Funky But Chic – Misstress Barbara’s CD Relentless Beats Vol. 2

Funky But Chic – Misstress Barbara’s CD Relentless Beats Vol. 2 – Brief Article

Simona Rabinovitch

Byline: Simona Rabinovitch

“I have a recipe,” says Misstress Barbara about the unique flavor of her hard, funky techno sets. “I start funky, and once I get the people comfy, I go darker. They’re totally into the mental groove of it already. At the end, I go deeper and smooth and melodic because I want people to breathe.”

Misstress Barbara used a similar approach when putting together tracks for her latest Moonshine DJ-mix CD, Relentless Beats Vol. 2 (2002). The 23-track compilation takes listeners on a journey that covers the gamut of today’s de rigueur techno styles. “There’s a moment of ’80s-sounding stuff, a moment of Latin stuff, a moment of tribal stuff,” says Barbara. “I changed my mind many times when creating the final mix. I wanted to create an intelligent feeling in the story, which I achieved by grouping tracks according to style.”

Born in Sicily, Italy, and currently a resident of Montreal, Quebec, Misstress Barbara has appeared in DJ booths in clubs around the world. Since trading in her drum kit for a pair of decks in 1996, Misstress Barbara’s “drummy, funky, pumping techno” has earned her accolades as one of the world’s most acclaimed techno DJs. She has put out releases on Carl Cox’s In-Tec imprint, and her MB01 (Trust the DJ Records Online, 2001) mix CD, available only from her Website ( ), was named compilation of the month by Muzik magazine. The review likened Barbara to techno icons Dave Clarke and Luke Slater. The tireless 26-year-old also runs her own Relentless label, on which she released the EPs Endless Passion (1999) and Growing Pains (2001).

Although Barbara plays hard music, she describes her studio productions as funky: “I can’t do a superhard techno track. Not that I’m trying to get rid of my funk, but I wish sometimes I could do something more dark. It doesn’t come out of me.” She also produces house music, which she releases under the moniker Barbara Brown. Barbara is frustrated that her touring schedule (more than 120 dates per year) has prevented her from indulging in her usual two-week studio binges every six weeks. Located above her parents’ store in Montreal’s Little Italy district, Barbara’s studio includes an Akai S1000 sampler, a Novation Supernova, an E-mu Orbit module, a Roland Juno-106, a Korg MS2000 and a vintage Roland TR-909: “I was so excited to find that!” she gushes. Her effects units include an Alesis QuadraVerb and a Lexicon MPX 1.

Barbara started producing tracks in 1997, but her first release didn’t come out until 1999, after years of having her demos declined. One of her earliest successes was the First Reality EP (1999), which came out on Dave Angel’s Rotation imprint. One night, she went to a Montreal club to hear Angel spin. Without even saying a word, she handed him her tape in the DJ booth and took off. When the phone rang the next week, she was shocked to hear Angel on the line. “I was freaking out,” she says. And the rest is techno history.

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