Julius Papp made a rare performing visit to Boston last night, dropping a two-hour set at machine that mixed the funkiest and most exotic disco with the bluesiest house music. There is mhch to link the two genres despite their strong dissimilarity of octave and instrumentation; Papp’ mixes emphasized the similatrities without comptomisng the differences.
Using Machine’s three Pioneer CD players and two mix-boards, Papp dropped a sound soft and sultry on bottom and wild with laughter upo top. Think Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn the Beat Around atop Gorge or Rocco beat bottoms, both of which Papp used, plus several other disco cliches (.the famous Philly Sound’s horn blast bridge, Teddy Pendergrass preaching “You can’t hide From Yourself,” slithery guitar licks, swooning soft bass lines) that did not sound cliche at all in Papp’s house music beat context.
Much of that context reminded me that in Papp’s home city of Montreal, exotic music mixed with disco voices and house music big beats has been a popular sound for many, many years. It’s a sound that blends FM radio programming with underground club cues. Papp has lived in the San francisco area for the last 20 years or more, but it’s from Montreal, starting in the late 1970s, that, as Papp’s biography says, he learned to enjoy and, pretty soon thereafter to DJ. All that was missing for his Machine set was a Montreal audience. Fewer than two dozen fans took advantage.
Papp brought a full bag of CD’s and took care picking out which ones he would play. Much time was spent rummaging thriough his CD book rather than mixing; biut when he did mix, every move hit its mark : quick cutsk, blends, overlays, sequences done with full conviction. Chants, screams, joyful processes; deep boot stomp house music; sampled emanations; big band florishes somehow all fit together like soup and spoon. Included in his selections were, of course, several of his current Gedatport top ten downlaods — “Afrique” especially, so underground Montreal — and with a 20-yrear career of remies and tracks to his credit, he definitely had plenty to choose from.
It was a et more imaginative than many i have seen this year and seamlessly done. Every Dj in Boston could have learned much from watching and listening. Wht a shame that the dance floor was so unpo;pulated.
—- Deedee Freedberg / feelin’ the Music