Compression 4-Year Anniversary was DIRTY
Friday at Cinespace I experienced one of the most inspiring nights of dancing since I moved to LA.
The show was Compression‘s 4-Year Anniversary and featured Claude VonStroke, Voodeux, the Martin brothers, Monty Luke, Matt Xavier, Andre Ezer and a whole gang of dancing freaks.
I first went to Cinespace shortly after arriving in Los Angeles and I still didn’t know what was what. Wondering around lost on the streets, I wasn’t sure where the hell I was, much less where the hell the club was. I was searching up and around and trying to see a street sign between the neon lights, gritty buildings and screaming drunk people. And then I looked down, and saw stars at my feet.
It was my first time on the Hollywood Boulevard.
Returning to the same space this past weekend, it seemed like a completely different place. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the fresh faces of the smiling crowd, but the icky veneer of Hollyweird was almost too thin to even smell. I jumped up the stairs and took my place at the front of the dance floor with others of my kind, my kindred spirits.
I can always spot them. We dance together on the front of the floor all night, taking short breaks for the bathroom or the bar, never failing to return right to that delicious stack of speakers. My people are always out at Compression; I can count on this night to deliver booty-bouncing beats and the happy crowd that seems to go along with the BPM.
Two sound stages kept the energy churning and the people moving around and mingling. Cinespace is a not a small club; it has a few bars and an outdoor smoking patio with cushy chairs to complement the two dance floors. The Martin brothers played consecutive sets on the main floor, and I kept sidling over to the second stage to catch Voodeux’s creepier, tech-funk beats that seemed to writhe around the room, pulling people into the ominous whirl and thumping them on the forehead.
Claude VonStroke. I am hereby on his list of eternal-forever fans and will go to hear him play in the future whenever I am fortunate to have the chance. His music grabs you from underneath and throws you into the groove, and there you stay until he is finished with you. How can a sound be so clean and so dirty at the same time? Full of energy just like his tracks, VonStroke is the kind of DJ you just love to see perform, because you know he loves it too.
Respected far and wide as a techno and house master, I swear Claude got a little extra bounce in his smile and a mischievous twinkle in his eye when he laid down the broken-beat track “California.” With vocal samples and glorious deep drums, the tune had the whole dance floor poppin’ and rollin’, thinking we were minors drinking gin and juice in our low riders. Very LLCoolJ-esque.
With basslines that inspire and plenty of snappy mixes and playful productions, this is an artist who is not afraid to be unique (or of Detroit). The whole ethos of his sound is a fun and dirty ride, full of nasty giggles and that tasty VonStroke groove that doesn’t just pull at something very deep inside of you- it grabs it and holds on.
VonStroke’s magical music isn’t a balls to the wall brain-fry freakout, but rather a warm, throbbing vibe that smoothly carries you along as the night unfolds. It is a deep house trip, a minimal tech-funk parade, an elastic electroslut incision. Smart and melodic and the opposite of too-cool-for-school, VonStroke’s sound is like that quirky girl with the weird clothes who you just KNOW has a dark side, waiting to shake her “Big and Round” just as soon as the beat drops.
At 4AM as the lights went up, Claude handed out CDs of his new album Bird Brain (wow a real CD! With a case and label and artwork and everything!), which I was lucky to score and have been rocking ever since. It had been a dazzling five hours and I did not want the night to end.
Which was a damn good thing, because my car had been locked overnight in the lot I had parked in, leaving me to cab my ass back to Silver Lake, luckily just a $20 ride away. I was so filled up and happy from my night of dancing, I didn’t even care.
“What kind of music were you dancing to?” asked the cabbie.
“THE BEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD” was my reply.
Photo by Chris Soltis