Koen Galle - Kong DJ

Cassiel Gaube: Farmer Train Swirl / Étude
My collaboration with contemporary dancer and P.A.R.T.S. (Rosas) graduate Cassiel Gaube and his performance 'Farmer Train Swirl / Étude': December 07, 2019 at C12 Brussels.

In December 2019 my interest in contemporary dance led to inviting contemporary dancer Cassiel Gaube to C12, a nightclub and my DJ home base in the center of Brussels. Cassiel Gaube is a P.A.R.T.S. graduate, which is the dance school founded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. About 6 months earlier, I had seen him perform ‘Farmer Train Swirl / Étude’ in art center deSingel in Antwerp, his kinesthetic and subjective investigation of the field of house dance. Impressed by what I had witnessed, I proposed Cassiel to move the piece out of a theater setting and onto the dance floor of a club, where I believed it would fit well. Cassiel replied positively and after many hours of work, a sold-out main room of C12 saw his beautiful performance. I took the role of the DJ in the predominantly silent piece playing the one and only record. Previously cued by an invisible technician using a digital pre-edited file, the music was now coming from my vinyl record and we had meticulously created a script on how to introduce it into the performance by manipulating the fader and equalization knobs of the DJ mixing table.

When I first witnessed Cassiel's performance, I wasn't only touched by his movements, but also by the track he danced on: ‘The Shit Baby’ by Omar S. As a long-time admirer of the music by this illustrious house music producer from Detroit, I was perplexed to hear it in a contemporary dance performance. When we finally agreed on a date to present Cassiel's piece in C12, the club's booker Tom told us he was able to fly over Omar S for a DJ set the same night. As a result, during a cold November night in Brussels, Cassiel was able to perform in front of Omar S, who generously showed his appreciation after the performance. Later that night Omar and I played records for several hours in the packed club, until the early morning light. It was one of those nights when all the stars aligned, when every soul in the building had a good time and moved their feet, hips, arms and every other element of the body eligible, whether part of a crowd under the spell of electronic music or as a solo dancer performing marvelous contemporary dance. 

In his performance ‘Farmer Train Swirl / Étude’, Cassiel Gaube first dances about 25 minutes in total silence. The main room of C12, by default filled with loud music and the crowd’s murmuring, now was fully focused on every gesture and move of the dancer, only distracted by the sound of a beer bottle or delicate coughing. Usually mixing record after record, I now was quite nervous for my unusual DJ intervention, about to play just one vinyl record on the club’s potent sound system. On Cassiel’s request I handled the DJ mixer in such manner to first create an effect similar to the typical sound of a nightclub audible on the parking lot or at the entrance, muffled by the walls but previewing just enough to get excited for the night to come. Aligned with Cassiel’s choreography, after this building introduction sequence of about 90 seconds, I then fully blasted the track through the speakers. In the meantime Omar S’ bassline and piano play had reached full swing. From behind my DJ booth I could notice the audience collectively nod and realize, just as I had realized the first time I attended the performance, that the music had always been there, even when silence filled the air.

Thank you goes to team C12 (Tom, Mathieu, Kevin, Kevin, Aly, Jeremy, Pierre, Thomas, Aïssa, Max, ...), Nina from HIROS, Nina & Barbara, Antoine & Zéphir, and everyone else involved. And of course merci Cassiel for being such an inspiring creator and Clément for setting up the lighting.