James Zabiela

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 May, 2009, 12:00am

Volar, May 27, 10pm

Technical wizard James Zabiela has taken the art of DJing to another level. He is one of a new generation of DJs who have embraced technology to layer beats and sounds in a way that can't be done by simply using 12-inch vinyl and twin turntables.

Zabiela uses a laptop, effects units, CDs and other gadgets to mesh his own blend of house, breakbeat and techno. Not that he travels light without all that vinyl: his kit includes a range of digital equipment that allows him to cut up tracks live and sample loops that he feeds back into his set to weave a musical journey that's different every time. Such is his proficiency that he's been hired by gadget giant Pioneer to demonstrate the capabilities of its new machines.

Named best British DJ at the 2007 DJ Mag awards, Zabiela got his break in 2003 after he gave a tape to Lee Burridge, the former Hong Kong DJ ushered to stardom by the legendary Sasha. Burridge passed the tape on to his mentor who promptly signed Zabiela to his agency, Excession. The same tape won the young talent Muzik Magazine's Bedroom Bedlam competition.

Zabiela (above) is a fixture in the world's clubbing capitals, holding residences at Space Ibiza and Pacha New York, and touring the world. He stops off in Hong Kong during an Asian tour that also takes him to Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, before moving on to Australia.

He has been busy in the studio too. Besides recording his own dance-floor smashes and releasing compilations through the iconic Renaissance series, he has done remixes for everyone from Royksopp to Depeche Mode. His 2006 re-rub of Seal Clubbing by Charlie May vs Sasha was a seminal hit. His singles include Robophobia, Weird Science and Human.

But the best experience is to watch this blur of human creativity live and see that a machine is nothing without a human at the helm.

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