Claude VonStroke plays Billie Jean, NYC from Dancetracks on Vimeo.

Michael Jackson fever may have already put you into overload, but 24-hour news channels aside, there’s still something powerful about the musical legacy people leave and the way it can become a shared experience. It’s something ineffable, well beyond the reach of words – but it can be something you get from a musical moment.

So you can imagine the feeling in the room Saturday night at New York’s summer-only Water Taxi Beach when Claude VonStroke played his own edit of Billie Jean. dancetracks got some video footage, but they tell us that the feeling in the room barely comes across in the video — a crowd going wild like New York’s clubland hasn’t seen in ages. (VonStroke owns Dirtybird and Mothership and is making his own mark on the American musical scene.)

VonStroke apparently finished his club-friendly edit on Amtrak from Boston down to New York the day of the gig, working entirely in Ableton Live.

It was striking to me, too, to hear from guys like Quincy Jones, whose work had one of the greatest impacts on the sound of the 20th Century of anyone, talking about Jackson’s musical talent. It’s tough to know, sometimes, what to make of Michael Jackson the person – least of all when he’s a distant celebrity. But as the global reach of music spreads further and further down the long tail, and as we even wonder if this kind of superstardom will ever happen again, at least the impact of the music is without question.

Claude VonStroke Plays Billie Jean, Club Goes Crazy []

  • Either that girl is having the best time of her life, or is being murdered.

  • M.

    Very nice, looks like it was wild. Am I crazy, or… that sounds alot like the basic studio track.

  • Yeah, it IS basically the studio track — it's just an edit. Listen closely, though, and he's beefed up the beats. It's like a half-remix. 😉 But it worked.

  • Justin Reed

    that edit is much faster then the original…time stretched….you can hear the warble in some of the vocals. also he has extended the breaks. Nice. Love how CVS mixes different styles with his SF signature sounds.

    I had a chance to mix "don't stop till you get enough", "Smooth Criminal" and "wanna be startin somethin" into a house set over the weekend. Timeless classics for me.

  • Jammo

    That is amazing. Big big respect CVS for putting that together, only wish I had been there to hear it in person.

  • art

    About a year ago I read an interview with (I think it was…) Gui Boratto where he said his peak of the gig, dancefloor destroying secret trick was to layer 4 bars of Billy Jean under one of his songs. When everybody in the club had gotten to the point where they were going totally crazy with energy and there was nowhere left to go, he would turn it up to 11 and drop that in underneath and then the whole place would just freaking explode.

    It is cool to see the crowd's reaction in that clip, but you have to think that part of it is everyone remembering Michael and already being pretty emotional about it.

    Gui's use of the track was out of nowhere, with MJ being considered (sadly) a mostly a washed up punchline at that time in the popular view… and just a snippet of that track, with zero context, could still absolutely wreck a dancefloor.


  • well….

    Nothing re-worked in this "remix"

    Everybody can do this, put the Mp3 on Ableton Live…

    Seriously…if one day i make this…i shot myself…

  • Yea, i agree with the Fractal, I cannot hear much of any editing going on in that clip. I think I heard maybe 2 splices.

    Leave the edits to the disco guys. They do a lot more than what was displayed here.

    Nevertheless, the original 4 bar groove of Billie Jean with that bassline and crisp drums is unstoppable head boppin' funkiness bliss.

  • DJ Tree

    As peter said it was an edit not a remix.