As the '00s dawned a fresh crop of DJs and artists descended on club-land. Where the last generation had mastered the long mixes and hip-hop-style tricks of turntables, the new kids were getting under the hood of technology to produce multimedia experiences on the dance floor. James Zabiela is chief among the new wave of spinners.
The Brit burst on the scene in 2000 by winning a mixtape contest put on by a UK dance music magazine (Muzik). He was soon embraced by the progressive house elite (Sasha, John Digweed) and ended up showing them how it's done. Zabiela's groovy, forward-moving tech-house style is almost overshadowed by his skills: He often spins and mixes DVDs instead of CDs, and lately he's taken on the live performance software suite known as Ableton Live, which allows DJ to break songs into parks and reconstruct them on the fly.
It's a far cry from 1999, when it seemed that everything that could be done using two turntables and a mixer had been done. Things were getting stale. Little did we know that 10 years later jocks like Zabiela would take DVD decks, laptops and video screens to breath new life into pop's most technologically advanced wing, electronic dance music. Check him out tonight [Thursday] at Giant in Newport Beach.
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Giant presents James Zabiela tonight at Code, 4221 Dolphin Striker Way, Newport Beach. 21+. Doors at 9. Free with RSVP; $10 for "express" entry. Info: giantclub.com.