Lee Burridge is indeed a man of mystery. By day, he is a normal guy who plays with his Microsoft Xbox, goes to the movies and occasionally whips up a culinary feast for friends. He goes to the gym, runs and even tries to eat healthily. Come nightfall, he transforms into his alter ego: a wildly popular international DJ known and loved by all. Former don of the Hong Kong club scene, Burridge has a reputation synonymous with incredible musical creativity and amazing club parties.
Originally from Hampshire in the UK, Burridge has spent 20 years demonstrating his unique synthesis of progressive tech house and acid breaks in almost every major club from Israel to America and Asia to South Africa. In 2002, he was named the No. 10 DJ in DJ magazine's “Top 100” poll — a fair showing for a bloke whose early-'80s gigs included running a mobile disco at weddings and birthdays.
Coming into his own in the '90s, Burridge spent six years playing hedonistic 12-hour parties — that often went on for an arduous six days in one week — at premier clubs in Hong Kong. The man who organized the first-ever rave in Hong Kong, Burridge also played riotous sessions at the Full Moon Parties of Ko Phangan in Thailand, where pristine beaches meet hardcore clubbers and all-night dance-athons. But meeting visiting DJs Sasha and Craig Richards in Hong Kong led Burridge back to the UK and into an infamous ongoing Fabric residency, starting in 1999, as the notorious Tyrant duo with Richards. More high-profile gigs followed, as did the critically acclaimed albums Nubreed (2001) and 24:7 (2003), both on Global Underground.
Currently on his 365 tour, Burridge is in Singapore for a set at Zouk, Asia's most famous club. While in town, Burridge drops by Roxy Records & Trading, one of Singapore's premier dance-music stores. Burridge instinctively heads for the crates of fresh records that lie in a corner of the store. “I don't really have a strategy when I'm looking for new tracks,” he admits. “Usually, dance records come and go very quickly, so it's always great if there's generally a broad selection of records around.”
With an eclectic passion for new music, Burridge is always on the lookout for additions to his impressive arsenal of diverse records. Growing up in an environment with “an awful mixture of pop music, Dire Straits and jukebox classics from my parents' pub,” Burridge says, he has developed an avid interest in all forms of music, including classic rock, hip-hop and even opera. Hunting for the latest records has taken on an importance akin to daily hygiene. “I spend a lot of time — a really big chunk of the week — listening to music because I really like to find new tracks all the time,” Burridge says. “I think there are some DJs who are happy playing the same tracks for a few months, but I personally have a very high turnover of music.”
Feverishly examining the boxes with lightning-quick fingers, he carefully selects the following records after some deliberation:
“Linedriver (Sascha Funke Remix)” (Areal)
This label has put out some supernasty music in the last few years, but this is a huge deviation from the path of evil! Ada's album [Blondie] was released earlier this year, and this track has been lifted from there. It has a slightly familiar-sounding vocal reminding me of an old Belouis Some record called “Imagination” while the track itself has a gentle melodic beauty to it. It's a real slow burner adding little loops and percussion parts to it as it heads towards a spacious dropout where the vocal rejoins the track. This is the part of the track I like the most, as the spacious effects and vocal are replaced by a kick and little bleepy loop — gorgeous hypno-house with a summer feel.
“Idealistic (Voyage Mix)” (Kitsuné)
This is a beast, and after hearing it a few times, it really gets inside you. A splatty kick drum and slapping groove lead into a very German-sounding, fat synth bass line. A vocalist who fell into a fish tank attempts to gargle the words, “I have an idea that you were here,” and off we go with that slapping groove again until a sweet live electric-guitar section slides in. This track chugs along, drops out and throws the whole lot into the mix again and somehow, without any real driving parts, blows the roof off.
“Dirty Freak” (UMM)
Badass — it's a fair description of this track. I think it's been around a little while, as I've been playing it off CD. The hats are fierce from the off, and the analog bass line fills the room when it drops. This is hands-down fatness of the highest order, but I must ask the question, “What is a dirty freak?” The guy in the track keeps asking me if I want one.
“Pass This On (M.A.N.D.Y Knifer Mix)” (Rabid)
I've been a huge fan of M.A.N.D.Y and their Physical label for several years, and this remix is the shit. A twisted steel drum introduces us to the track, and a very subtle but tough bass line joins in to rock the show. M.A.N.D.Y have kept snippets of the original vocal, which work well in a fashionable '80s way with the end product being something that makes me look forward to the weekend even more. The original mix and The Knife album are also worth checking out.
“Disco Infiltrator” (DFA)
LCD Soundsystem are dope! Go see them live if you can; you won't regret it. These are actually the remixes I'm listening to, and it's Francois K who's up. The FK dub is the one that caught my attention. Subtle and linear, it drops a very simple percussive loop around three minutes, leading the way to it slowly opening up with other little drum parts, a drifting synth, fractions of the vocal and a very groovy synth bass. Hypno-house alert!
“What Day Is It?” (Playtime)
Mike Monday must have a whole team of himself working in the studio, as it seems you can't turn around right now without seeing his name somewhere. It's only going to get worse — or better, should I say — as he's on fire right now. This is on Mike's own label and is a sordid little acid-house number with a squelch and wiggle in its ass. It twists and turns, and although its percussion is simple, it works you over. What day is it? Monday, of course!
“Wanna Get Wet (Buick Project Remix)” (RIP)
This is naughty. One thing I really dig with the Buick Project is, they don't use tempo to get a result but, instead, very crisp drums and funk to move the dancefloor. This one is pretty slow, and I must admit, I'll probably play it a little faster. It's a breakbeat thing that's groovy with a vocoded voice that slips into a 4/4 groove. A few twists to the vocal, and then comes the tough kick and acid screechy combo. This is subtle but very effective acid house perfect for a dark afterhours session. I have noticed that the vocals sound like, “We want to get wanker, wanker,” though, whatever the hell that means!
AV EP (Elettrica)
This EP has four tracks to choose from, and hiding on the B-side is a track called “I Wanna Be Your Everything.” It's a slinking-bongo lead-vocal track with a very cool dubby bass line and an almost proggy feel to it. Throw in some little acid squelches and some moans and groans of pleasure lifted from a hotel room pay-per-view porn film and voilà! You'll get one of those tracks you always get asked the name of.
Roxy Records & Trading; 5 Coleman St., No. 02-15 Excelsior Shopping Centre, Singapore 179805; 65-6337-7783;firstname.lastname@example.org