Screen in DJ magazine
no83/vol2 10-23feb2001

Words: Alex Griffiths
Photos: by Daniel Newman. 
Screen @ DJ magazineMidwinter in Finland's capital and it's zero-degree Disneyland of lights and ornate architectural grandeur covered in fresh snow. The frosted magic is especially apparent in the Kaivopuisto Park, down on the waterfront, a short drive from the ferries that carry increasing numbers of young people to the now independent and currently rave-crazed Estonia. Sitting picturesquely in the snow blanket, beneath a skeletal congregation of trees, is tonight's venue Ravintola Kaivohuone, doing its best to look like some gentleman's country club. The search lights spinning skywards, however, give the game away.

Dave Seaman is here to inject some winter warmth into the aptly Renaissance-esque surroundings of club Screen, one of Helsinki's finest features, so called because of the large - yep - screen onto which promoter and VJ Micko projects his explosively improvised video collages.

When you find a club that concentrates as much on visuals as it does the music, you immediately wonder; whatever happened to the VJ in Britain? It could have been different - the early 90's hailed the arrival of the video jockey as a creative force in clubbing. Now you just don't hear about them. They exist, they're just not stars.

In Finland things are a little different. VJs are billed on flyers the same as any DJ, and VJ Micko, who makes music videos and TV ads by day, is an example of the Finn's respect for purveyors if superior eye candy. Paving the dancefloor with a frantic crowd in time for Seaman is Micko's partner, promoter and DJ Mad Jay, who also mixed the the recent 'Screen' compilation - Screen being the first Finnish club to indulge in this particular superclub side venture.

It's certainly looking good on the dancefloor at Screen, with the emphasis on looking. Not down-talking the music, of course, but while Mad Jay slowly coaxes the crowd with his spotless selection of tribal grooves and chunky progressive house, Micko blends and fast-cuts in real-time bold cinematic images and iconography with frequent explosions and massive fireballs. Independence Day is one of the movies being chopped tonight and it strikes me, in this time of fear and loathsome presidents, dancing while the White House disintegrates in a ball of flames and flying glass is a terribly civilised way of spending a night out. Aside from the Playstation 2 room, there are more old school amusements; roulette and a craps table with uniformed croupiers - also extremely civilised.
The kids, meanwhile, don't give a damn about civilised. They're here for a rid, and as Seaman is greeted with an immense, devotional roar, the floor begins to bloat with the exodus of from the round tables in the lounge. Setting a deep pounding note early on, Seaman takes the increasingly chaotic crowd through epic, sweeping swathes of pure, funky progressive house, while a blue-tinted, computer-generated, disembodied girl's face circles and periodically explodes on the screen.
It's delicious controlled mayhem until the end when Seaman unleashes a couple of pleasers, a blissfully tranced-out 'Autumn Leaves' and a couple of heavier, techier cuts. He ends the vintage Da Silva, at the time the cusp of No. 1 with 'Touch Me', while on screen huge stone letters reading 'Dave Seaman' repeatedly detonate in great ballons of flame.