Sept. 26--BEIRUT -- Smoking cigarettes on a Beirut balcony in matching striped shirts, German DJ duo Holger Zilske and Kai Preussner looked like a pair of blushing gondoliers. "We want to apologize for the stripes," Preussner said of the incidental coordination. "It's terrible."
Preussner and Zilske, known globally as Smash TV, clearly share certain synchronicities of mind and character. Both talk with manifest zeal about the mechanics of electronic music, waxing melodic about compressors, resonance frequencies and reverb.
And despite the recent discord in the region, the two decided they would not be dissuaded from their scheduled Beirut performance organized by local nightlife group C U NXT SAT.
"The picture that you get in the media seems to be not really what's going on here," Preussner said as he looked out onto the quiet street. "We came here because we knew better, I guess."
The pair received a warm welcome from local electronic musicians at a pre-show round-table discussion. Zilske and Preussner imparted artistic and industry knowledge with the converse-clad crew, discussing everything from the merits of different sound-mixing software programs to proper procedures for integrating percussion sounds over dance beats.
To the uninitiated, it sounded like Latin, or perhaps some highly technical alien tongue.
"What we do is like abstract art," Preussner explained in layman's terms. "The rules are very strict for this dance music. The tempo is set, the kind of groove has to be the same so its mixable with other music for DJs. There's a limited space for creativity."
Not everyone is convinced, however. "For my mom, techno music ... sounds all the same," admitted Zilske.
Zilske and Preussner discussed their excitement for the evening with bright eyes.
"We are totally different on stage," Zilske professed.
Indeed, just a few hours later they reappeared at the nightclub Ora having forsaken their stripes and lofty talk of music theory.
Clad in all black, they had one purpose: get the crowd dancing.
Minutes after Smash TV had installed itself in the DJ booth pulpit, a cursory survey of the crowd confirmed it had succeeded: There wasn't a still foot in the house.
(c)2013 The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
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