Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Why vote for America’s Best DJ?

There are many elements that can affect your night out in a club. The atmosphere and décor of the venue, your companions and your relationship with them, your fellow clubbers in general and the intoxicants you have or haven’t imbibed can all play a role. However, the music and how it is supplied by a DJ can be crucial to your enjoyment of the night. It may even be the prime reasons for you to frequent a certain club, lounge or even bar that prefers a living record selector to a computer. At their best, the DJ can lift your night from bad to good, with his or her choice of tunes, ability to read their audience and mixing or segueing skills. This sort of DJ skill has been immortalised in records like Indeep’s Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. At worst, a DJ can wreck your night with their weak selection of tunes, atmosphere ruining ability and poor technical ability. This is the DJ experience more akin to the spinner on the receiving end of the MC's venom on Dimples D’s Sucker DJ's.

The DJ can play a critical role in an evening’s proceedings and therefore the cream of the DJing crop should be celebrated for their ability to tantalise listeners. You can vote for your favourite American spinner in this competition, which also gives you the opportunity to win a trip to Vegas for the finale. Here you will witness ’America’s Best DJ 2010’ in action. In an age, where, DJs are often booked for their production ability, it’s best to remember which ones have rocked your world on the dancefloor and via a mix compilation. This isn’t the time to celebrate the guy or girl who made that amazing record that you just can’t stop playing, save that for America’s Best Producer.

Instead of giving voters free reign, America’s Best DJ have whittled a potentially endless list down to a cool 100. The list contains a number of old timers and newer spinners, representing an array of genres, styles and types of DJ. Whilst there may be certain names you personally believe deserve praise that have been missed out, it’s impossible for a Top 100 to include every DJ of merit and it was never going to include the selector from your local smalltown spot. Many of the 100 are major players, but there’s a refreshing number of underground names alongside more commercially orientated spinners.

This is about your favourite DJ, the one who made that night or even those nights out so special. It is about the spinner you were eulogising about to those who weren’t there for days after the event. You were also looking for their mixes on the web for weeks and trying to find out what the last tune they played was for months.

You can cast your vote here from now until October 2nd…

I will leave you with a few of my favourites from the list and why…

Carl Craig - Detroit
A master of technoid grooves as both a producer and behind the decks, Craig is a modern Detroit legend. My favourite performance from CC was at the springsix festival in Graz, where he bewitched audiences with an emotive assault on the senses.

Felix Da Housecat – Atlanta via Chicago
Felix has been a master of his electroid housey techno hybrid for years. His sets are always fun, even if the vibe is often similar throughout. His Essential Mix for BBC Radio One is a joy and he also performed memorably when I witnessed him spin at springsix in 2006.

François K - NYC
A drummer turned production ace and record spinner, Francois has been a DJing heavyweight for years. Alongside Danny Krivit and Joe Claussell, he brought the world Body & Soul and flying solo is famed for his long sets. I caught him at his Deep Space residency at Cielo in NY earlier this year, where he wooed the crowd with everything from James Mason’s Sweet Power Your Embrace to Adam F’s Circles.

Jeff Mills
- Detroit
A technical hotshot, Mills still lives up to his old moinker of ‘the wizard’. His energetic sets have you gasping from breath and the commercially available Exhibitionist mix gives you some sort of an idea of what Mills can do. I caught him at the Tribal Gathering Warehouse Party in 2003, where his set enthralled me from start to finish.

Louie Vega - NYC
Louie is a true house master, spinning a range of Latin, soul-kissed and other gems. As a producer, his MAW and Nu Yorican Soul projects alongside Kenny Dope have often come up with the goods, and he is most active today with his Vega label. However, it is best to catch Vega behind the decks and I remember a great set at Bed in Sheffield in 2002, where he played MAW’s Work three times and Julie McKnight’s Home sounded beautiful.

Theo Parrish - Detroit
Theo is a highly skilled DJ, a fact that can be witnessed by sampling one of his many DJ mixes that are available on the web. His edit series and output on record labels like his own Sound Signature imprint have cemented Parrish’s reputation as a music guy who is unafraid to follow his own path. I have seen him spin a number of times over the years, most memorably at the Electric Chair in Manchester and a spin off Electric Souls event where he finished with Danny Krivit’s edit of Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved?

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