Sun, 15 Jun 2003

DJ Cattaneo leads the masses at Sentul party

Joseph Mangga, Contributor, Jakarta

The directions were kind of vague, and the map was even more so.

Get off the Jagowari toll road at the Sentul circuit off-ramp, turn left through the racetrack, then follow an indistinct and unmarked road that winds its way into some foothills lying on the outer fringes of the dormant Mount Gede volcano.

Then somewhere, an unspecified number of kilometers further, there's a hilltop named Hambalang where this all-night dance rave is supposed to happen.

It was dubbed the Clubhoppers-Renaissance "Out High" party, and boasted an impressive lineup of top local DJs (including Agoose, Romy, Anton, Reynald, Naro and Teddy). The event also boasted Argentinean DJ Hernan Cattaneo as the main attraction.

Currently rated 19th in the world on DJ Magazine's reader's poll, Cattaneo recently shot to worldwide fame with his simply titled remix collection South America, released on Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label.

Touted by many as "the next Sasha!", Cattaneo has enjoyed high-profile residencies at Pasha and Cream, and will soon be releasing a new remix collection with Renaissance.

In an earlier MTV interview, conducted at 91.45 Indika Radio, one of the event's sponsors, Cattaneo told the story of starting out playing dance records at home for his friends, before realizing that he could also make deejaying a profession.

He started playing at Pasha, one of the biggest clubs in South America, and in 1995 was invited by Paul Oakenfold, the world's most famous and successful DJ, to play in Europe. With London as his base, he now travels the world playing clubs

"We DJs are a blessed people. We do what we most love. We travel the world. We meet nice people. There must be something that's not good; it's too perfect to be real. Traveling is the job.

"That's the job! Sometimes you travel 14 hours and you play for two. I'm really waiting for molecular teleportation, you know? 'Beam me up Scotty?' I'm in Jakarta ... engage ... now I'm in London. It's been a long time I'm waiting for that ...!"

Bouncing along the deserted West Java road, we were all wishing that Scotty could somehow beam us straight to wherever the party was located.

Then someone spotted a glimmer of light, several kilometers off in the distance. We rounded a corner, then finally saw the secluded hilltop, spectacularly spewing streams of searchlights and multicolored lasers in virtually every direction. As we drew closer, pounding house music from a massive sound system slowly grew louder. We parked the car and hiked the last few hundred meters to our final destination, the top of Bukit Hambalang.

The panorama was breathtaking, looking down upon the lights of Bogor and the Ciliwung River valley. The hill itself was like a natural amphitheater, with evenly spaced grassy terraces for sitting, standing or dancing.

Drinks and food were available at several cash bars and counters, and wild computerized animation spastically danced upon a massive screen set beside the stage.

So there we were, over a hundred kilometers south of Jakarta, on an isolated hilltop, far removed from all the city's hustle and bustle; along with a lineup of top local DJs, 100,000 watts of sound and a transplanted load of Jakarta's most committed clubbers.

The crowd was still pretty thin, but by 2 a.m. the ranks had swollen to what organizers estimated at more than 4,000. Wearing a green T-shirt and with a head of shaggy hair, Cattaneo played a great and uplifting four-hour set that transformed the hilltop into a weaving mass of motion, like some freshly awakened volcano that was just about to finally blow its top.

Singaporean-Indian percussionist M.S. Maniam then joined Cattaneo with several inspired jams. As the DJ spun and weaved, Maniam hammered out polyrhythms with unbelievable speed on his beloved copper djembe (a form of Egyptian drum).

At the climax of the evening, the organizers unleashed a lengthy fireworks display, which was somehow fully synchronized with the pulsating beats and emotion of the house music.

Night gave way to light, as DJ Naro took over from Agoose, and a golden dawn slowly enveloped the hilltop. Exhausted, but satiated, we had a hard time believing we had been there for more than five hours.

Everyone began to pile into various vehicles, and slowly maneuver their way through the ridiculous gridlock of chaotically parked cars. Nobody seemed upset or in too big a hurry. It was a morning well worth savoring after such a long and memorable night "Out High".