Show Review: estoc at Barn Radio

The DJ’s song transitions keep the attention locked on the person working the four CD-Js.

Estoc (Bandcamp)

The modern DJ can ill afford to remain wedded to one genre. Our collective attention span has shrunk too far, and there is way too much easily accessible music out there for listeners to easily accept a set that rides along a single BPM or style.

It’s little wonder then why Northwest-bred, Philly-based DJ estoc has found such success in the electronic music underground. An agnostic approach to building a set comes naturally to her, as does a keen understanding of how to set the tone in whatever room she’s spinning.

Her six-hour set at Barn Radio, the humble downtown club that has become a hub for Portland’s dance music community, matched the energy of the space. With only a handful of acolytes on hand when doors opened, she melted together a heady blend of colorful drones and synth whorls through which some familiar territory—her mashup of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps” with a DJ Lostboi remix, the chorus of Zedd’s “Clarity”—emerged.

As the numbers of bodies and the amount of dry ice smoke increased, so did the tempo of the set. But even then, estoc refused to stay still. She didn’t jump from deep house to electro to dubstep so much as she slipped from one to the next by way of short ambient interludes, quick hits of the familiar like an electronic take on Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” or the hook from “Pump Up the Jam” or, daringly, brief moments of silence.

Those transition points may have snapped dancers out of their reverie, but they also kept the attention locked on the person working the four CD-Js. As estoc kept a firm hand on the leash, all we had to do was blissfully follow where she led us.

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