There are people out there in the world. You could pass them on the street and never know; they think turntablism in modern dance music is dead. You might even be right to believe them. Then you show up for Day Two of Capitol Hill Block Party, and your whole perception changes. A-Trak, the 90s turntable prodigy-turned-Kanye West touring DJ, record label owner, and all-around floor shaker, was a mighty choice for the second day of the CHBP Main Stage. After the wildfire success of Dillon Francis on Day One, the Block Party crowd was expecting more dance music goodness. And A-Trak delivered.
What made the A-Trak set so great was how much energy it brought while being so fundamentally different from Dillon Francis. Instead of surprising the audience with maniacally-timed jumps from genre to genre, A-Trak dug deep into his collection to meld hip-hop, indie, and modern dance together. Hearing “Fool’s Gold” laid over songs or cutting into his massive remix of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll” throughout the set, A-Trak introduced something very unique to dance music: recurring musical motifs to keep the crowd focused. It was a major success, producing an hour of music that blended wildly different pieces of music together while feeling completely cohesive.
Oh, and did we mention that 15 years on the job haven’t dulled A-Trak’s turntable skills one bit? Every time you least suspected it, the set would break into absolutely insane turntable antics that had the crowd roaring, reminding everyone that there is still a place in the modern, computerized EDM landscape for the thrill and raw variability of vinyl.
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