With the regrettable 2010s now behind us, it seems only appropriate to cleanse ourselves with a fiesta over at Club Space spurred by Luciano. The Swiss-Chilean producer, DJ, and Cadenza Records label founder performs like a Julliard conductor who spent one night at Amnesia in Ibiza and swapped their baton for turntables. While many DJs prefer the ubiquitous two CDJs and a mixer for spinning, Luciano — real name Lucien Nicolet —unloads his sound through four channels via the DJ program, Traktor.
Each channel borrows from different songs that, with some elbow grease, blend together to make a mesmerizing track full of Latin flair and an idiosyncratic tech-house sound. A bass line is sampled from one track, a euphoric synth part is tossed in, a vocal from another channel is faded in with an infinite loop of teetering hi-hats; the sum total of it all will make your Shazam app implode on itself if you’re searching for a track ID. Luciano’s all-encompassing blend of tech-house along with his strong sense of heritage makes him a commendable booking for any club: He could play LIV, Club Space, or even Ball & Chain, and make each respective crowd dance until the morning hours.
When looking to the future of electronic music, it appears Luciano turns to the past of different genres: Pink Floyd’s “The Show Must Go On” was dropped during his set at Time Warp 2013 with an acerbic spiral delay and pounding bass. In his 2011 Essential Mix, the audacious vocals to Brittany Spears’ “Toxic” were interwoven amongst hissing hi-hats.
I was hooked by Luciano during the second weekend of Ultra 2013 while I was still primarily an EDM fiend. During that balmy night, Luciano played a remix of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and the classic 1993 track “20 HZ” by Capricorn, the uplifting melody of which captures you before a paroxysm of drums ensues; perfect for a rhythm-hunger Miami crowd.
Where DJs find comfort in bass and kicks, Luciano finds home in the avant-garde: Bongos are looped for over 20 minutes in one set; an old muffled aria is used in his track “Cachai”; a piercing sitar is used in his track “Amael Drama”; and for one track, he recorded a street performer singing in Mexico. In a 2013 talk for the non-profit organization Bridges for Music, Luciano described the recording in a nonchalant manner: “This is a voice that I recorded with my phone when I found this guy singing in the streets of Mexico; I recorded it, put it on my label, and now play it.”
It is common for Luciano to weave tracks in and out of his sets, as depicted in the embedded show that took place at the Surfcomber during Winter Music Conference in 2016. Be sure to look out for “Dope” by Butch and the biggest tease in electronic music, Butric’s “Up.” Like his counterpart, the German-Chilean DJ and producer, Ricardo Villalobos (who has not played in Miami in the last 16 years) or the writer Kurt Vonnegut for that matter, time is a non-linear illusion; Luciano and Villalobos can produce tracks that range from 15 minutes up to 30 minutes. Similarly, during a set, a drum pattern or melody may play for 20+ minutes, but it becomes so ingrained into the set that you only notice it until its muted. It’s akin to a chef adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to a dish to amplify the whole plate.
In the aforementioned 2013 discussion, Luciano said, “Being creative is being able to make something out nothing. I have more respect for a DJ who is not technical but has a great taste in music than someone who can play a technical set. The soul of music is the music itself—it’s the whole difference.”
Luciano has refined his technique as an intrepid Ibiza DJ, having played at the now-closed Space Ibiza and Richie Hawtin’s retired Enter party series in Ibiza. He’s also well-known for his festive Vagabundo’s party, which now hosts a residency over at Amnesia in Ibiza. The party series does go on the road and has been hosted in Spain, France, Russia, and even the South Beach nightlife hub Story. In 2012, Luciano partnered with semi-well-known guitarist and songwriter Lenny Kraviz to play a hybrid set in Ibiza at the “Rocktronic” festival Ibiza123. Luciano provided bass and saxophone rifts from his laptop as Kravitz and his band played a soulful sound.
The versatility and brio of Luciano make him an excellent fit for Club Space. This will be a reunion of sorts, as Luciano was one of the first DJs to play at the club after it fell under new ownership. When the light penetrates through the rooftop on Sunday morning, Luciano is sure to inject a hotblooded sound into the nervous system of Miami’s club culture.