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Friday, July 30, 2010



Various Artists "Bamboo Pirate presents Max Essa vs. John Daly"

Technology has done strange things to dance music. It seems anybody these days can DJ (no matter how bad) because new equipment makes it easy. All a person really has to do now is change songs.

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Some DJs are exploring new territory with the technology. And, of course, some just have formidable record collections.

"Bamboo Pirate presents Max Essa vs. John Daly" is an example of the latter. It's a bootleg CD released to help promote the artists here in Japan, and the DJs use their skills behind the decks with records from the last four decades to bring two mixes that are exceptionally danceable and likely to provide an education to even the most hardened vinyl junkies.

On the first CD, Tokyo-based house-music producer Essa, one of the frontrunners of the nu disco and Balearic revival movements that are gaining momentum worldwide, moves through a diverse range of styles that will be familiar to anyone who has seen him perform at parties in the city. Essa starts his mix with house, but we are very soon visiting acid, disco and techno sounds that are seamlessly blended together; he also includes a couple of his re-edits.

Daly, a producer and DJ originally from Ireland, puts together a much more techno-oriented mix. It opens a touch on the harder side of the genre, exemplified by the second track, "Mined," but soon enough the listener is moving through disco, soul and into songs on the trippier side of Balearic. The mixes should not work together, with Daly's sounding harder, but they do. Let's just hope some of Tokyo's bigger venues pay attention to it.

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