.  Have you seen a DJ on bended knees play music?  If anyone else isn’t having the time of their life, then Lars is having the time of your life for you.

“Happy Father’s Day!” DJ Stanzeff shouts out.

Lars, the graying father and loving husband plays his mad scientist’s bravado.  The bass disappears.  He teases the crowd. He throws out the bass and snatches it back. Finally, he fully drops the bass over a tribal thumper of soft handclaps and a tambourine shrilling against stark minimalism.  A male’s falsetto flutters into ears.  His heavenly voice commands “The Only Way.”  The anthem rings loud and clear.  The Ralf Gum featuring Kenny Bobien single (Artistic Soul Spiritual Touch Mix) inaugurates Tambor’s policy that this event is for all races, creeds, colors or origins.

Kudos to the different shades of faces, who rarely attend a Tambor Party, that show up and represent.  Right stage, B-boys crop a circle for dance offs.  Rear room a dance duo performs syncopated choreographed steps.

A deep bass line wobbles against synthetic warps plowing over soft pads that crescendo into an orchestrated hotbed of deep tech.  A voice calls “Hey” that steadily echoes to a soft whisper.  The Russian born, Ghana bred, current Limpopo SA resident, Kojo Akusa track (Posh Mix) has one B-boy spinning around in circles on his head with no hands.  The dancer receives a small applause.

 Lars descends not only deeper into the heart of Africa but through time; a fall that finds him almost entirely too entrenched in the sound of shrubbery from yore.   Instant House’s “Awade” (Joe’s Jungle Sounds Dub) hashes stark bongos fused amid a sexy sax with an airplane flying overhead and more yells than a Yeezus track.  At this point Lars digs deep, a move that might scare the breakers afar. Perhaps the tribal emphasis stems from the Tambor Party’s philosophy of all things the drum.  Notably, the sound quickly oscillates to further global influences.

Ceila Cruz”Elegua.”  The late “Queen of Salsa” or “La Guarachera de Cuba”award-winning voice soars on the Orisha tribute, remixed by Jose Marquez a former Tambor guest DJ. Orchestrated viola strings crescendo to a dramatic climax.  The music breaks.  An all too familiar bass line punches with the ringing of a cowbell.  The crowd recognizes one of the most sampled bass lines in popular music.  They revel with regard.  The music time travels back to the Reaganomics era with assisted fuel from Eddie Grant’s, “Time Warp.” During the party’s peak hour, the DJ/Deeper Shades producer/remixer drops the lows, the mids and allows the highs to scream at a pitch reserved for canines for thirty seconds.  This is the Lars Behrenroth experience.

Consider Lars Behrenroth hails from Germany, the land where music chemists crafted the industrial sound.  Midwest America, Detroit and Chicago especially, go gaga for industrial tech but the South-not so much.  The L.A. resident is no stranger to the A, having played in the town eight times in six years, an astronomical accomplishment for any DJ.  Like an extended family of cousins never met, so is the ever expansion of the city’s deep/soulful house community.  Many freshmen heads are unfamiliar with Atlanta’s adopted cousin.  Salutations must commence.  His music is assertive, bash and unrelenting.  Yet, his music can be all fluff and full of sex.  Take, Botswana, Meropa Park’s “Live A Lil” remixed by Canadian Suges, a promo from The Deeper Shades of House imprint.  The dancers let loose.  Ponytails drop to reveal long manes.  Hips swing left to right.  Arms stretch into the air.  Heads bob.  Smiles stretch wider.  Dance moves become sexually suggestive techniques of foreplay.  This is how sexy house sounds.  And the Deeper Shades label owner, no stranger to making love to the music, gets down.  He dances a little. He drinks a little.  He gets his groove on.

What catapults this German turned American citizen above his peers?  It’s his WTF moments where the Deeper Shades founder triumphs.   His ability to dig deep, pull out and drop a piece of music that explodes like combustible gas.  The philharmonics run.  The people run.  They run not from the dance floor but to the dance floor.  “I totally forgot that song existed.” and “Where did he pull that one out from?”  People ask.  Yes, Lars throws curveballs.

 The crowd never sees coming Georg Levin featuring Clara Hill’s “(I Got) Somebody New.”  The decade-old classic played on heavy rotation on the city’s HBCU jazz radio station back in the day.  Jazz Nouveau.

Lars loops the mid-tempo track in mid-song.  The next track of tribal drums plays.  He steadies himself, hands and all.  The crowd stares unaware of what takes place.  The man of the hour matches the grooves.  He clocks his time.  He turns the Bozark knobs with an acute acumen of skilled precision.  The two tracks slowly consummate.

“Take your time.” One dancer shouts from the crowd.

“Take your time. Work dat….”  With a punch of sound “(I Got) Somebody New” resounds from nowhere.  Surprise!  Lars creates an Afro infused spontaneous mash-up of the two songs.  Eyes and ears are stunned.  The room is on fiyah.  Thankfully, the two industrial fans positioned at the ends of the DJ stage cool heated bodies.

“Who’s got my bass?”  The ever gregarious cousin yells.  He looks around like he is about to bomb the room.

“Where’s my bass?”

He teases the audience with words.

“We got it.” One dancer responds.  And with that…. “BOOM!” The bass falls on the dancers with vengeance. Lars pulls the cowbell to the forefront on Floetry’s, “I Want You” remixed by Tambor’s previous month’s guest DJ, Osunlade.  Voices yell, fists air punch and bodies erk and jerk with excitement.

Lars drops acid! That is acid house.  For the old-school heads, A Guy Called Gerald’s “Voodoo Ray” stirs memories of the late 80’s nostalgia.  A time when Roland 808’s and Roland TR-909s were rad.

Having taken Tambor for a wild and whimsical whirl of tech, the Men of Nile’s “Watch Them Come” brings the guest DJ’s time to a close but not before one last tribal thumper.

A white Tambor tee and white pants glides onto stage.  Tambor’s daddy, DJ Stanzeff guides the sound.  He is up to something.

That eight year old kid is still having too much fun, turning knobs and pressing buttons.  To watch him play is both exhilarating and exhausting.

“Bop, bop, bop.”

“Bop, bop, bop.”  The drum pounds louder and louder and louder until, his finger rashly presses the Bozak’s loop function.  A belt heavy of drums unleashes its power through out the room.  The crowd loses their minds. The force of Marlon D and Boddhi Satva’s “Power of the Drum (Marlon D’s Tribal Deep Tribal Mix) is unstoppable.  Sadly, Lars is stoppable.  DJ Stanzeff stands ready to play.  However, Lars won’t let go.  He continues starts the drums over from the top and BANG.

 “Tambor, let’s give it up for Lars.  The people give a rousing applause.  “We will have him back soon.”


Several months earlier, a Chicago DJ posted on yada,yada,yada, “Even if Jesus remixes this song, I never want to hear this song played again.”  The song: Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey.”  DJ Stanzeff opens his set with the Osunlade Edit.  The majority of the crowd is entertained and sings “Hey Hey” in return.  They must be drunk.

Again, why is it that 80% more people attended last month’s Tambor compared to this month’s party?  Answer. The DJ.  Sadly when an “I haven’t heard of that DJ” who brings a fresh approach and plays a justified sound, people play ghost.  Of course, a sizable crowd represented.  Yet, this Tambor fell short of its mandate.  This was a must attend event.  No excuses.  Lars deserved better.  He deserved an authentic Tambor experience; the larger room, a more engaged audience and eager fans that attended to support.  After all, this is Lars freaking Behrenroth playing at Tambor.  A rarity.  And if you didn’t know then you should’ve asked somebody.

Visuals and Words by AJ Dance