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^ Florence, Italy’s Stefano Noferini painting funk scapes at RISE

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Techno is the most imagistic of musical genres. In sound , techno DJs create pictures in the mind, weaving sounds abstractly in which, as in a Rohrschach test, the dancer sees what he or she imagines inside the mind, heart, body. At RISE Club on Saturday night, Stefano Noferini, one of the most forceful techno masters, playing to a dance floor fuller than full, created an entire dance music movie of images and action, a movie with a plot, even.

Whatever tracks Noferini employed for his set — and he has plenty — found themselves graphically re-shaped in the mix. Noferini hardly ever left the music alone to work its way; almost always he attacked the mix-box with both hands : knobs, buttons, sliders changing position constantly and all at once. Yet despite the aggressive edits Noferini;’s set maintained a signature sound : dark, paunchy, funky in tempo, banging in stride.

Onto his funky stride Noferini dropped samples of vocal;s, some of them explicit, some shielded, a kind of running commentary : “natty shook,” “movie star,” the ubiquitous “beats knockin'” and many more. It was fun commentary that put a light smile on otherwise ominous, sometimes scarifying, sound abstractions. And though the style of beat stride to fizz-fuzz pause and back to beat stride progressions that he played are standard issue in techno DJing, Noferini’s sounds always displayed flavors other DJs seem not to grasp. His dark boom beats had a sweet flavor, and his fizz to fuzz pauses mirrored the angst and puzzlement found in classical piano sonatas.

It was the funk of many feelings,l many perspectives, funk of power and funk of laughter, funk of fear and funk of sports victory in which one heard the cheering of crowds, saw clouds and storms overheads,endured city traffic,and savored a gloom as entertaining as ominous. One didn’t want it to end, and it did not end until after 6 A M.

RISE Club closes for good at the end of April. Noferini’s three hour set was one of RISE;’s last great evenings of DJ genius.

—- Deedee Freedberg / Feelin’ the Music

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