Ministry Of Sound - The 2005 Annual Tour - 29.10.2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004It has been over a week since a couple of excited friends and I ventured out to see dance music pioneer, Sasha, play at Metro City. By now, the effects of what was an indulgent night have well and truly passed and I have had ample time to reflect on the Sasha experience.
The night began with Australian DJ John Course, who started his set at 10.30pm in a less than half full venue. Course did not have a choice but to keep it fairly held back but he nicely mixed up some funky house and breaks, a smidgeon of progressive and even a bit of deep house. Not much was happening on the dance floor, it seemed at this point in the night it was all about conserving energy for what lay ahead.
Next up was Luke Chable and I have to say, I was pretty excited to see him play. He does not visit Perth very often and for a while I have been waiting to hear what all the fuss is about. When the first track he played appeared to be a tribal remix of Infusion's probable third single - 'The Careless Kind' - I was immediately won over. Metro City was rapidly filling up and Luke moved on to play some electro breaks and a bit of hip hop. Half way through his two hour set he delved into the dark progressive breaks, which every so often were broken up with a funky track or something well known like The Prodigy's 'Posion'. It was a brilliant set, one of the best I have heard recently.
Next I had to choose between Kriece and Micky Finn; I decided it had to be one of the most highly regarded DJs in jungle, so I ventured across town to the Monkey Bar to catch part of Mickey Finn's set. As with any drum & bass crowd in Perth, it was completely packed, everyone was dancing and there was plenty of energy. No strange outfits or shirts off here - it was all about the music.
As it got closer to 1am, I raced back to Metro City to see Sasha commence his set. When he made his entrance, the respect handed to him from the crowd was unlike any I have seen before for a DJ. It was obvious that it did not matter what he was going to play, this was Sasha and he deserved respect!
How can I describe the four hour journey that transpired between 2 and 6am- Well I can not tell you what tracks he played but I guess the sound overall could be described as ethereal. It did not change or progress much. Occasionally I heard a few breakbeats and there were moments when the music became uplifting, but overall it was the same throughout in an abstract, dreamy sort of way.
After talking to people, it seemed they either loved his set or they were unimpressed. At first I put this down to the most obvious fact, which is you either like progressive or you do not, particularly in Perth when it is predominantly breaks, drum & bass or vocal house that is played. I later realised, though, that is not the reason why some did not like it. I think it has got more to do with the mixing style rather than the genre. It is about how you prefer to listen to a DJ mix.
Sasha was predominantly using CDJs and Abelton Live, which really made the mixing different. Abelton Live allows you to stretch time live so everything is automatically in sync. Combine that with progressive tracks, which are mixed slower and are layered on top of one another and it almost makes you unaware of what is transpiring in terms of mixing live. I think for some people, the abstract, dreamy effect this produced made it less energetic and structured.
I really enjoyed it. Not because that is how I like a DJ to play but because it is entirely unique. I still play old Sasha cassettes in my car and continue to be amazed at the simplicity yet effectiveness of his mixing in the early days. What is so great now is that fifteen years on he still manages to be innovative; though isn't that what we have come to expect from Sasha-