Friday, April 12, 2019, was a big day for me. I met and interviewed the ridiculously talented World Bass DJ and producer CloZee, and got to see her perform for the first time. As I’d never done an in-person interview, I was a bit anxious, but her aura of calm put me at ease right away. You can read the transcript and watch the interview HERE. After all those jittery nerves, I was starving, so went out for some dinner and a bit of relaxation before heading back to the Crystal Ballroom for the show.
As I walked up the stairs and checked my coat, I caught the end of Luxora Major’s energetic set. Though the dancefloor was only about a third filled, everyone was already movin’ and groovin’. If you live in the Pacific Northwest and haven’t been to the Crystal Ballroom, I highly recommend seeing an Abstract Earth Project show there. When I attend an artist-focused show like this one and don’t think too much about the production, that means it’s gone off without a hitch and they’ve done amazingly well. For those unfamiliar, the Crystal Ballroom has huge springs under the dancefloor, so when everyone starts dancing, your bouncing gets higher and movements become more exaggerated. Terrible for taking video, perfect for spilling drinks, and phenomenal for jumping up and down to Luxora Major’s beat!
By the time I’d finished making the rounds saying hello to friends and finding our spot for the show, Supertask was on. Had he been the first opener of the night, the show as a whole would have flowed better and I would have enjoyed his set even more. The slower beats and sparse sounds of his set between those of Luxora Major and MEMBA felt awkward at best.
When I found myself being bounced up and down and realized I was unconsciously dancing, I spun around to find MEMBA on the decks. The crowd was jumping and those guys were not messing around. Ishaan and Will began clapping over their heads and everyone responded in kind. Somehow a Mr. Brightside remix found its way in there and didn’t feel awkward. When they asked if we’d like a little Bollywood? We all cheered, cause DUH, hell yeah we would! Their energy was absolutely contagious and they bounced between massive beats to slower rhythms with sexy vocals, somehow maintaining our vibe the whole time. On the final drop, MEMBA jumped into the crowd and danced with everyone. It was a fantastic way to end a set!
There was a bit of a wait between sets where everyone seemed to hold their breath ‘til CloZee took the stage. Whereas huge flashes of rainbows swept the crowd during MEMBA, the lighting for CloZee’s set was much more subtle. Flashes of blue and green broke through the darkness as she slowly warmed us up with “The Golden Mask”. She pranams to the crowd as we cheer and then melts us into “Harmony”. Her new material is fantastic and I could tell everyone was as thrilled by it as me. By the time she busted into “Ceremony”, her collaboration with Liquid Stranger, I looked around and my tiny girlfriends were dropping it down. I suddenly thought [rave] “booty, booty, booty, booty rockin’ everywhere” and started cracking up. In stark contrast to the ladies working it out in front of me, CloZee was tall and regal behind the decks.
During the interview, it occurred to me that she’s a bit of an enigma; though she gave honest and insightful answers, I left wanting to know more. As I absorbed her set, I realized that like myself in the role of interviewer, her music reaches for answers deep within each of us. It perhaps even touches upon things we’re not ready to expose to the light. I shook myself out of my reverie and noticed she had the crowd worked up, and… HEY! Look at that! She does too dance (we discuss this in the interview)!
When I confessed my love of “Baiana”, she said everybody wants that track and promised she’d play it, so I wasn’t the only one grinning from ear to ear as I heard the stomping of feet and acapella chanting. Throughout the show CloZee punched the keys to the beat with panache, threw her gun fingers in the air as I’ve seen in many pictures, and it was impossible not to be infected by her energy. “Baiana” is quickly followed up by “Koto”, and then her remix of “Majesty”, a kickass, rhyme-slayin’ track by Apashe and Wasiu. CloZee kept the already sweaty, dripping crowd that’s fogged up the windows moving right to the very end. She calmed us down a bit and closed with her Ratatat “Loud Pipes” remix.
As I walked down the stairs listening to the voices of ecstatic fans recounting their favorite tracks, it hit me that CloZee had just made me one of them. *GASP!* The House and Trance girl is developing a love of Bass! But not just any Bass, CloZee’s special version of it. Unsurprising since most of my favorite artists are classically trained musicians who’ve developed an ear for what fits, like puzzle pieces. Her talent in weaving conflicting sounds into tracks and then placing those together into a harmonious set is evidence of the structure and techniques she learned through years of classical training in guitar. I felt every bit as much joy, introspection, sadness, and love during her set as I do listening to my favorite Trance artists; something I didn’t think possible of Bass. The next time CloZee, Explorer and Merchant of World Sounds is in town, I’ll be there, ready to let her be the tour guide of my aural journey around the world.
*Featured Image of CloZee at Electric Forest Via Brittany NO FOMO*