Michael Jackson fever may have already put you into overload, but 24-hour news channels aside, there’s still something powerful about the musical legacy people leave and the way it can become a shared experience. It’s something ineffable, well beyond the reach of words – but it can be something you get from a musical moment.
So you can imagine the feeling in the room Saturday night at New York’s summer-only Water Taxi Beach when Claude VonStroke played his own edit of Billie Jean. dancetracks got some video footage, but they tell us that the feeling in the room barely comes across in the video — a crowd going wild like New York’s clubland hasn’t seen in ages. (VonStroke owns Dirtybird and Mothership and is making his own mark on the American musical scene.)
VonStroke apparently finished his club-friendly edit on Amtrak from Boston down to New York the day of the gig, working entirely in Ableton Live.
It was striking to me, too, to hear from guys like Quincy Jones, whose work had one of the greatest impacts on the sound of the 20th Century of anyone, talking about Jackson’s musical talent. It’s tough to know, sometimes, what to make of Michael Jackson the person – least of all when he’s a distant celebrity. But as the global reach of music spreads further and further down the long tail, and as we even wonder if this kind of superstardom will ever happen again, at least the impact of the music is without question.
Claude VonStroke Plays Billie Jean, Club Goes Crazy [dancetracksdigital.com]