vendredi, janvier 12, 2007

Clubbing, Take Two: Mind the Gap at Batofar

Well first, the pre-clubbing (which was pretty substantial):

After sleeping in a bit, I was dragged out of bed (on my day off, I might add) by a rather persistent WiFi problem (read: impatient student). Since I wanted to go to the market anyway, I put myself together, hopped in the shower, and headed out the door. I took care of the WiFi issue and then headed off to the market. I was sidelined at the door by the front desk staff; apparently, there had been some significant issues with guest policies, so I needed to send out a "refresher" email to the students. After hashing everything out with the staff, I finally went to market.

Today, I was checking out the open-air marché at Place des Fêtes, two métro stations away from my place. This one was a fair bit bigger than the one I visited last Saturday at Télégraphe; I counted at least 9 green grocers, 5 butchers, 3 fishmongers, 3 cheese-mongers, about 10 assorted clothing and/or leather goods stalls, a few book sellers, and a handful of specialty vendors. One of the vendors at which I spent an unexpected amount of money was a "Mediterranean specialty" booth. I saw that the vendor had at least 20 varieties of olive preparations, so I asked for a bit of his spicy Catalan olives. Shrewd salesman as he was, he gave me tastings of his almond-stuffed olives while serving me up my order. I got handful of those as well, and he gave me a tasting of his garlic-stuffed ones. I got the garlic-stuffed ones, and he gave me some of his cheese-stuffed ones. I stopped there, noticing a disturbing trend. I also asked him for skordaliá (σκορδαλιά), but he apparently didn't make it. On the other hand, he did have a fresh cheese and garlic spread that was just as good. That plus a half-dozen dolmas, and I was on my way. I stopped at a nearby butcher to get a beautiful-looking duck breast and a paupiette of rabbit meat.

Despite the temptation, I didn't get any fish that day. All of it looked fantastic, but I knew I wouldn't get around to cooking it that night and it seemed like a bad idea to buy such wonderfully fresh fish, only to let it age in my fridge. I did, however, find and buy some ripe mangoes (FINALLY). The mangoes were from Perú (natch), and I picked out the 3 squishiest ones I could. They were probably overripe for eating fresh, but they were perfect for making my mango+jalapeño salsa). And, of course, I bought some pains au chocolat from the baker.

I headed back home, dropped off the pains au chocolat with the front desk staff (for their troubles) and went upstairs to eat some olives and make the salsa. The mangoes could've been sweeter (i.e., those "champagne" mangoes that come from Manila...mmm!), but they were still far superior to anything I had found in Paris before. I added a bit of orange flower water along with my usual ingredients and stuck it in the fridge to marinate. Then, it was off to my laptop to do some blogging.

One of my colleagues had invited me to go see a play that evening, and I got an email from her inviting me to have dinner at her place before heading out. I got dressed (very smartly, I might add) and headed off for dinner, bringing some of the olives and dolmas with me as my contribution to dinner. After dinner, we headed off to the Théâtre National de la Colline to see the Enzo Cormann play L'Autre.

As the title might suggest (trans. "The Other"), this play is pretty indebted to psychoanalytic theory, particularly that of Lacan. While the play mostly stayed away from explicit psychoanalytic theory, the frequent and lengthy musings on the nature of the Other got a bit tiring. Also, large parts of the play seemed like a far more self-serious rehash of Themla & Louise, but in this case it's hot killer lesbians that get away with it (apparently). There was even the cliché'd "breaking the fourth wall" moment at the end, where the two actors address the audience; how radical! I'm overwhelmed with the desire to conduct a sit-in at a mirror shop.

Once the play finished, I headed back home, changed into something more club-appropriate, and headed back out, timing myself to catch the last train (a bit unwise: I nearly missed my connection in Châtelet).

Cabanne & Agnès, Noé, Frankie @ Batofar: Mind the Gap

23h30-02h30: Frankie? Noé!

Thanks to wok in the comments for clearing up the identities of these two DJs! The names have been corrected in the rest of this post.
OK, I think this was Frankie spinning, but I can't be sure. Nobody I asked seemed to know who he was, but based on the profiles of all the other artists that night on Mind the Gap's website (as well as the featured label, minibar music), and the one black-and-white picture on his own record label's website (Frankie Rec.), I've decided that this was most likely Frankie. Either way, he spun a pretty clickity-clackity microhouse set, although the offbeat hi-hats were almost entirely missing. Most of the tracks he selected made use of the syncopation and slightly loose timing that gives house it's "feel," but the characteristic "BOOM tsk BOOM tsk" was absent. You can get a feel for it from the brief video I took of Noé's set. Ironically, the images I get from the crappy video setting often comes out better than what I get from snapping pictures. I'm still figuring out how to get the exposure just right. Sigh...

Oh, and here'a quick peek at the stage from the back, near the bar:

02h30-04h00: Cabanne & Agnès (live)


Cabanne and Agnès' live set was less clicky and more poundy. Although the high-end complexity was still there, the bass was heavier (unfortunately, it's totally undetectable in the recording below) and had a more forward-driving groove. Instead of the slightly slippery play between the timing of strong and weak beats, everything tended to flow more regularly, the beats subdividing symmetrically.


The forward flow came from the the bass kick drums would "fill" the space between beats--usually beast 3 and 4. It's somewhat unusual for the bass kick (the lowest percussive sample in most tracks) to appear on subdivisions of the beat. The result (for me, at least) is this momentary feeling of being pushed forward (i.e. the bass arrived a half-beat too early) and then snapping back into time. It's particularly noticeable when I'm dancing; with this genre of music, I'm used to having strong bass beats coincide with the beginning and end-points of my dance moves, so it's striking to have a bass kick run through my body as I'm in the middle of a smooth, continuous motion (like a body wave, or a shift of balance between feet).

Anyway, check out this short video below. Unfortunately, the bass kick wasn't picked up...but the modified clave pattern was! (You could argue this is a modified bell pattern instead, but it's about the same distance from both.)

04h00-6h00: Noé Frankie!

Frankie's set was a bit less intense than the previous ones, which I found rather refreshing. DJs tend to constantly try to one-up the previous performer, which sometimes results in an exhausted dancefloor trying to keep up with a manic DJ at 6am. One interesting thing I noticed was that Frankie would occasionally slow down a track ever so slightly while it was playing. It was almost as if he was about to mix in a slower track and he preferred to change the speed of the current track rather than the upcoming one. Either way, the effect was kind of neat, since he didn't overdo it. His set overall was pretty tech-house-y. I think it would still fall under the broad banner of "minimale" here in Paris, but the sound to my ears was not so much minimal as straightforward techno with house sensibilities (minus the vocals).

Once 5h30 rolled around, I took the deterioration of Noé's beatmatching as a sign that I needed to leave. I collected my jacket and sauntered off to the nearest métro station. When I got to my neighborhood, my usual boulangerie wasn't open (they close on Saturdays), but I walked a couple of blocks away to another boulangerie and got myself a baguette, a pain au chocolat and an orange juice. As I sauntered into the boulangerie, I saw the customer in front of me take the last pain au chocolat on the shelf. I asked the baker glumly, "There's none left?" To which he replied "Of course! They're just back here." At which point he walked to the back of the shop, and returned with a hot metal baking tray, filled with freshly baked pains au chocolat. In retrospect, I should've bought the whole tray; the experience of eating oven-fresh pastries is always foodgasmic. I would've eaten them all at once, too...

3 commentaires:

amy a dit…

Oh, the Place des Fetes market is fantastic, I wish I had the energy to drag myself over there more often. I got some really wonderful stuffed cabbages there a while ago.

I'm so impressed that you can make it through night after night of hard dancing till dawn (although I suppose it is an occupational hazard). I used to do it in college, but back then I had... help. ;) These days I think I'd be yawning by 2am.

p.s. I may bug you for more manuscript advice at some point soon, since you were kind enough to offer.

wok a dit…

you mixed up frankie and noé
noé wears the red shirt at the beginning, frankie ended up the party

LMGM a dit…

hey wok, thanks for that! I was left wondering about those two. I'll fix that in the blog in a second...