Mint Julep and the Masters

French pop, hip-hop, and Ryan Durkin
By DAVID DAY  |  July 10, 2007

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Christopher Muther

The Masters, "Wednesday Night Live featuring Talib Kewli" (mp3)

Ryan Durkin, "A Toast to King Tipsy" (mp3)

DJ nights aren’t all for wylin’ out, sweaty dance floors, and scandal. A DJ can also act as host, VJ, and scene setter, as is the case with CHRISTOPHER MUTHER and his monthly showcase of French pop, buxom babes, and sweet sound at Mint Julep Monday, the first Monday of the month at Middlesex Lounge. When I catch him, he’s swiftly mixing from CD to iPod and back, both swinging British hits and French yé-yé pop. “I don’t pretend to be a good DJ,” he quips, dressed to impress in a thin white tie (well-tied, to be sure) and fresh new Pumas. Muther spends his days as a writer for the Boston Globe’s Style section, so no surprise that his look is so chic. He interrupts our chat to change the DVD from a Brigitte Bardot compilation to another timeless style icon — Raquel Welch. The filmed frenzy at a Welch press conference makes me long for a Hilton-less world of celebrity fervor, and the space-age swimsuits are hard to ignore.

Around the club itself, a well-kempt crowd murmurs and mulls to the never-trendy sounds of a “Paperback Writer” cover and some new music (Amy Winehouse) for good measure. Muther takes a casual approach to this affair — “I don’t really promote the night too strongly,” he says, but he does hand me a mix CD, A Hint of Mint Vol. 4, that’s a cocktail party’s wet dream, setting artists like Nilsson and Dusty Springfield side by side and including special gems like Claudine Longet’s “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and Up All Day Top Five favorite Françoise Hardy and her glorious “Comment te dire adieu?” At a slim 30 minutes and burned onto a hand-lettered CD-R, the CD is very much promotional in nature. Muther says you can hit him up on MySpace for a copy (myspace.com/christophermuther). Before heading out, I comment on the scandalous nature of the night’s visuals, as Welch continues to gyrate on the large projection screen. “It’s usually pretty scandalous,” he says with a knowing smile. “At least for a Monday night in Cambridge.” And with the strains of a Spanish version of “It’s Not Unusual” in the air, I head out into the night . . .

Promotional mix CDs are a staple of the hip-hop scene, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Ace in the Hole Vol. 2 from the MASTERS, a/k/a DJ JAYCEEOH and DJ ON&ON. The two hold it down regularly at Underground Hip-Hop, or UGHH.com, the internationally known site based right here in Basstown. And they’re blowing up, with Jayceeoh just coming back from shows in Los Angeles and Vegas, where he sent me an advance link to download the mix CD. It’s a pretty wild ride. There’s nothing surprising about the format, which is filled with mix-CD skits and drops, but the track selection gets pretty wild and is more blended than a frozen margarita. Get ready to drink up the sound of Eddie Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” riff on top of Ghostface Killah, or electro group Strafe and Justin Timberlake. The well-informed DJ duo also drop old-school loops from the Bee Gees (with Foxy Brown!) and Bill Withers’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Jayceeoh spins this Friday at the Revolution Bar in Faneuil Hall and at the Boston Hip-Hop Fest Saturday night at the Middle East downstairs with On&On.

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