Tonight was the first night of what would become a trilogy of nights out at the Rex. But there was so much going on before the Rex.
Perhaps most importantly, I made aji de gallina for DJ, since he hadn't been in town the past few times I've made it. As soon as I got home, I pulled out the hens from the pressure cooker (I had cooked them last night) and started stripping the carcass and shredding the meat. Although the hens didn't give much flesh (it's a good thing I got two), they certainly rendered a lot of chicken fat, which promised to make a delicious sauce. I poured out the broth into a large bowl and let the fat settle at the top. I fried up the onions and peppers as usual, then threw in the garlic and habañero peppers at the last minute and started spooning in the broth (starting with the chicken fat, of course). I added the cumin and tumeric and the aji amarillo, then set the mixture to reduce. Once everything was cooked through and the broth had reduced a bit, I added the milk-soaked bread to thicken it all to an almost-solid, and then tossed in some walnuts and took a hand blender to it. From there, it was just a matter of adding a bit of creme fraîche (not necessary, but I had it in my fridge) and the hen flesh and mixing thoroughly.
By all accounts, the ají de gallina was a resounding success, as was the batch of basmati rice that I made with the leftover broth from the main dish. DJ and I stuffed ourselves silly with food, drank some wine, and then I dashed off to meet Fantômette at a photo show. The guy who does most of the official photography for Be My Chose and other events connected to them was having an opening tonight of a set of his pictures at a bar called Les Furieux. The plan was to hang out at the bar, check out the photos, and then continue on to Le Rex to see Nathan Fake and Shonky. Fantô was a bit late getting to the bar, so things were winding down as she arrived. We needed to be at the Rex by 1h00 if we were going to get in the guestlist, so we did a quick tour of the display and then zipped off with another friend of Fantô's (who had a car, thankfully). We piled in his car, he drove like a madman to get us there, and he managed to find a parking spot barely a block away from the club. We climbed out and headed to the club to find that the guestlist line was mercifully short. As it turns out, we were short one spot on the guestlist, but some other friends of Fantômette's showed up in time with an extra spot on theirs. Problem solved!
Bubble: Nathan Fake, DJ Shonky, and Guest (Kraft)
Alas, I have no good pictures of Shonky. When we first got in, the crowd was still too thin for me to surreptitiously take pictures. By the time the next DJ was coming on, things were still a bit too open. Ah well. For the record, he looks cuter in person. Anyway, I was a bit surprised to see Shonky relegated to the warm-up set, but I later found out that he also got the closing set from 4h30-6h00, so it wasn't so bad. Nonetheless, I made a point of complimenting him on his set after he finished, if only to point out that he merited a more central time slot.
We got in, checked our coats, and grabbed drinks. While Shonky's set was good (although Fantô pointed out quite rightly that his sound is a bit static), both of us had eaten rather late dinners, so we just stood around and listened to the music. We amused ourselves by observing and commenting on the people around us. As it turns out, Fantô shares my love of people-watching, so we were well entertained.
I have to admit, I was pretty underwhelmed by Kraft's set. I've never heard him before, and I later found out that he usually spins hard techno sets, so I'm wondering if he was experimenting with minimal that night. Either way, I tried and tried to get into the set, but to no avail. Most of the rest of the crew with me tonight felt the same way, although with different levels of intensity. Every few minutes, we would check in on each other: "Do you like this yet?" I wasn't particularly inspired to take a lot of pictures and video of the guy, but I've included a few clips of video so that you have some idea of what I'm talking about.
2h30-3h30: Nathan Fake
Nathan Fake's set was great. One of Fantômette's friends complained that it was too deconstructé, too abstract. He has a point; live sets are usually built out of a set of loops and and effects run through a sequencing program of some sort, so the large-scale forms and cohesiveness that are normally provided by the chaining-together of discrete tracks. Rather than the audible flow from one track to another (even when well mixed, you can still trace the shift between tracks, as the sonic elements of each track tend to cohere sonically), in a live set you have the occasional adding or removing of distinct and autonomous elements. For the record, he was using Ableton Live.
In addition to the inherent challenges of listening/dancing to a live set, Fake's set had the odd quality of being minimal, techno-y, mostly danceable, and yet rather distant from a lot of minimal techno. It had the abstract and sparse patterns of bleeps and beeps and scratches common in the more atmospheric, austere and virtually undanceable stream of minimal techno, yet it had the rolling bass, shaped climaxes, and departure-return patterns of the more dancefloor-oriented minimal of the current M_nus crew (Richie Hawtin, Troy Pierce, Magda, Heartthrob, etc.).
Nathan Fake, as it turns out, is rather photogenic in his own gangly way. No doubt, part of this was helped by the fact that the lighting folks were saturating him with an intense blue spotlight. I was able to turn off my flash, turn up the ISO, slow the shutter, and get some great images. Although several of them had to be taken between the arms and heads of taller people, I'm pretty happy with the results.
3h30-6h00?: Shonky (again)
Shonky followed Nathan Fake's set with a more upbeat and house-y minimal set. It sounded really good and I was enjoying it, but I was also getting really tired and my body was telling me that I shouldn't have been dancing on a full stomach. At around 4h00, I got my coat, said my goodbyes and headed out the door. I made it to the night-bus stop on Sebastopol, but I just missed my bus and the electronic display panel (thank goodness for those things!) told me that the next bus would be in 43 minutes.
Well, screw that. I had gotten into Le Rex for free and only bought two drinks, so I felt entitled to be a princess and hail a taxi. The taxi driver chatted with me all the way home about the repairs he needs to do to his car, how expensive repairs are, how unavoidable black-market repair shops are, and so on. Despite my fatigue, I managed to keep up my conversation with bland agreements and inane observations on the obvious.
And then I went to bed.