courtesy of The Magician.
On Wednesday night Belgian DJ, Stephen Fasano a/k/a The Magician made a southern swing on his “Magical Winter Tour in America” to spin at U Street Music Hall. What could have been a sleepy, mid-week party on a freezing cold night was instead the hottest place in town as body temperatures warmed the packed dance-floor and Fasano’s DJ sorcery gave the audience a preview of the aural tricks he has in store for the world now that he has gone solo.
Leading up to this show, Stephen Fasano was being billed as “(formerly of Aeroplane)”; I suppose in an attempt to draw in fans of Fasano’s former project. Fasano left the group and his DJ partner of seven years late last year to pursue his solo work. While Aeroplane continues under the command of his former partner, Vito DeLuca, I felt that billing Fasano in this way was also sort of hand-cuffing him to his former group. Perhaps to distance himself from Aeroplane after his departure, Fasano has crafted a musical persona for himself called The Magician. It is an identity born out of the Belgian’s rich sense of humor; complete with a costume, a gimmick, and custom dance mixes that proved to be truly magical. I think everyone in attendance at Wednesday night’s set at U-Hall would agree that Fasano can drop the “(formerly of Aeroplane)” from his marketing scheme. The Magician is a new, unique presence on the international DJ scene that will soon be a big draw in his own right.
courtesy of Stephen Fasano.
Last year, Stephen Fasano shocked the world of electronic music with the announcement that he was leaving his Belgian DJ duo Aeroplane to start a solo project. This was particularly surprising because Aeroplane had just completed a successful U.S. tour in support of their latest album “We Can’t Fly”. One of the stops on Aeroplane’s 2010 tour was to serve as the opening night performance at DC’s new underground dance mecca, U Street Music Hall. Now ten months after U Street Music Hall opened and six months after leaving Aeroplane, Stephen Fasano is returning to the club to introduce his solo music persona, The Magician! Stephen took some time to answer some of my questions about his career, his decision to leave Aeroplane, and his taste in music.
all photos by author, except where noted.
Earlier this week DC got a visit from two legendary electronica DJ/producers two nights in a row. On Monday night, perpetual innovator and second-wave Detroit techno demi-god Richie Hawtin set-up shop at U Street Music Hall. On Tuesday night, the world’s most well-known DJ and trance techno titan Paul Oakenfold took over the 9:30 Club. The two concerts delivered epic dance parties and for anyone with a day job sandwiched in-between they offered a sleep-deprived, bass-driven euphoria that was reminiscent of the raves of yore.
The two concerts were fantastic and delivered on everything that they promised; which proved to be two very different things. Oakenfold and Hawtin have each been a major force in the world of electronic music for the past twenty years. The two occupy opposite ends of a huge swath of the electronic dance music spectrum. Oakenfold’s trance is about as mainstream as it gets; he has a huge following around the world and he has produced some of the most recognizable dance tunes of film, television, and radio. Richie Hawtin is a king of the underground, his often challenging music is designed to intellectually engage the listener as much as it is to get their feet moving. Oakenfold’s style is more pop consumable, while Hawtin, although ragingly popular in his own circles, is more of an acquired taste. Their concerts this week were relentless dance parties but also offered a fascinating live example of two very different styles of dance music and its presentation.
courtesy of MSO.
U Street Music Hall is the place to be tonight as Richie Hawtin takes on their epic soundsystem with one of his innovative and awe-inspiring live DJ sets.
To call Richie Hawtin a legend of underground electronic music would be an understatement. He has been pushing the limits of dance music and the technology used to make it for two decades. Under his Plastikman guise, Hawtin pretty much defined minimal techno as a genre. Although Hawtin is Canadian, it was in Detroit where he made his mark as one of the prime movers in the Detroit Techno renaissance of the 1990’s. A godfather of the Detroit second wave, a progenitor of minimal techno, a technological innovator, and a legendary party DJ Richie Hawtin is the embodiment of the cutting edge dance scene.
What Hawtin has in store for DC tonight is anyone’s guess. The one sure thing is that whatever science he drops on us will be unlike anything most of us have heard before. Hawtin is going to do some damage with U Street’s incredible sound system. I expect nothing less than a jaw-dropping, head-spinning set when Richie Hawtin takes to the decks.
@ U Street Music Hall
TONIGHT – $35
Doors at 8pm
Photo courtesy of Motormouthmedia.
I love U Street Music Hall.
I love Simian Mobile Disco.
The two combined for one of the most fun nights of electronic dance music that I have had in Washington DC since the heydey of 90’s techno at Trax or Capital Ballroom/Nation. It was so much fun, I can hardly believe that it took place in our city. No offense DC, but on the pure electronic party front you’ve been lacking for years.* Simian Mobile Disco’s ‘Delicatessen’ party at U Street Music Hall rivaled some of the best European dance parties and Sahara Tent raves I have experienced. I imagine that bringing real ‘experience’ dance parties like this one to DC is exactly why Jesse Tittsworth and Will Eastman built their electronic music mecca in the first place.
Simian Mobile Disco.
You may know the UK remix duo known as Simian Mobile Disco from their reworkings of Muse, Air, and The Klaxons but tonight at U Street Music Hall get ready to see another side of them. Simian Mobile Disco have spent the last year crafting a series of original minimal techno tracks and releasing them as 12’s on their own label. The whole project is called “Delicacies”; as each track is named after an exotic delicacy discovered by the two during their world travels.
All year Simian Mobile Disco have been showing off their great new sound and their live mixing talents by hosting ‘Delicatessen’ parties in the UK. Now they are collecting their singles onto an album and bringing their ‘Delicatessen’ parties to the US. Their limited run of US events kicks off tonight at U Street Music Hall. I can not wait to hear Simian Mobile Disco’s spare electronic beats and mellow techno melodies working out U Hall’s custom built sound system. This is one of the best acts the U Hall has booked yet!
Sample one of SMD’s ‘Delicacies’!
Simian Mobile Disco
@ U Street Music Hall
TONIGHT – $15
Doors at 10pm