Handcancel and the 48 Beats of Power; more Miami
By DAVID DAY  |  March 20, 2007

In the vast land of Dorchester, studios and beatmakers lurk around every corner. And this Sunday at ZuZu’s in Cambridge, one of their own celebrates a new release by . . . DJing with cassette tapes. “I have records like everybody else, but I have a lot of tapes — I can’t lie — so I just figured it would make sense to DJ with tapes,” says local producer HANDCANCEL (a/k/a Chris Nesti) over the phone from Dorchester. “I got these two Optimus tape decks and just plug them into the lines in the mixer. I have some gadgets I might throw into the bag as well.” Nesti is celebrating the release of his CD 48 Beats of Power, a showcase for his beatmaking abilities. “It’s 48 snippets of skeleton ideas, and I’m going to be getting them out there to pepper the world while I get another compilation ready for the summer. If an artist is interested in working with me, I’ll work something out. It’s basically shopping . . . shopping beats.”

Nesti started making beats in 2000, and he’s worked with numerous local acts already — Spanish reggae artist GOLDEN BROWN, Methuen/Lawrence act MAX “DREAD” MINAYA, local legend DJ LADY LEE. “Beatmaking and songwriting is my main thing. I have a studio suite here, and I do a lot of recording of artists here. We call it the Dot Matrix unit, sort of as a joke — there’s a lot of people around in Dorchester who’ve got the creative bug.” He’s DJ’d parties with cassettes before. “The blends aren’t as smooth, but it will be seamless if not beatmatched. I might put one song through effects, echo it out and go into the next song, do some fast-forwards too.”

He cherishes the round sound of cassettes, something that, in a digital age, is rare. “I sample a lot from cassettes when I’m recording. There is something about it, it has something softer, more of a relaxing Sunday-night sound. I picture MP3s bashing against eardrums with brute force.” Nesti doesn’t claim to be an actual musician: with sequencers and compressors and synthesizers jammed into his studio, his whole operation is off-the-cuff and built on messy creativity. “It’s natural collage art with sound, learning how to use a drum machine and manipulating it. It was a sort of back-end way to have a way to arrange a song.” He plans more and more productions in the months ahead, but this Sunday he DJs off tapes at “WKND WRYRZ,” a new night of beat building at ZuZu’s hosted by KAVALIER, CLAUDE MONEY, and PROFESSOR Z.

The Miami exodus continues to the Winter Music Conference in Florida, where the nation’s dance lovers gather annually. House maven DJ JUSTICE spins Sunday afternoon at the Victor Hotel alongside superstars JoJo Flores and Glenn Underground at the “Tag! You’re It” party. The local REVERSIBLE label is again putting on a hot night down there this Friday at the underground spot Cafeteria. Local DJ MIKE SWELLS tipped Circuits to the event, which also features Boston DJs CHRIS REAVEY and FERNANDO BIAROS, as well as Basstown prog-house heroes ELI WILKIE and STEVE PORTER as AGENT 001. Boston DJ ENDO is staying busy with no less than seven parties in Miami; they include the massive Future Sounds of Breaks party on Friday headlined by Florida’s own breaks god DJ Icey. For most of the dates, Endo’s teaming up with CHRIS PATTISON, who runs the BLESSED BREAKS party in Burlington.

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