samedi, janvier 31, 2009

Jeff Mills and Chloé at the Rex, 2 Buddies at Jett Afterparty

My daytime activities were a bit truncated, since I had slept in rather late (14h00) and then spent a large portion of the day blogging the past few days and dealing with some correspondence. I had found out last night that a friend of mine was going to be spinning at an afterparty around 7h00, so I had a rather quiet evening to preserve my energies for later partying.

Jeff Mills, Chloé and Timid Boy @ Le Rex

I headed over to Le Rex around 1h00, thinking that that would be early enough to avoid an obnoxiously long lineup. I hadn’t managed to get on the list for that night, but I was prepared to just get in the cash line like everyone else. As I was walking over to the front door, I realized that I hadn’t waited in the “regular” line at Le Rex since I first returned to Paris in September.

Alas, the line was still massive and messy, running almost to the street corner, so I got in line and started to wait. The people in line ahead of me started to despair, saying that by the time they got to the front of the line, the club would be at capacity—so some of them left for other bars, which made the line move faster than expected. Nonetheless, a few minutes later, I saw my friends S. and D. show up, along with another friend of ours, L.

I hadn’t seen L. in ages, so we greeted each other enthusiastically. In the process, I had managed to lose my place in line, but all was not lost: my friends had a place on the guestlist. So my five-month record of not waiting in the “regular” line at Le Rex continues!

By the time we got into the club and checked our coats, Timid Boy’s set was about to finish, so we only heard a few tracks before he was replaced by Jeff Mills.

2h00-4h00: Jeff Mills

Mills’s set was oddly interesting, in that his style remains completely unchanged from what I heard from him in the late 90s, but at the same time he would occasionally incorporate tracks that were more in line with European tastes for minimal techno. There was pretty much no house influences of any sort to be heard in the set, and his overall style was still the Detroit Second-Wave definition of “minimal,” which involves a reduced set of musical elements and very slow rates of change, but also a high-intensity and high-impact sound. If you were to make a caricature of it, the sound would involve a pounding, unchanging 4/4 beat, a few synthesized tom-toms or claves on off-beats, and a single undulating synth line that slowly and slowly changes tone or shape over the course of 10 minutes; nothing more, sometimes less.

Anyway, the set was good for what it was; that is, if you liked what Jeff Mills was doing 10 years ago you probably loved this set, but if you weren’t a fan of him then, this set wasn’t going to convert you.

The four of us made an amusing quartet throughout the night. S. and D. are a couple, so they would occasionally kiss but otherwise they didn’t engage in any heavy petting or intense touching. L. and I, on the other hand, were no couple but spent the whole evening pawing at each other like we were at a cuddle party.

L. is generally very tactile for Parisian norms (and I think it’s not insignificant that she’s from Mauritius, rather than mainland France) and I’m naturally very tactile (I had to learn to tone it down while in France), so whenever we’re together, it’s like a non-stop caress-fest. When we saw each other outside the club, we immediately hugged each other (generally considered a way too intimate gesture here) and then linked arms while we waited to get in. On the dance floor, we would take turns giving backrubs, occasionally rub shoulders, hold hands, and otherwise find ways to entwine ourselves around each other. Good times.

4h00-7h00: Chloé

Chloé’s set was good. This is maybe a bit obvious, but it’s worth saying; Chloé has both impressed me and disappointed me in the past, so I never know if I’m going to enjoy or dislike her set. I’ve found that her live sets tend to bore me (especially the one she did at Mutek ’08 in Montreal!), but her DJ sets can be pretty good. This set was a bit heavy in its overall sound, but I guess that made sense as a continuation of Mills’s set. Her sound remains much more electro and even a bit psychedelic, tending toward a much thicker and busier texture than Mills. Nonetheless, the set seemed to go over well.

By about 6h30, we decided to start heading out to the afterparty. Franck Valat is L.’s boyfriend, so we wanted to be sure to get to the afterparty destination before 7h30, when he and his partner were scheduled to start. We had some trouble herding the quartet together—and in the process, we gathered another two people—but eventually we made our way outside and caught a pair of taxis.

Jett Afterparty @ Les Quatre Vents

The afterparty was at the same location as last week, so I was able to give the taxi driver directions to the place and we got there pretty quickly. There was the same bullshit with the mandatory coat check and 10€ drinks, but at least I was on the list this time. I got inside with L., grabbed a bottle of water while she went off to find Franck, and then we all settled in to wait until their set started. The DJ currently spinning was DJ HAK, I think, who I’m pretty sure is also the promoter of this series of afterparties. What I heard of his set was fine, but I’ll admit that I only heard a bit of it and I was sort of distracted talking with my friends.

7h30 -9h00: 2 buddies

Franck and Loulou gave a great set (I think that, when they perform as a duo, they go by “Madonna” and “Britney”), which I think worked really well as an afterparty set. The overall level of intensity was much lower than what we had heard at Le Rex, but it still had some forward motion. It also leaned much more towards miminal-house styles, so everything felt a bit looser and smother and generally funkier.

I had a good time, but I was running out of steam by the end of it. And so, as soon as they finished their set, I waited for an opportunity to congratulate Franck, said goodbye to everyone else, and then headed home.

For some reason (possibly insanity), I decided to bike home from the location, which meant leaving from the area near Odéon in the 6th arrondissement, crossing the river, crossing Les Halles and Le Marais, and finally ending up at my place at Parmentier in the 11th. It was sunny, so it didn’t feel too cold…

When I got home, the weather widget on my laptop said that it was -2°C outside.

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