Jeff Samuel

Shift, featuring Jeff Samuel. Saturday, February 22, at Touch Supper Club.

Old School
Jeff Samuel
Jeff Samuel
Sitting around at a Christmas party in Little Italy almost three years ago, native Clevelander and seasoned techno DJ Jeff Samuel offered a few words of wisdom: "It's all about the D." Samuel wasn't talking sports strategy, but rather the central position that Detroit -- the birthplace of techno -- still holds in the genre's worldwide scene. Samuel had just released a single on techno pioneer Dan Bell's Seventh City label and was hotly anticipating the boost in visibility that the release would bring. Once DJs and promoters around the country and in Europe started hearing his production work, he felt sure that higher profile DJ bookings and record-release offers would come his way.

He was right. In the three years since his "New Joob" single came out, Samuel has moved to Seattle and linked up with four other labels, including Tektite, Emoticon, and cutting-edge German outfits Deep Night Essentials and Trapez, releasing half a dozen new singles along the way. Samuel's most recent work deftly straddles the boundaries between house and techno. Far from the chugging club thumpers usually heard on West Sixth, most of his tunes maintain a delicate interplay between rhythm and texture. Robotic twitters and chirps zip around precisely timed cymbal clicks and drum kicks, imitating the complex pandemonium of some gigantic, well-synchronized assembly line, steadily churning out its own unconscious rhythm. The occasional deep, dubby bass lines Samuel uses add a hip-swiveling appeal to the otherwise cerebral creations, making Samuel one of the few DJs able to work brains and backsides in equal measure.

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