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Mixing it Up: A year after the Grove, Bend's DJ roster is as strong as ever 

Hey mr. Dj.The mix tape. You made them on your twin cassette boombox with your massive ear goggle headphones in your locked bedroom. They were

click to enlarge Hey mr. Dj.
  • Hey mr. Dj.
Hey mr. Dj.The mix tape. You made them on your twin cassette boombox with your massive ear goggle headphones in your locked bedroom. They were two sided, magnetic labors of love. The goal was to amass a cohesive and unique string of tracks that made for perfect listening - it was all the music that was fit to go on tape.

The venerable DJs of Bend are debuting their mix tapes ("mix CDs" actually, but "mix tape" is much cooler to say) and obviously the product they're peddling is far more expertly produced and artistically presented than what you threw together on your ghettoblaster - but the idea is still there. Almost a year after the closing of the Grove, the unofficial (or perhaps official) nest of Bend's DJ culture, the familiar DJ names reappear at the Tulen Center for a two-room show to display their new wares.

One of Bend's elder statesmen of the ones and twos, Brian Barisone (DJ Barisone), just finished up work on his mix tape aptly titled "Boombox," and sat down to talk before heading over to the PoetHouse for an Elevate Underground Art Festival fundraiser that featured the return of fellow beatsmith DJ Lacuna.

"I just try to give people a little of what they want and a little of what they should want and hopefully you can turn people on to some stuff that they don't know about and that they'll really enjoy," Barisone says of his aim of serving as the musical equivalent of the sommelier with "Boombox."

On the mix, which he created partially during a trip to Hawaii and part here in Bend, Barisone dives deep into the world music that has been his influence as of late. He ties the 66-minute seamless cut ("I looked at it like making an hour-long beat," he says of the project) together with the Barisone groove that became a staple of the dance parties he's been presiding over in town for the past several years.

Chris Lohrey, the former co-owner of the Grove who still keeps the club's name alive through Grove Presents, goes by the name DJ Smoke and is also debuting his "Diaspora" mix on Saturday night. Lohrey has earned a reputation as a party guru of sorts in Bend, and has as tight of a grip on the local music scene as anyone in town. That's why when he says the state of Bend DJs is strong, it's worth believing - even if he himself just so happens to be a DJ.

"Everyone is at the top of their game and I would put them up against anyone, anywhere," Lohrey says of the fraternity of DJs that has assembled under his watch over the years.

"Bend has been very lucky to have a number of really great DJs and we've been blessed with a very close-knit relationship between us with tons of mutual respect and admiration," he says.

Barisone seems to agree with the sentiment and says the prevalence of cross-fading all-stars in Bend only works to improve the quality his work and that of others. Aside from Smoke and Barisone, the Tulen Center release party bill also bears familiar names like DJs Swett and Moksha as well as Mark Rada.

"I want to impress those guys. It's a little bit of healthy competition, that's at least how I see it," Barisone says.

Just a little friendly mix tape battle, that's all.

Mixtape Release Party
featuring: DJ Swett, DJ Moksha, DJ Barisone, Mark Rada, DJ Smoke10pm Saturday, July 12. Tulen Center, 20 NW Greenwood Ave. $10 (includes a mix CD). 21 and over.


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