24.6.09

Review: Satoshi Tomiie in New York

Click here to see my review on residentadvisor.net


On the night of Satoshi Tomiie's return to New York City, Sullivan Room pulsed with simple red and blue LEDs. Past the lamplit checkpoint table was a dark den, a former meat freezer, thick with incense and underground music. Mixer Assassin opened with deep vocal house, an indirect homage to Satoshi's early career remixing the likes of Ultra Naté, leaving Taisun to lead the room towards the dark progressive sound characteristic of Tomiie's SAW imprint.

By midnight a distinct tick tock had taken over the club, as proud New Yorkers, wide-eyed travellers and partygoers who refused to wait in line elsewhere spilled onto the dance floor. Invariably the guy wearing flashing glasses became the life of his section of the party, handing the accessory to different girls to try on. All of the sudden the room was hot, and lasers kicked in. The bartenders, like everyone else, danced and posed for photos. And, of course, there was somebody who asked, "Does this get any louder?"

During the AM hours in a dark basement club, the ability to suspend time is invaluable. Satoshi Tomiie is a DJ who can make you forget the individuality of tracks and mixes. There were few peaks and valleys; the set was fluid. According to Satoshi, that is his aesthetic: "I try to make the night into a journey...one long track." The textural overlap of fragmented house vocals, alternately sinuous and punctuated bass, and throaty monologues were streamlined to the point that one ceased to speculate about unreleased material or technique. The middle of the room became a rippling blue sheen of skin, while multicolored balloons hugged the ceiling.

Immersed in the world of in-ear monitoring, Satoshi casually danced and sipped Heineken in the glow of Serato and Pioneer. After 4 AM he added Claude Debussy's "Claire de Lune" to the mix, hinting at his ten years of classical piano training. He let the piece play to its own climax and then gave the appreciative crowd a percussive workout. Watching Satoshi shake hands over the booth partition, someone commented, "Dude, he's a legend."