Chances are good it's already too late to get yourself into Studio A for the only U.S. date on UK DJ James Zabiela's fall 2007 tour. One thing that'll probably be there is a small band of haters standing around with arms crossed, silently cursing Zabiela for bringing turntablism into the digital age. One of his weapons of choice is the Pioneer CDJ-1000, a system that enables a DJ to scratch CDs as if they were vinyl records. Goodness, how the haters hate it.
But that's only the technical slant on this gifted 28-year-old. His greatest strength is bending electronic sounds to create uniquely enrapturing, danceable songs. With layers that at first seem to be all over the place, the songs come together ostensibly through Zabiela's sheer will. Signed to Sasha's Excession agency, he brings an energy to his live gigs that has made him one of the most respected DJs in the world. His recent collaboration with Nic Fanciulli, the One+One mix CD, was a huge hit at this year's Winter Music Conference, and in June, Zabiela was voted Best British DJ by DJ magazine.
There was, however, no Most Promising Luddite category.