|Music. Nicky Siano's "The Gallery"|
As might be obvious from our history of reviews and features, music is a subject we hardly touch upon - tastes are just too manifold. Whenever we have a subject from this sphere, it surely has something to do with design or any other 'side-effects' also.
For today's feature we are visiting New York between the years 1972 and 1977. This was the time of the now legendary club The Gallery. Nicky Siano was the man behind it. Behind the club and behind the decks. Nicky Siano revolutionized the technique of mixing records - but also the status of the DJ in the music business in general. He was not only playing other people's records but also produced his own tunes - many of them dancefloor classics today.
Adrian Darby will let you take a closer look at what made Nicky Siano so legendary, he will tell us about the people around him, and most importantly, what Nicky is up to today. Read the story about The Gallery which New York Magazine called "one of the five most visually breathtaking nightspots of our time" where Grace Jones and Loleatta Holloway both made their debut appearances.
Have you ever argued over a beer or three who is, or was, the best DJ to walk this planet? Naturally this would depend on the genre, but if you’re talking about when the DJ culture was first emerging the name would probably be Nicky Siano.
After years of coaxing, Siano has finally released a compilation CD capturing his legendary sets at The Gallery in New York, where he could be found at the end of the evening mixing with his feet -- partly because he was so hammered he couldn’t stand up.
The CD is steeped in quality: from the opening track ‘Can’t Stop Talking’ by Jeanie Browne, through to the final laid-back funk jam of ‘ Little Bit of Love’ by Brenda and The Tabulations, it’s oozing with underground classics.
Siano got into Djing very early and, as young as 16, was blagging his way into David Mancuso’s The Loft. Mancuso inspired him to open The Gallery in 1972 aged only 17, and the club lasted for five incredible years. During that time it was the place in New York City -- where you could find DJ legends Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles handing out acid in between blowing up balloons!
The pinnacle of Siano’s career was when Steve Rubell of Studio 54 fame asked Siano to be one of the original resident DJs at the club, although he ended up being sacked in 1978, for playing Kraftwerk’s "Trans Europe Express" in its entirety.
Siano left the 70s with a prodigious drug habit, and spent most of the 80s and 90s devoted to working for AIDS related causes. Thankfully for us, he’s now back with a vengeance and can be heard rocking the discothèque on Friday the 1st of October at The Electrowerkz in London for one night only.
This new CD package includes text, original photos and a CD-R of a film made about ‘The Gallery’, which is out in October on the very fine Soul Jazz Records. Yes, in case you were wondering this is where all the madness started.
Adrian J W Darby for Beinghunted.
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