Matthew Dear and Ellen Allien spun at Cielo on Tuesday night, though not in that order, or together, as the picture above suggests. After seeing Ellen at dancing-deficient NYC venues like the Knitting Factory and Apt., it was at least a great idea for her to spin at a New York spot with a real, live dance floor and a real great sound system.
Ellen's a triple threat -- a producer, a businesswoman (she runs Berlin's BPitch Control) and a DJ -- in that order. Her electrohouse set alternately veered to either side of that compound genre, to the point where inconsistency became her aesthetic. Every time she'd seduce me with some shrapnel-spitting electro beat or galloping bass line that sliced the place in half like a propeller on an Italian airplane, she'd inevitably bleed into something a lot less spirited. Wrong. The dancefloor is a no-zoning-out zone. I felt space . . . in my head.
Her set was plagued with bumps and skips and, as a result, she almost trainwrecked once. That was sort of fascinating in a (duh) Being Bobby Brown kinda way. The technical errors (thanks to a faulty needle, maybe?) took their toll on the crowd's interest. At one point, she dropped a house track so dissociated and woozy, so lacking in anything worth dancing to (including a tangible kick drum), that it felt like some sort of unwarranted punishment.
As far as the individual tracks went . . . uh, she played some shit I heard on a mix once, I think?
Also? She does not look at the crowd. EVER.
This is as close as I was able to capture:
I'm not trying to hate on Ellen -- her set was not a bad time, per se, and my disappointment obviously only arises from expectation. That said, her ability to bore me with every other track led me to playing with bf's camera and discovering its ability to take colorful shots in low light (note that unlike the usual images I post, you can click on these for bigger versions -- it just felt right to do it this way).
In addition to its drool-worthy sound, Cielo's wonderfully set up -- it's essentially a giant room with some seating along the perimeter and a huge, sunken dancefloor that takes up most of the space. A giant disco ball hangs overhead. I really liked the disco ball.
I mean, loved the disco ball.
I loved it so much, I followed it today. Well, maybe not, but I did take video of it going wild during a track in Ellen's set that made me go wild. We were at one, me and the ball. Take a look:
Meanwhile, back in the DJ booth, Ann Arbor's finest was preparing his Allien take-over.
She's like, "Psst. Did you know that you're the hottest man in minimal house?"
Then he was like, "I know."
Motherfucker is beautiful and so was his set. He seemed to have a better feel for the sound system then Ellen -- everything bumped harder, as he struck this phenomenal balance between vicious and pleasant. Matt stuck to 4/4 house, minimal enough to make me feel the good kinda space and caustic enough to taint that space with paranoia. By the time he went on, the dancefloor was clearing off -- it seemed like he was playing four times the quality to half the crowd. He brought out some big-gun track, massive stomping funk, and the place was packed again.
He set it on fire.