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The Scientist is in
Fred Giannelli visits New York, Deep House makes moves, C,S get live

Boston can claim only a few true ties to the history of electronic music. Weíve never had the superclubs, the warehouse raves, or the legendary record labels. Thereís just a handful of local talents who draw international attention, and one of them is Fred Giannelli, a/k/a the KOOKY SCIENTIST. Beginning in the late í70s, through his work in PSYCHIC TV and solo endeavors, or as the Kooky Scientist (or even the Cranky Scientist), Giannelli has prospered through trend after trend. This past Friday, Circuits caught his live show in Manhattan, the ostensible wrap to a year thatís taken him from shows in London to Detroit to hit singles on German labels.

"The Bunker" is a weekly party below the experimental-music venue Tonic on the Lower East Side. Set in a basement, the crowded club is filled with equipment from an old kosher winery ó even the booths are made from giant wine casks. Itís early, and Giannelli has just finished soundcheck, so the club is quiet save for a DJ spinning ambient dub. "He understands electronic music the way younger cats donít," says BRYAN SPINOZA, Bunkerís impresario and one of the nightís resident DJs. "He knows the science of sound. Usually when we do a soundcheck, itís like one guy plugging his laptop in, maybe a few machines, but Fred has like 18 machines heís pulling out!"

Spinoza has brought the Scientist down in coordination with the very busy Unlocked Groove crew. Two of the labels members are opening with a tag-team DJ set: HEEMIN YANG and MIKE UZZI. Yang feels the only way to experience Giannelli is in a club: "He rarely releases records, so the only way you can hear him is live." Yang and Uzzi open with a blazing set of current techno tunes, including their own music and a well-timed drop of "I Feel Love" from Bostonís own DONNA SUMMER at around 1:30 am ó a move that has everyone from the front rooms to the bathrooms shaking and twisting to the disco cut. "I like the space down there," says Uzzi. "Itís dark, dank and gloomy . . . perfect for techno. Plus itís an educated crowd, so I can play techno at peak time." Behind the DJ duo, Giannelli starts to turn on his machines, each one lighting up a different part of his visage. Heís played NYC many times, from the renowned Psychic TV Halloween show in 1988 to the Kooky Scientistís live 2004 show at the P.S. 1 Museum in Queens. "New York has an energy, a street energy that has nothing to do with the gig, but it always affects the gig. Itís a place you can really live, too. Back when I was touring, weíd always try and have at least three days off in New York City." Like any musician, heís worried about the sound of the room. "My mixers were buzzing a little earlier, and all the wires were a little loose," he says from behind his omnipresent boxy glasses and black tweed hat. "Nothing a little jiggling wonít fix." He starts to work the crowd a little after 2 am, settling in for a live techno show. As the video artists synch up with his beats, the dance floor gathers steam, hoots of approval occasionally leaping from the throng of basement bangers. "Itís not just moody dance music," says clubgoer and freelance writer Michael Gill, whoís visiting from his home in Allston. "Itís easy to be just gloomy and play druggy house music. But Fredís sound is more disorientating. Plus knowing heís from Boston does make it sound a little sweeter." The Hub is on a lot of lips throughout, from overheard conversations to the description provided by the ticket taker upstairs. "Whatís playing tonight?" "Boston techno."

More Fred Giannelli news: his "Distant Gratification" track will kick off the new mix CD from hot Berlin imprint BPITCH CONTROL, which was made by their resident Finnish transplant, KIKI. Called Boogy Bytes Vol. 1, the CD will see release in early February. . . . The velvet revolution over at the Underbar in the Theater District continues this Tuesday as Chicago Deep House groovemaster GENE FARRIS pays a visit to the new chic club. The night promises exotic dancers, masseuses, and "Tropical Treats for the Eyes." Opening is Bostonís own dynamic duo of deep, soulful house: DJ KC HALLETT and DJ JAY P. . . . Hallettís regular party, SOUL REVIVAL, is taking RSVPs for its annual New Yearís Eve bash at Villa Victoria. If you want to ring in the new year with joyous, inclusive, feel-good house music, visit www.reviveyoursoul.co to reserve your space. It will surely be one to remember. . . . Finally, local electronic-music band CERTAINLY, SIR have released their follow-up to Mugic. Called TAN, the nine-song LP includes vocals from KRISTINA JOHNSON (Roh Delikat) and BEN GIBBARD of Death Cab for Cutie among others. Currently, the only way to pick it up is at the Japanese labelís Web site, http://www.rallye-kanazawa.com/. Perhaps the group will have a few on hand this Saturday when they play T.T. the Bearís Place with CHAD VANGAALEN, HALEY BONAR, and EJECT.

David Day spins Thursdays at Middlesex Lounge and Fridays at Enormous Room. He can be reached at circuits@squar3.com.

Issue Date: December 2 - 8, 2005
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