Once it would have been unheard of to see a D.J. anywhere except in a dance club, a radio studio or behind a folding table at a wedding or bar mitzvah. In the last several years, though, D.J.'s have been popping up all over the place - music shops, department stores, bars and now, with apparent success, in hotels.One of the trailblazers is Stéphane Pompougnac. He began his career in the clubs of Paris, then, in 1997, the two-year-old Hôtel Costes approached him to play in its restaurant. Soon, after trading his dance-floor sound for a loungier style, he was attracting more attention than he had in the clubs.
Ignoring the annoying Times house style of using the apostrophe for the plurals of acronym ("DJs" looks so much cleaner than "D.J.'s" to me), I thought it was a pretty interesting article - funny how Pompugnac has become such a superstar. To be honest, I've not been following the house scene as closely as I used to, so I didn't know about the Hi Hotel and the F Communications connection. It's clear that hotel sets give DJs the chance to be a bit more eclectic, and play something beyond the standout "chillout" set - some soul music, for instance.
I'm in two minds about the Hotel Costes series: it's good music, but it's become such a cliché. And - more a dig at some of the people who play it rather than the series itself - it tends to be played as background music, a form of aural design element. Alex Gimeno, DJ at the Soho Grand, had some good quotes on that related idea:
[Gimeno] also took issue with the volume: "It's a bit low. There's a good chance that some people will think it's a CD player."That dig at the music becoming "wallpaper" is great, partly because the Soho Grand is precisely the kind of place that would appear in Wallpaper* - it's a apt reminder of the importance of musical substance over musical style.
Mr. Gimeno's worst fear, he said, was to become "wallpaper" for the hotel. "I'm constantly looking at the floor, seeing who's coming in, who's going," he said. "I'm also thinking of the workers here. I don't want to bore them to death, either."
I suppose the fear of becoming mere background music is the parallel to the fear that abstract artists had of their art becoming mere decoration:
"A conscious decision to eliminate certain details and include selective bits of personal experiences or perceptual nuances, gives the painting more of a multi-dimension than when it is done directly as a visual recording. This results in a kind of abstraction... and thus avoids the pitfalls of mere decoration." - Wayne ThiebaudTangentially: the Soho Grand does have dog food on room service, and leashes and chew toys and dog bowls. Would that all hotels were this pet-friendly.
Technorati Tags: dj, house, music, hotel