That was the case in late 2009, when I stumbled upon a download of a two-hour set from that Halloween by Jennifer Cardini, a longtime resident of Paris’s Rex Club—one of the birthplaces of the mid-90s “French touch” house-music style that brought us, among others, Daft Punk. But time had moved forward, and the Cardini set wasn’t anything like that. It zoomed freely around an electro-house base: cutesy electro-pop, heaving bass, and a sparkling Ada remix of Tracey Thorn’s “Grand Canyon” at the end.
Cardini played like a lifer because that’s what she is. “The house scene was quite big,” she told the RA Exchange podcast of the mid-90s, when she became a DJ. “When I moved [to Paris], actually, the only thing I recall was Rex Club and Pulp . . . In France, it’s not like Germany, where each city has a scene. In France, most of the things there were located in Paris.” She recalled Pulp especially fondly, noting that its mix of gay, straight, and trans was something she felt “missing from the techno scene.” A similar sparkling energy continues to animate her DJ sets.
For her first-half set on Beats in Space Radio Show #904 (September 19, 2017), broadcast weekly by host Tim Sweeney in New York, Cardini is joined by Job Jobse, an Amsterdam DJ who mines a similarly rangy scope of materials and has no compunction about describing some (some) of what he does as trance. “Because that’s essentially what it is,” he told RA, adding: “As the great DJ Harvey once said, ‘All good dance music puts you in a trance.’ ”
No, that doesn’t mean there’s any soppy-eyed hands-in-air gush on this set (which you can download from the BIS site). Quite the opposite, in fact: Most of the tracks Cardini and Jobse draw from have a dark, chewy synth-pop center. Take Chase Smith’s “Sending You Some Lungs,” off a forthcoming EP on the up and coming Dublin label Apartment Records. Cardini and Jobse are so taken with the track that they bring in both the vocal and instrumental versions, just a couple tracks apart. Hard to blame them, since the Matthew Dear-like vocal smear and a hissy undulating tone that sounds like it was taken from an late-80s Derrick May record both compete for Smith’s biggest earworm.
Speaking of the ’80s, fans of dark electro will particularly like this set’s middle, particularly the segue from Robotiko Rejekto’s fabulously stiff “Rejekto (U.S. Dub),” a real-deal find from ’87, into the April-released “E-Mails 2 Myself” by Solitary Dancer feat. Marie Davidson. It’s too early to call this a Halloween set, but it’s still what I’ll be pre-gaming with that night.
Each Thursday, Michaelangelo Matos will spotlight a different DJ set—often but not always new, sometimes tied to a local show but not necessarily—and discuss its place in the overall sphere of dance music and pop.