Steam slicked its way through the air when Nicole Moudaber and friends took over the Brooklyn Mirage, a palm-dotted oasis that is temporarily quenching the electronic thirst of this concrete jungle. The venue exists only for the summer event season, set to disappear as quickly as it came. High walls line the outdoor stage. The surrounding rooftops are accessible by vibrant stairs, leading to mesmerizing views of East Williamsburg flanked by a glistening Manhattan skyline. Juxtaposed next to the spacious patio area is a thriving warehouse, which housed Nicole and company for just one night, September 12, while lit purely by strobe lights and projected visuals. Nicole Moudaber’s Breed EP release party was heavily underway when I popped in. The crowd’s endless bobbing and bouncing proved that even with some rain, mud and windchill, all you need is the perfect concoction of pronounced simplicity and music to get you through the night.
Headliners Nicole Moudaber and Victor Calderone joined Lauren Lane, Hector, and Joel Mull in celebration of Nicole’s latest EP, Breed. Long anticipated, the collaboration between the curly-haired techno maven and Skin, the fashion-forward frontwoman of Skunk Anansie, was released September 18 exclusively on Beatport. You truly get the best of both worlds with this album: Nicole’s infectious beats flitter back-and-forth between your speakers as Skin’s sultry, rock-influenced vocals carry you through each of the five tracks. The album is conceptual at heart, promising to become one of the most memorable techno records of the year. Skin’s lyrics are a blend of sweet and tongue-in-cheek; Do I look like I want to talk to you / when I’m dancing? she utters above a minimal instrumental on “Don’t Talk to Me, I’m Dancing.” The lead single, “Someone Like You,” turns an ’80s electronica influence into a contemporary tech-house tune. The standout track that’s already familiar to most Moudaber fans is “Organic Love,” which made its rounds within her DJ sets and her weekly In the MOOD podcast over the last year. In true Moudaber fashion, each of the five tracks relies on a lively bassline, one so heavy and low it’ll make your eardrums tingle. Crank up your subs.
“Minimalism” is an understatement in describing the mood of the night. Nicole opened up at dusk with drizzling bouts of rain. She left no room for the audience to call Lauren Lane, Hector, or Joel Mull merely “openers.” In fact, it was as though the queen of techno had passed her reigns over to them, allowing them to fully embrace the stage. Rain picked up more aggressively by the time Hector began in the early evening, and people began to visibly show frustration; but as the clouds turned a deeper gray, so did the music, which evolved into a darker sound. A scarcely decorated warehouse, more or less a dozen strobe lights, and music that proved to be the opposite of overproduced – this was minimalism at its truest and finest form.
But the rain was both a blessing and a curse: its constant stop-and-go in the hours leading up to Nicole’s back-to-back set with Victor caused a contagious aggravation between a sizable portion of attendees. For a moment, Joel Mull’s meticulously produced tracks were almost overshadowed by the crowd’s constant back-and-forth movement between the indoor and outdoor areas. I settled for a dance with the rain. What an exhilaration it was to be dancing in the open with a fine drizzle engulfing my body, Mull on the decks, and the pale moonlight glittering through the clouds.
Victor Calderone took the booth with Nicole as soon as midnight fell. The Brooklyn native has influenced the game for over two decades, evolving with every record he’s created. His 2012 collaboration with Nicole, The Journey Begins, is a long step ahead from his early 2000s work that featured the popstar likes of Madonna. Both Victor and Nicole are seasoned in their own right within the field of dance music; there’s no question as to why they are frequent collaborators. Nicole’s tendency toward a funkier beat, combined with Victor’s more minimal approach to production, form the perfect duo. After all the exasperation from the rain earlier on, all the soaked madness and the crowded mess, the mood lifted. In front of us were two icons, both with a combined fanbase that could populate New York City twenty times over. Inside the blackened warehouse, only a speeding drumbeat could successfully pierce through the haze. Inside, there was love, a hometown kind where you could sense every person’s immense appreciation for this city’s underground dance scene.
Nicole will be in North America for the rest of the month, then heads to Europe for the month of October, including a spot on London’s coveted Drumcode Halloween lineup. Can’t make the overseas flight? Vibe to your own copy of Breed here on Beatport.
North American Tour Dates: