Mix & Remix

Welcome to Miami Beach's annual Winter Music Conference, where the elite meet to discuss the future of the beat

Monday, March 26

The Clevelander is an establishment best known for a mookish clientele that considers the "Thong Song" a piece of trenchant social commentary. So keep your head down and your eyes to yourself as no less a living legend than Chic's Nile Rodgers graces the hotel's poolside stage this afternoon. As one of the songwriters behind epochal dance tunes such as "Good Times" and "I Want Your Love" (the building blocks of rap and deep house, respectively, and songs still just as hair-raising as when they were released more than twenty years ago), Rodgers remains absolutely relevant. Plenty of samples derived from his compositions should be peeking out of the subsequent sets from Timewriter and Terry Lee Brown, Jr.

Too sexy for his shirt: London's MJ Cole puts his bold  soul sisters front and center
Too sexy for his shirt: London's MJ Cole puts his bold soul sisters front and center
Paris the Black Fu (right) of the Detroit Grand Pubahs takes ghetto-tech back to its strip-club roots
Steve Satterwhite
Paris the Black Fu (right) of the Detroit Grand Pubahs takes ghetto-tech back to its strip-club roots

At this point it seems as though there's nothing Detroit's Carl Craig can't do. Under an ever-growing series of monikers, from Paperclip People to Innerzone Orchestra, Craig has spent the past decade redefining the limits of techno, making dance records that sound as crucial through a pair of headphones as they do out on the dance floor. There's the piston-whooshing burn of "Jam the Box," the skittering chopsticks-on-linoleum groove of "Bug in the Bassbin," the melancholy strains of More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art (an album every bit as far-reaching as its title implies), and the Human Arts Ensemble-styled interplanetary jazz of Programmed. Craig spins tonight at the Ice Palace (59 NW Fourteenth St.), part of a mammoth bill presented by Trust the DJ, whose promotional literature makes it unclear if Trust is a Website, a DJ management company, or simply a cash-happy dot-com blissfully unaware of e-commerce's burst bubble. Considering the level of talent Trust is footing the bill for, however, we'll let the matter slide: Swedish techno greats Adam Beyer and Christian Smith; Windsor, Canada's John Aquaviva; Chicago house jocks Derrick Carter and Todd Terry; London two-step artisan MJ Cole; and Miami's own turntablist extraordinaire, DJ Craze. British junglists Goldie and Grooverider also are slated to spin, and though both are a bit long in the tooth inspirationwise these days, even they should be at the top of their game here, considering who they'll be forced to follow.

Music begins at 10:00 p.m. and, thanks to liberal licensing in the City of Miami proper, should run till about noon the next day.

Little Louie Vega is one of the few house remixers to successfully bridge the seeming contradiction between achieving commercial crossover and issuing truly spiritual work. Whether he's chopping up Tito Puente, Fela Kuti, the Pet Shop Boys, or one of his own tunes, Vega lends it an irresistible Latin-inflected stamp, a loose-limbed sashay that's impossible not to grind your hips to. For this afternoon's set, inside the open-roofed Opium Garden (136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), Vega is joined by Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez. The two frequently collaborate as Masters at Work, and their planned deployment of a full band to re-create their 1997 Nu Yorican Soul project should be everything that name implies: a satisfying blend of propulsive Fania-era salsa and butt-wriggling deep house rhythms, with featured singer Jocelyn Brown doing her best to invoke that bygone glitterball vibe.

For those unable to skip work, Vega also spins a solo set late Tuesday night at crobar (1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach), where he's joined by fellow house-heads Tony Humphries, Ted Patterson, and Dimitri from Paris, who will hopefully leave his signature cocktail kitsch platters back in France and instead concentrate on the disco obscurities featured on his most recent mix CD.

"If you log on to dictionary.com, the actual definition of a brownout is ďthe loss of power due to overuse by consumers,'" Phoenecia's Josh Kay explains of the rationale behind the title of their new album. "And when I look back on the recording of Brownout, I think about all the little forces that were pulling us away from our focus." Of course the fact that Kay is looking up words on dictionary.com as opposed to in an old-fashioned ink-on-paper dictionary says as much about Phoenecia's music as any stress factors. For this evening's continuation of Infiltrate 3.0 (the Beta Bodega Coalition's gathering of the electronic tribes it considers ignored by the WMC), computer-processed timbres will dominate. Besides Phoenecia, scheduled to perform are Miami's Otto Von Shirach, Supersoul, the ingeniously named Alpha 606 (careful, comrades), Tamber, Egg Foo Young, and a laundry list of kindred spirits from around the nation. Music begins at 8:00 p.m. at the Mission (637 Washington Ave., Miami Beach); in the spirit of the event's anti-WMC tone, those sporting conference badges at the front door will be asked to pay double the normal cover charge.

Tuesday, March 27

It's easy to spot the newbies and visiting tourists at New York City's long-running Body & Soul party. Sure they're wearing Body & Soul logo-emblazoned T-shirts, but they're also the only ones in the room with their shirts still on. The regulars are much too preoccupied with working up a sweat and losing themselves in the music -- a frothy blend of vintage disco, raw percussion, and of-the-moment deep house -- to worry about making fashion statements. One of Body & Soul's resident DJs, Francois Kervorkian, spins at Rain this evening (formerly Groove Jet, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach), but be forewarned. Kervorkian's appearance in this same space during last year's WMC was a depressing outing: a barely audible sound system drowned out by the jabbering crowd that was packed so tightly, it made blinking -- let alone boogying -- an impossibility. Music runs from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m.

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