Prosumer, Murat Tepeli, Vereker, Huerco S.
Friday April 27, 2013
Imagine a feeling of gut-wrenching existential dread -- the negative sensation that only arises when things are about to go incredibly wrong. If you can picture that then you're fairly close to experiencing the emotions I felt when local producer Vereker took a turn behind the decks at Public Works' OddJob Loft on Friday. While many artists in dance music work to provoke positive feelings, his set traveled through the dark side, helping make this one of the more thought-provoking nights at Public Works in recent memory.
Behind the decks, Vereker dipped into his bag, pulled out a 12-inch record, and placed the needle to the groove. "Trust me," said a demonic voice from within the record, "Just...trust me." It wasn't a particularly crowded night, or at least, it wasn't then. The OddJob Loft was the clear winner in terms of bodies on the floor dancing, which was surprising considering the discrepancy between Vereker's bleak vibe and the comparatively inviting warm-up set happening in the main room courtesy of Berlin-based DJ Murat Tepeli.
Upstairs, though, a miniature party was underway, with dark blasts of metal-on-metal noise providing a surreal soundtrack to a scene of people in well-orchestrated designer outfits. A friend saw me and said, "Dude, you missed it -- he was just doing this weird thing where he was like scratching the needle across the record and mixing it with the other record. It was sick!" Vereker picked another record and began pitching up the tempo toward hard house, with distorted 909 kicks and more squawky accoutrements. Reaching speed, he proceeded to bang it out relentlessly in a way that clashed with his relatively early set time. By the time he started playing what sounded like techno, we decided it was time to conserve our energy and seek refuge elsewhere.
Then we were worlds away, downstairs at the bar grabbing Snake Dog IPAs while listening to Tepeli trade-off and tag team with fellow Berliner Prosumer. The atmosphere was mellow, offering a completely different experience than the pandemonium upstairs. A few bearded men limbered up on the club's dancefloor, bobbing their heads to Tepeli's own "Forever." The piano riffs from that track arched out from the speakers and seemed to draw the walls in closer. A purple-hued sheen from lights hanging behind the DJ booth contributed to the sense of intimacy.
Meanwhile, Vereker was long gone. In his place was Huerco S., a relatively new Kansas City-based DJ who produces an abstract and much less abrasive form of music. I missed the transition, but it seemed like it affected the room negatively. The small crowd from before was mostly gathered around the bar, or in bathroom line. His set was sloppier, too, with dusty lo-fi rhythms colliding into sometimes jarringly long trainwrecks. But despite those faults it was still interesting to listen to, since it wasn't so straightforward.
Far later in the night, I found myself once again downstairs, but this time in the center of the dancefloor. Now it was just Prosumer alone, DJing a set of disco-infused house to a thoroughly moving party. The warm-up was over, and his selections spoke to a more explicitly sexual peak-time energy that isn't always explored by DJs at Public Works. The room pulsed to life, with booming congas and tumbling drums given melodic voice by an acapella of Jimmy Bo Horne's "Is It In." Playing with the subject of the song, he pulled the acapella vocals in and out of the mix, occasionally letting it run dry before abruptly cutting the beat back in.
He was an active DJ behind the decks, moving around and occasionally leaning hard on the EQs to accentuate the dramatic effects of his records. At one point, he took the bass out, pulled the volume low, let it ride, and then brought it all back to a peak with a frantic modern remix of the Original's "Down To Love Town." By then the room was in full swing, the mood echoed by hallucinatory patterns projected on the walls that breathed different shades in time with the music. We stayed to dance a while longer, but unfortunately had to call it early. Nevertheless, you have to appreciate a party that explores so many different moods.