Sunday, January 25, 2004

Currently listening to: Subliminal Souls, Corey Parker

Corey Parker is one of the best musical surprises I've had lately. I knew that Maceo Parker lives here in North Carolina, but I had no idea that his son has his own R&B/hip hop trio over in Durham. His CD, "Subliminal Souls," is smooth and jazzy, yet 100 percent funky. Corey plays keyboards, but his real strength is his deep, soulful voice and easy lyrical flow. His drummer brother, Damon, offers further proof that the whole Parker family is steeped in musical talent. When I saw him play in December at The Pour House, his band featured a jaw-droppingly great bass player who, unfortunately, isn't credited on the Web site or the CD liner notes. Imagine Flea's funkiness crossed with Geddy Lee's precision, and cover it in soul, and you get a close approximation. Even bass-snob Mr. X was blown away.

On Friday I went to my first drum 'n' bass party at The Office here in Raleigh. A guy I know has his own company, NC Fathom , and he puts on these shows about once a month. This guy is, in a lot of ways, like a kid brother: half the time we laugh and joke around, and the other half I want to strangle him, which just fills him with glee. Imagine my surprise when I get to the club and find out that, rather than shivering in line with at least 100 other losers, I can just mention this guy's name and be escorted right on past the velvet rope. I had to admire the skill with which he used his cachet to get drunk sexy girls throughout the party to pose for pictures. I guess now I'll have to treat him with a little more respect.

The place was packed, so there wasn't much room to dance (and, truthfully, I've never figured out exactly how to dance to dnb anyway). Out in the "tent" area, another DJ spun house music, while a couple of local breakdance teams engaged in an impromptu contest -- that is, before one of the aforementioned drunk sexy girls, apparently not making the connection as to what was going on, bumped and grinded her way out onto the floor and nearly got kicked in the head by some kid doing a headspin.

Dieselboy was the headliner along with MC J-Messinian, whose incessant yelling got the crowd, and eventually my nerves, worked up. My knowledge of drum 'n' bass is severely limited, shaped mostly by what I hear on BBC's 1Xtra , but even I could tell that Dieselboy's set wasn't as varied or smoothly executed as that of the guy before him, a local DJ named Jade. From what I understand, Jade has a show on WKNC and promotes his own events, but I wasn't able to confirm that before writing this. He even threw in a little garage, a sort of techno-dancehall hybrid that, until then, I hadn't really been able to conceptualize. Whereas Dieselboy's set was heavy and pounding, Jade seemed to flow through a variety of tempos, instrumentation and beats from heavy to trancelike. Basically, he managed to make my inexperienced ears hear the distinct differences in songs and styles throughout the set. Dieselboy only really caught my ear when he played the break from Slayer's "Angel of Death," which, if he wanted to throw in a little Slayer, wasn't the most original tune he could have used.

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