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This Saturday we welcome back the infamous duo of Astro&Glyde to Underbar.


When New York DJ duo Astro&Glyde mixed live on John Digweed’s London radio show last year, it was a comingout, a sign of energy in the flailing super-club scene, and a declaration of a new sound. To this day, DJ fans still trade bootleg recordings of the session, the Internet buzzes with the track list from that night, and websites recall Digweed’s introduction, which hailed the pair’s style as “the sleazy sound of N.Y.C.”

Perhaps the king of progressive house was passing the torch. After all, it was Digweed and longtime partner Sasha who pioneered the late-’90s progressive era, mixing best-selling DJ compilations, perfecting an icy British stance, and capping it all off with a residency at now-defunct New York club Twilo. But as legions of wannabe jocks followed the duo’s every move, “progressive” became a stiff pose, the sound was inbred into dark and boring beats, and the forward-thinking momentum that defined the genre was lost. By the early ’00s, it seemed that heads bobbed out of habit, not from inspiration. Prog started as a futuristic, digitized version of American post-disco soul. But it became flat and tight-assed.

“A night of all progressive will put me to sleep,” says Astro&Glyde’s James Bem, 29.

Like dandelions in the sidewalk, these two regular guys sprouted from the ashes of New York’s club scene. They met as vinylists who worked together at the Satellite Records store downtown in the late ’90s. Soon Bem and Gaby Dershin were

producing tracks together in Dershin’s home studio. A trip to the Spanish party isle of Ibiza sealed the deal.

“A couple years back in Ibiza at the Terrace at club Space, this growling electro-house sound just sort of woke us up,” says Dershin, also 29.

In the post-9/11 sobriety of clubland, the duo teamed up with club scenester Swamy to organize a Sunday afternoon-toevening DJ soiree in an unlikely location – the back of an East Village North African restaurant called Le Souk. Four years later, Le Souk Sunday Sessions has become a New York dance-music institution, a sanctum of holy day insanity, a testament to the adage that the party is where you make it. The sessions are known to go until the Monday commute. And who wouldn’t want to stay when Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, Digweed, Danny Howells, Sander Kleinenberg, or Behrouz is in the house? While Twilo marked the cover-jock, big-room, DJ-worshipping explosion, Sunday Sessions represents its retreat back to the

house-party vibe.

“It was the only thing going on after Twilo closed,” says Dershin.

“We didn’t realize it was going to be this big,” adds Bem. “We just did it as a gathering. We were just like, ‘Hey, we’re doing this thing on Sunday, drink some sangria,’ and there would be, like, 30 friends. Then people would call and say, ‘What are you doing? Music and DJs? Lets hang out!’ It was this natural progression.”

Astro&Glyde (the pair hasn’t really decided who is Astro, who is Glyde) timed their ascendance just right, producing music for Digweed’s Bedrock label (2004’s “Airless Dame”), spinning on the big-room circuit, and playing the gracious hosts at Le Souk.

With last week’s release of Le Souk Sunday Sessions, the duo gets its first mix-CD to the market just in time to rock the boat of monotonous beats. The two-disc mix, compiled with the help of Le Souk cohost Swamy, starts off with lazy, hazy breakbeats and Latin-tinged stoner house. But by the second disc, it’s classic Astro&Glyde, and that’s to say it takes off like a Carrera GT, pushing you deep into your seat with shamelessly banging house, filtered loops, and a hand-raising sensibility that recalls DJ Dan as much as Digweed. The funked-up raver house of Astro&Glyde unbuttons the Oxford collar of prog and passes the Dutchie. Celebratory and up-tempo, Sunday Sessions reflects the frat-boy antics of Astro&Glyde and Swamy (the latter of whom is known to roam the aisles of Le Souk and force shots of Scotch whiskey on unsuspecting victims).

“If you play only one genre per night, they get bored,” says Bem. Jokes Dershin, “They start chanting, ‘New genre, new genre.’”

The duo is already looking forward to a second installment of Sunday Sessions, due next year, and is also pondering an artist album with singer Queen V., who contributed vocals to “Airless Dame.” The scene certainly needs newness, and with Astro&Glyde,the next generation of progressive is here.

$20 @ door, $15 guestlist email for details.

www astroglyde dot com for more info

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