Okay, it’s 1999, and you want to go out dancing but hip hop isn’t your thing. Desperate for culture and a reason to shed some energy, you talk to some in-the-know buddies who give you shady directions to an underground party in some random warehouse. When you arrive, its a scene right out of movie.

The warehouse is old, dark, dank as hell and probably not even close to fire code, the music blasting out of the speakers is crispy fresh and much “cooler” than anything you’ve ever heard from the radio, and a loving little sprite is floating about like a celestial body, watching the door, handling security, and making sure everyone is having a damn good time.

If you happened to do this in Memphis, that magical musical fairy was most likely Lorin Vincent (DJ Saturna), an explosive force who has gone to great lengths over the past 15 years to obtain, secure, and flourish in Memphis’ little-rave-scene-that-could. Packing more gumption than an astronaut in training and one of the loveliest voices to ever grace a gooey track, Vincent is a member of the Memphis Music Club well worth familiarizing yourself with.

Vincent had an early calling to be a vocalist, and honed her craft during her adolescence. As she got older, the call of a good time started ringing, and her love of music would spill out into other venues. “I heard about Mongo’s [a now-closed Memphis Bar] in high school, and [my friends and I] would go and drink the crappy beer… but then very quickly I realized—I loved this music.”

DJing, promotion, and full-on event organization—you name it, and Vincent had her hand in it as long as it provided aid to the culture. Throughout the ’90s and a good portion of the last decade, Vincent, in tandem with Memphis dance aficionados like Brad Johnson and Jason Witnesse Sims, would throw monumental events, giving Memphis a reason to shake ass till the break of dawn. Through the crash of the rave culture and the advent of having a child, the music would never die out. Vincent continued to DJ and nurture the culture, being personally responsible for bringing in underground house legends like Phil Asher and Domu to the local scene.

After years of throwing parties and being stretched in several different directions, Vincent decided to focus her efforts and follow her life’s passion of being a vocalist. She sat down with long-time Memphis DJ and producer Musaria and got to work. “I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. It was the first song I’d ever written; it was my first time singing in a studio.”

Hearing her say this is almost convincing, however any notion you’d have that the song would carry any amateur-hour vibes is immediately dashed after listening to the jam. The track plays as a chilled-out house beat with melancholic vocals melodies that sit atop smooth jazzy chords and a bass base based on a locked grove. Her vocal talent works off of the steady rhthym and chord progression with a quality that pierces through the mix akin to a well-trained brass intsrumentalist. Soon after the release, UK producer AtJazz opted to doctor a remix. Within weeks, tons of unexpected buzz came from the other side of the world (literally). “I started to have all these people add me on facebook… from South Africa.” Oddly enough, the polyrhythm hosted in AtJazz’s remix caught hold of DJ’s all around South Africa, who put it in constant rotations and boosted it out of the dark halls of dance music obscurity.

Saturna’s portfolio is ever-expanding. Her most recent release is the ear stretching “Rest In Power” featuring a beat built by Jazzmattik (JazzPoetix). The deep house track is a landscape of jazz chords speaking through pad textures punctuated by the punch of the swingin’ kick. Polyrhythmic kit work dances in the background while the vocal melody swirls through the mix like an orbiting moon. Remixes from Carlos Mena and Dazikue are on the horizon only adding reason to spin the catchy jam. With new tracks a plenty and releases set for Juicy Lucy Records as well as Drizzle Music, it’s clear that the meteor she’s riding isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Of all the electronic stars in Memphis’ musical sky, Saturna is easily one of the brightest points of light. She’s a fantastic conversationalist who oozes sincerity towards the music she is passionate about and anyone who would care to hear of it. Of immense talent and a comforting smile, she’s a member of the Memphis Music Club you’ll want to cozy up to, if only to gank some of her abundant warmth. 

 

Words: Charles Grey

Photo: Jamie Harmon