Alain Macklovitch has a lot on his plate. Between running his own label, dropping singles, crafting DJ sets and still making time to cobble together the occasional remix, he is truly prolific.
Better known by his stage name, A-Trak, over the past decade his Fool’s Gold Records has established itself as a tastemaker by supporting a multitude of top-notch talent. The label has helped break such hip-hop heavyweights as Danny Brown, Brockhampton and Run the Jewels, while also championing respected producers from every corner of the scene, including RL Grime, Treasure Fingers, Giraffage and Flosstradamus.
One of his first major breaks came in 2004, when Kanye West discovered A-Trak. The two collaborated heavily on both Late Registration and Graduation.
Long before Macklovitch ever had any production credits to his name, however, he was just a kid behind two wheels of steel. Splicing together masterful DJ sets is still where he shows the most technical prowess, which is why his upcoming set at Pure Nightclub in Sunnyvale is a hot ticket.
Though he’s flirted with full-length releases in the past in the form of collaborations and hour-long DJ mixes, the Canadian producer has yet to release a proper LP. Nonetheless, he does have a masterful EP—Tuna Melt—along with many singles and collaborative releases to his name.
One such single, last month’s “DJs Gotta Dance More” is built around a recording of DJ legend Todd “The God” Terry recalling his beginnings as a young DJ in 1980s Brooklyn, scouring record stores for loops.
The track itself is an effective piece of house, propelled by a heavy kick drum and a singular piano melody that runs throughout. Over the course of the track’s 4-minute run time, Macklovitch plays a game of push and pull, introducing a multitude of claps, dirty low-end synthesizers and smaller vocal samples, before whisking them away to make room for something new.
A true DJ’s DJ, Macklovitch made sure to include variations of the new track. The single comes packaged with two alternate mixes, one by Glaswegian deep house duo Illyus & Barrientos and another original.
The “Cassius Burnin’ Mix” is an entirely new, monstrous 9-minute reimagining of the track built around that same vocal snippet. As if to stay true to its name, this one’s a slow burn. He uses a lot of the same tricks here, albeit with a new cadre of instruments and vocal samples.
The old adage might be true that the jack of all trades is the master of none, but Macklovitch puts forth a pretty good argument for simply doing what you love and letting the art speak for itself.
Nov 9, 10pm, $20+
Pure Nightclub, Sunnyvale