good morning ~
(click the link / twin air dancers to listen)
today's track is basically a live excerpt from the NYEE drone ritual
just announced: I'll be doing some kind of beautiful set of music at the DJ Stepdad EP release show at Baby's All Right later this month. Haven't played a proper gig in NYC in a very long time and this is a particularly good one :)
I'm also playing as my duo with Maeve Schallert in Palenville next Friday but I'll send the info about that next time ;)
A party is a wish. A party is an invocation of chaos. A party is a vivid exchange. A party is a spell of gathering. A party is inherently disappointing. A party is an offering but crucially a party is also a taking of. A party is always threatening to begin and ending before you know it. A party is a satisfaction. A party is a dare. A party begins with limitless possibilities, an embarrassment of possible, what's feasible and yearned for stretching out as far as can be beheld. And as the party limps into the night your possibilities are whittled away. By the end of the night there is only the one possibility you're left with, plus the soreness in your knees and heels. And as you lay down to sleep, are you happy with what you have? Or do you wish something else possible had happened instead?
Once there was a space on a riverfront corner in a big city you've heard of. It was unheated and untreated, corrugated metal walls and the most brutal winter rehearsals you could ever imagine. But my friends worked on their music there, they made it work somehow, and I wound up there often. There were gigs and there were holiday hangs - a great place to watch fireworks - and once a year the night before New Year's Eve this constellation of people would throw an absolutely disgusting party. 2018 was really good - people's home stereos cobbled together into any speaker that would take an input, a light-reflective plastic laid out under our feet for a dance floor, a DIY laser light show made with a projector up on a high shelf. Total exuberance wrung from the fruit of plucky ingenuity. By the next year, the party's reputation seemed to have grown tremendously - legitimate out-of-town DJs wanted to play and a cover was suggested to all party goers. It felt like a place everyone wanted to be.
Of course the New Year's Eve Eve party went on hiatus for a while. It almost came back in 2021 - we were all but ready to do it for real at the old Greenpoint location of IRL Gallery, but when the infection numbers spiked so aggressively that year it felt like we had no choice but to postpone it.
Having enjoyed dancing there more often than anywhere else in 2022 I had the idea that we might be able to do New Year's Eve Eve at the Avalon Lounge - I had moved upstate along with two of the original party throwers and since that night is usually dead otherwise it seemed like a good idea. And we had a great night, even though that period of time is really dominated in my memory by the extreme bullshit we were going through trying to get our living situation sorted out. That we were able to dance with any of the abandon of the old metal wall days felt like a real victory.
This year for various reasons the throwing of the party fell pretty squarely into my lap - people's travel plans were uncertain and I was the closest to the venue, both literally and figuratively as someone who works there occasionally. A bit of a funny situation, though, because it's not my party per se - I've just been an enthusiastic and vocal fan for many years now. And in many ways I have become something of a professional party thrower - my employment has me renting fog machines and applying for liquor licenses often. I will admit that the thought occurred to me that maybe it would be better for my mental health were I to not organize even more events in my spare time from my job. But gigs and parties are always what I've done for fun and as soon as I started designing the flyer I left all doubts behind.
I wanted to begin the night with something other than DJing - I enjoy opening for bands quite a bit but having to select tracks first is often kind of a bummer. Parties need time to simmer, time to bloom - people need a chance to relax and knock a couple of rounds back before they can really start dancing. So I had this idea of beginning with a "cleansing drone ritual" which is not typically the type of language I like to describe my live music performance with. But I wanted to let everyone know that we were taking the party seriously, that we were considering their inner lives and their outer bodies, and I was very happy with our timing: as soon as I hit stop on the boombox Matt dropped the needle on his first LP which came booming out of the speakers, then when I turned on the wacky wigglers everyone cheered.
We had two air dancers in attendance - Liam made the joke that we have to add an air dancer every time we throw this party so that eventually it'll be only used car salesman windsocks on the dance floor.
What followed was a really good party - everyone's DJ sets were buoyant, goofy, lots of singing along with arms outstretched from the booth. The live acts were phenomenal and I was so relieved to see people dancing their goddamn asses off, sweating through their glittery eyeshadow. Evan played one of my favorite tracks of all time and Max and I breathlessly texted each other when we instantly recognized it. And Max played one of the best remixes I have ever heard in my life, I've listened to it a handful of times everyday since then. And I got to do my aggressively uncool but passionately emotive little DJ set to the 15 most hardcore party attendees. When we got home at three in the morning I flung off my pants and tore directly into the other half my lunch's Italian sub. My body ached in rhythm - phantom kick drum - and we were all laughing in my kitchen.
A party is a faint hope. A party is a throbbing. A party is always in spite of something, spit in its face and twirl.
But what about you? Do you yearn for the parties of the past? What conditions are necessary in order for you to dance ecstatically? Been to any good parties lately?