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Thursday, December 14

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Review Thu Sep 25 2014

James Murphy Hasn't Lost His Edge (DJ set at Smartbar, 9/18)

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James Murphy has kept himself busy since the end of LCD Soundsystem a few years ago. He runs and curates the much respected DFA Records. He also travels around the world as a DJ who is highly sought after for his encyclopedic knowledge of all things groove and disco.

Smartbar has a DFA Records residency in which periodically artists from the label stop by for a DJ set. Artists such as Holy Ghost!, Shit Robot, The Juan Maclean, Nancy Whang and several others have all blessed Smartbar with a visit and it was kinda inevitable that the DFA el jefe would eventually make an appearance as well. Last Thursday, this happened as James Murphy journeyed from NYC to take over Smartbar.

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I made it to Smartbar around 11:30ish or so. Black Madonna and Rahaan were both taking turns behind the booth, playing soul and disco as the crowd began to grow. What immediate struck me was how wild and gritty the selections were. Isolated vocals of James Brown mixed with primal and minimalist percussion demanded that everyone in the room dance in an unhinged frenzy. This was a trend that continued throughout their tag team set as vocal samples of funk were mixed with intrinsic disco drum patterns. Under the guidance of Black Madonna and Rahaan, Smartbar found itself trying to emulate the spirit of Soul Train line dances and it was kinda awesome.

James Murphy took over the decks around 1 in the morning, with the place seemingly at capacity. Murphy has an almost religious like following and his disciples filled the dance floor to bask in the rhythmic creations of their leader. The things he played were more polished than the opening set. I noticed sequin dresses sparkling like mirrorballs as smooth 808 drum loops and luminous synth patterns filled the air with a drug like haze, evoking the sensation of being at a decadent loft party. I looked around and saw practically everyone in a trance, consumed by the rapturous melody Murphy has made his signature.

I had to be at work in a few hours, so I bailed a little after 2. As I was outside waiting for the taxi I Ubered to show up, a couple emerged from the doors in a tipsy daze singing to no one in particular how you gotta "Dance Yrslf Clean." "Exactly," I thought as I entered the cab.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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