An ambling mass of half-naked bodies adorned the vast confines of the scenic lawn area just behind South Beach’s posh Surfcomber Hotel. The pool area glistened in resplendent crystalline hues of deep blue, mirroring the clear skies and glistening sun that beamed overhead. The afternoon could not have been any more ideal for a dazzling showcase of premier talents in the realm of techno, going back-to-back, synchronizing a mélange of beats in what proved to be some rather unique pairings. The pool brimmed, swaying relentlessly as bikinied women, largely accompanied by their significant others shuffled in and out of the water, while still others occupied the pool side and the make shift dance floor in a sandy nook on either side of the massively-scaled LED backing screen, which projected the images of the DJs in control of the decks.
The crowd, distinctively European in origin, danced with relish, toting their beverages and a rather cumbersome concoction that nonetheless proved to be a valuable commodity for those looking to drink to the point of intoxication: the mojito/margarita pitcher. The panorama was entirely in keeping with the sort of expectations one would form in conjuring the scene of a beach front pool party in the warm embrace of the spring sun. The music on display was curated with an aptitude that couldn’t possibly be equivocated with anything other than a sage mastery of the craft of DJing. The pairing of veteran spin doctors Ellen Allien and Miami native Eric Estornel (who has since garnered substantial acclaim under his monikers Maetrik and Maceo Plex) was an early treat for those who preferred the up-tempo, deep grooves. Allien and Estornel repeatedly switched on and off on the decks, but it was Allien’s charm and outgoing nature that served well in engaging the crowd while Estornel focused decisively on his mixing.
There was classicism and a warm aura of infectious synth hooks engrained in their sound that contrasted with the experimental minimalism of the subsequent back-to-back set delivered by Matthias Tanzmann and Davide Squillace. Ascendant volleys of looping beeps and beats clashed magnanimously against the clamoring bass drops that sent the crowd reeling in a trance-like state of dance. Admittedly, there were lulls in Tanzmann and Squillace’s performance, as is often the case when bold choices are being made on the decks, but if anything, they served as proof of the pair’s determination to experiment and improvise in such a way that they could build on their results.
The closing performance brought together two of the underground’s most illustrious figures at the moment in what was a truly masterful rendition of Detroit-inspired house fused with the dreamy, ethereal character of deep melodic house. Seth Troxler and Dyed Soundorom exerted their will on the mixers with an authoritative sense of determination that evoked the hallmarks of the best of both of their styles. Obscure vocal samples echoed beneath and at times above throbbing bass and heavy synth and cymbal claps. Troxler swayed with the look of a man possessed, swinging his invisible lasso above his head as the bass dropped. The musical interplay was obvious from the get-go and it became clear rather quickly that they could alternate in synchrony in a way that would compromise none of their strengths. The lasers shot through the smoky veil of night as beats poured down like rain from the speakers suspended on either side of the structure housing the booth and the dance floor. It was an invitation to the soul to dance the night away, and it seems that there wasn’t a soul in attendance that didn’t heed the call.