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Benton Galgay plays records, but he has his own ideas about what it means to be a DJ. First, aside from Wooden Shjips, there are very few new artists he's into spinning. And when he does wax au courant, it's on behalf of labels such as Sublime Frequencies, Needless Records, RVNG of the NRDS, Turntable Lab, and Dublab, rather than any individual act. In fact, when Galgay was general manager at WVUM, he teamed with Turntable Lab on numerous occasions and turned PS14 into a de facto broadcast booth for that outfit's music.
What might be even odder about the White Plains-raised Galgay is he's most fond of No Wave. For the unschooled, it's a short-lived yet highly influential school of late-'70s/early-'80s New York noisemakers that began with Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and James Chance & the Contortions, and pretty much ended with Liquid Liquid, Konk, and the 99 Records collective. And when Galgay is not reeling with that racket, he's into prog-pop like the Alan Parsons Project and Gary Wright, which is just the kind of music that aforementioned racket was in part formed to protest.
Then again, maybe Galgay's getting with the fluffier stuff of the '70s is simply a case of sheer irony, because he's also well bent toward neo-old-school rock from the Stone Roses and Primal Scream. And those bands do have some strands of No Wave running up their sleeves. It could also be that Galgay is an arch contrarian and that he's loath to lurk in the same corners as everybody else.
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But a better bet might be that he has spent so much time around instantly evaporating music — especially during the four years he was with WVUM — that he just can't stomach any more. He won't, either, no matter what dance floor he happens to be charged with filling. And to be sure, Galgay, despite his dislikes, does indeed know how to fill a dance floor.
The innumerable warehouse parties in his past prove it, and indeed it's on the outlaw side of nightlife where Galgay gets most traction. (Check, for example, last New Year's Eve's U-Haul throwdown deep in the heart of the Grove.) But he still works well within the aboveground venue framework.
These days, he spins each Wednesday at News Lounge's 55th Social and each Saturday downstairs at Electric Pickle for Poplife. And this Friday night, Galgay will be joined by the folks behind O.H.W.O.W. and I Am Your Villain at the all-new Bardot, as they bring down New York beatmaster Eric Duncan, AKA Dr. Dunks, half of the esteemed duo Rub 'n' Tug.
Further into the future, Galgay says, we should listen to the airwaves, especially during Art Basel, when he and some fellow travelers will broadcast from international waters. It's a cinch that what sonically transpires will be as far from the madding crowd as anything imaginable. And it's highly likely that you won't know what to make of it till it's gone. So, no, Benton Galgay is not your everyday DJ. And there's no question he wouldn't have it any other way.
Benton Galgay's general top five:
1. RVNG of the NRDS (label)
2. Awesome Tapes From Africa (blog)
3. Needless Records (label )
4. Greg Wilson (classic DJ/artist)
5. "I'm Not in Love," 10cc (song)