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Ben Watt 

Friday, August 4, at the Mercury Lounge

Ben Watt reached a crossroads in the early '90s. Although Watt and Tracey Thorn, his wife and songwriting partner, had knocked out six moderately successful albums as Everything but the Girl, they felt constrained by the limits of their pop-rock aesthetic. Hungry to reconnect with a younger generation, they commissioned deep-house purveyor Todd Terry to remix "Missing" from their '94 album Amplified Heart. The remix was a smash hit, catapulting the duo into the limelight and convincing them that the electronic studio would be the perfect forge in which to recast their sound. In '95, Watt's close friend, hip-hop/funk DJ Howie B, urged Watt to start deejaying, and though Watt used these early underground gigs primarily to learn the dynamics of electronic production that informed most of EBTG's subsequent releases, the role of DJ was one he enjoyed too much to give up.

After a number of successful residencies and promotions around London's club scene between '98 and 2002, Watt took the next step up in 2003, founding his own dance label, Buzzin' Fly Records. He's celebrating the release of Buzzin' Fly's third annual mix-CD release, which features his own productions as well as those of labelmates Rodamaal, Kayot, and Lephtee. Watt's mixing cultivates a mesmerizing house groove that has all the wistful, melancholic synth tones familiar to EBTG fans, but adds a dash of universal spiritual uplift as well.

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