Julio Bashmore’s “Battle For Middle You” has a way of revealing itself the moment a DJ begins to mix it into another tune. It’s those scroggly spinback swipe noises that give it away immediately. Think of the way it comes out of Pearson Sound’s “Wad (Bonus Beats)” on his Fabriclive 56 mix: Those swift sounds arise from chunky percussive clangoring, and the dizzy oscillating synths slowly creep into the sonic foreground, and then the jangling tambourine-like beat on Bashmore’s song collapses down on “Wad.” It’s a song that lurks before it strikes.
Those swiping noises tipped off Bashmore’s audience at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge last night. At the first sign of “Battle For Middle You,” hands in the crowd flew into the air to hail it. Their enthusiasm illustrated Bashmore’s mystique among the members of his audience, who were apparently the sort of people who follow his career closely enough to recognize his tunes at the first sign of them.
But as far as dance music goes, Bashmore is a bit of a rock star, so perhaps it’s to be expected that people would be visibly stoked to hear his singles live. Although he hasn’t played in the U.S. since 2010, Bashmore has been garnering a devoted and keen following here and abroad based on the success of the slew of singles and EPs he’s put out since 2009. He’s got a hot name, the kind that drives traffic on music publications and blogs every time he drops a new tune. When Foals’ Edwin Congreave put “Battle For Middle You” on his !K7 Tapes mix, a DJ purist friend of mine dismissed it as a rinsed pick. Every party played that song the summer it came out, he told me. Bashmore is that kind of DJ.
Fittingly, he drew a crowd with a noticeable population of industry types, and he made sure to speckle his set with hits from the trendy UK scene, like “Ellipsis” by fellow buzzname producer Joy Orbison. His selection and attire—he was literally wearing a shirt emblazoned with the artwork from “Au Seve”—reflected his status as a rising icon, and it seems that so far he’s delivered on the hype.