In the house

Victor Calderone at RISE
By MICHAEL FREEDBURG  |  September 5, 2006
For a top-reputation house-music DJ like Victor Calderone, the RISE club is just too small. The third-floor dance space in which Calderone played his stuff was packed to the walls, with long lines outside waiting to get in, some until well after 4 am, though Calderone began his segue at three. Still, for those lucky enough to gain admittance, it was a night not to be forgotten, one in which Calderone delivered more than three hours of power-punch rhythms and body-whacking beats that kept everyone dancing: the body-builder guys who always come to RISE and Calderone’s own, largely Hispanic fan base. His sound was an irresistible blend of lush electronica, sonorous rhythms driven wild by bass-distorted, frog-like vocals, all of it unique to house and symbolizing its radical funkiness to those who love it. Once begun, it was merciless, a rhythm symphony filled with refresh-the-page quick cuts, you-can’t-stop overlay mixes, and electronic bridges, from one rhythm to another, which sounded like fireworks or a cloudburst. The dancers raised their hands; many cheered.
The room was hot and foggy; everyone was sweating, just as it used to be in the disco days. Calderone’s set made it sweatier. His first set was lush but tough; Calderone used his mix board to twist, restate, and repeat minimalist, European-style beat tracks. Mostly he stated his beats deep and big; but now and then he faded out the bass register, substituting a tinny, hi-hat drum beat in its place – the crowd loved the switch in pressure from punch to pinch. At 4:30 am, Calderone changed the basics from lush to acid – the cool, non-melodic form of house favored by some – as he added a somewhat comedic flavor to his rhythm drama. Then, at about 5:15 he switched again. As a filtered, almost robotic vocal said “Let me set you free!” Calderone cut the music from acid back to lush, but a much tougher lush than before, a rhythm as sinuous as it was massive and driven almost off the rails by a variety of electronic sound effect drop-ins and croaky vocals. Just as impressive was his track selection. As much house-music as I have heard and know, I still did not recognize but one of the many tracks that Calderone used. To be truly awesome to his fans, a DJ depends on finding records no other DJ has but which all would want; by that standard – as well as by the intensity of his sound and the daring of his mixes – Calderone succeeded. The music was still pumping as 6 am approached. Awesome indeed.
  Topics: Live Reviews , DJ Victor Calderone, DJ Victor Calderone, DJ Victor Calderone
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