By Christopher John Treacy
The Boston Herald
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Deep Dish, a knob-twiddling Iranian-American duo from D.C., has carved a career out of fusing past and present in dance remixes of pop songs by Janet Jackson and Depeche Mode.
Now the DJ team of Ali Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi has unleashed a classic rock surprise on its new CD, “George Is On,” in stores today.It boasts a guest vocal from Stevie Nicks on what was originally intended to be an instrumental reworking of the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams.”
How did the Dishes persuade rock goddess Nicks to belt out a new vocal take for their album?
“Actually, she required no persuading at all,” said Tayebi. “We sent her a demo of our instrumental for approval and she apparently found it inspiring.”
Soon after, Tayebi and Shirazeni were at the Village Studios in Los Angeles with Nicks in the vocal booth.
“She felt it was more appropriate to put down a new vocal,” Tayebi said, “so as to make it a true reinterpretation. Fooling around with the original would be like messing with the Holy Grail. With (our version), she’s hoping to introduce the song to a whole new generation.”
That’s why club goers may now find themselves dancing to a Fleetwood Mac song, of all things, in places such as Axis, where Deep Dish spins tonight.
Today, it’s no longer considered enough for career DJs to subsist on remixing the work of others. The expectation is that they’ll supplement their manipulations with original music.
In this way “George Is On” – aviator’s lingo for being on autopilot – is a follow-up to Deep Dish’s first disc of original music, 1998’s “Junk Science.”
“It’s really a continuation,” Tayebi said. “The basic concept is to incorporate our influences into new productions. Stylistically speaking, it’s not rooted in any one place. There are elements of straight house, garage house, techno, ambient. It’s all in there.”
“George Is On” is refreshingly diverse, and the garage element Tayebi refers to adds a welcome edge absent from much mainstream dance music. It’s particularly pronounced in the gritty guitar riffs of the Euro-hit “Flashdance” (not the song from the movie), which features a sexy vocal from up-and-coming dance diva Anousheh.
“Some records just end up with a coarse texture like that. We try not to fiddle with the natural order of things, so if that’s how it sounds, we’re apt to leave it that way.”
But for this pair of DJs the temptation to bring past and present together usually outweighs any inclination to leave things alone. “George Is On” ends with “Flashing for Money,” a “mash-up” mix in which two songs are juxtaposed over one another. When Deep Dish seamlessly insinuate its own “Flashdance” into a classic rock chestnut by Dire Straits, you get a version of “Money For Nothing” you’ve never heard – or danced to – before.