| Homelands 2003 |
|There's no doubt he's hit a rich seam of form recently: in 2001 he won a number one with 'Another Chance', the single from his critically acclaimed album 'Release Yourself', inspired by his Monday night club at Pacha in Ibiza. Eight-hour sets are something he takes in his stride. No wonder: he's been DJing and collecting and DJing house, hip-hop, rock, salsa and blues records since he was 13. |
Dance music owes as much to Pete Tong as Pete Tong does to whoever first gave the soul boy for Kent his first chance to play. At some point in the future, the smart money is on the fact that he'll be given a lifetime's achievement award. But there's work to be done in between. He's at once the voice of dance radio, the UK's leading A&R man and one of the most sought-after DJs currently operating. His Essential Selection compilations have operated like a running barometer of dance music tastes for many years, while his Ffrr label provided many of the dances biggest hits, from Armand Van Helden to the Mighty Dub Katz. There's little wonder dance music's royalty are in constant contact with him and his influential Essential Selection show. Put it this way: when Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter decides it's time to air a new track, he doesn't think too hard about who to call
At the right moment in the right place Steve Lawler's sets are little short of an Odyssey: wark-factor music played by a DJ constantly pushing the boundaries. The big rooms maybe where you'll find Steve Lawler most weekends but under the canopy and out in the airiness at Space in Ibiza is where he comes into his own mind as to why he's playing Homelands.
Rooty DJs Frank Tope and Tayo have spent the last few years f*cking clubland in the ass just as their buddies Basement Jaxx f*cked dance music in the ass, as Armand Van Helden observed. Their South London parties are the definition of underground body-jacking sweatbox dementia, and their sets at We Love Sundays at Space last year was arguably the highlight of the season. Rooty when the popularity of Basement Jaxx's Brixton parties outgrow their venues: now it's Rooty's to turn to make stars of two of the UK's best underground DJs.
Cassius took the name because Mohammed Ali didn't want it any more: the same approach to power informs the French duo's music. Philipe Zdar and Hubert Boombass craft sultry filter house when they're not producing France's biggest pop and hip hop stars, and with vocalist Steve Edwards they delivered 'Sounds Of Violence', one of last year's sexiest house cuts.
Jon Carter is known for his enjoyment of partying. But that comes second to his enjoyment of tough-edged, pumped-out house music. This year he launches his new VIP house label Savile Row, whereas two years ago he broke the hearts of British women by marrying Sara Cox.
Lottie, on the other hand, does what women have been threatening to do for years, and combines brilliant DJ skills with dancefloor instinct and broadcasting talent - her Radio 1 shows are essential listening - that will ensure her future as Britain's clubland queen.
Portugal's Rui Da Silva scored a number one in 2000 when his anthem to supersex, 'Touch Me' sold 400,000 copies track broke out of clubland and articulated the feelings of a nation. Boss of the successful Kismet records and a regular in British clubs, he's the ambassador of Lisbon's underground house scene, and brings Potuguese cool to whichever club is lucky enough to host him.
Back to Basics' Ralph Lawson is the UK's longest-serving resident DJ and the brains and fingers behind more than 30 productions while his 20:20 Vision labelmate Paul Woolford acquired his first turntables at the age of 12. You get to enjoy the fruit of their labours - between them, they promise to turn Arena 2 upside-down, inside-out and back again several times over. Can you feel the force? Of course you can
Rui Da Silva
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.