John Digweed | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

John Digweed 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

JOHN DIGWEED

Though he's best known as the second half of Sasha & John Digweed, the world's most famous pair of trance DJs, this red-haired Londoner is hardly a second banana--if anything, he's the more talented of the two. This summer the duo played to the suburban trance set with a mix CD called Communicate (Kinetic), but over the past year Digweed has also issued several mixes under his own name and made a cameo as himself in Greg Harrison's ravesploitation flick, Groove. (Though he typically headlines European superclubs for several thousand dollars a gig, Groove has him spinning at a tiny San Francisco warehouse party for free.) "Heaven Scent," Digweed's hard-driving contribution to the movie's sound track, has introduced a lot of dabblers to his sound; the same cut also appears on a 1999 double CD that's probably the best place to dive into his discography, Bedrock (Ultra)--also the name of his recording-and-remixing duo with keyboardist Nick Muir and his monthly night at the London club Heaven. In a departure from form, the first chunk of Bedrock isn't trance but glassy, synthetic-sounding tech-house. The icy, disembodied helium-soul vocal of the opening cut, Raff 'n' Freddy's "Listen," is transparently manipulative and yet genuinely stirring, and C12 sets the scenester-turned-cokehead story of "Judy" to music as brittle as a cocaine high. I don't care for most trance--a lot of it sounds like Yanni with a machine beat--but by setting his listeners up with over half an hour of robotic tech-house, Digweed makes the trance that fills out the bulk of his mix seem especially warm and caressing. Of course, it helps that he's got good taste: ABA Structure's "Illusion" leans on a loopy, bleeping-then-groaning 303 bass line; Jodi & Spesh's "We Are Connected," with its thrilling Pong-gone-berserk noises, reminds me of early-80s classics like Yaz's "Situation"; and Digweed's remix of Heller & Farley's "The Rising Sun" maintains a steady, head-down-into-the-wind crescendo for almost ten minutes, peaking through tireless, hypnotic repetition instead of shoehorning in the usual rosy-dawn keyboard line--in short, it actually puts you in a trance. Saturday, November 25, 9 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212.

MICHAELANGELO MATOS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carlos Amoedo.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
The Great Leap Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre
September 05
Performing Arts
Oslo Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
September 10

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories