“Toronto is just a great clubbing town. It’s been like that for decades. People sincerely love electronic music in Toronto and we have had deep ties with the city since the dawning of our touring. We always step it up when we play Toronto.” ~~ Gabriel & Dresden
It’s no surprise that Gabriel and Dresden’s final performance at The Guvernment (Toronto’s previous top electronic music venue) in December of 2014, would be the catalyst for the duo’s “Classics Only” tour. That night Josh and Dave took us on an unforgettable dance down memory lane, where we were reminded of our electronic roots, and of moments that were seemingly locked in the music vaults of the past. It will forever remain as an incredibly magical memory in the corners of my music infused mind.
Fast forward 2 years later, and Gabriel and Dresden still cease to amaze fans with their steadfast talent and success that is synonymously associated with their “Classics Only” tour. Gabriel and Dresden pride themselves as being groundbreaking risk takers who shatter typical cliches that all too commonly define electronic dance music today. Since their inception, the duo has possessed an incredible ability and affinity to stay current and relevant in the industry thereby sustaining their popularity throughout electronic music history.
Delving deeper into the duo’s past we come to learn that Josh and Dave met quite organically at a Miami Winter Music Conference party in March of 2001, where Dave expressed interest in Josh’s first vinyl release, and encouraged Pete Tong to showcase it on his weekly Essential Selections program. From that point on, Josh and Dave facilely made a name for themselves by composing numerous remixes for such multifaceted artists as Paul Oakenfold, Sarah Mclachlan, Way Out West, Annie Lennox, and Jewel.
As far as personalities go, the pair seem to comfortably uphold a “yin and yang” type of musical partnership, where Dave’s “spur-of-the-moment” nature and Josh’s “grounding” attributes, give way to a perfectly balanced and complete relationship, which also allows for each to exclusively perform effortlessly without the other.
A quick biography on Josh, has us learning about his extensive level of education in the digital music field. He attended the Institute of Sonology in the Netherlands and the California Institute of the Arts in L.A. Throughout his vast educational repertoire Josh had many accomplishments to add to his resume, one in particular was his establishment of the music creation tool Mixman. Mixman was the first program to make music using loops of digital audio, Josh’s patents for this remixing program are the backbone of industry standard music making software applications used in virtually every producer’s studio today.
Gabriel and Dresden, consistently leave their fans in a state of “trance” and this past Sunday, August 14th was no exception, as fans boarded The River Gambler on a “Classics Only” boat cruise along Toronto’s Lake Ontario waters. Josh Gabriel made sure that regardless of his partner’s absence, he stepped up the “Gabriel and Dresden game” to incredible notches and although Dave was dearly missed, the crowd was not even remotely fussed. Josh took us once again, back to our electronic origins with mind blowing, heart thumping hits like “Tracking Treasure Down”, Andain’s “Beautiful Things”, “New Ground”, Sarah Mclachlan’s “Fallen”, Kristy Hawkshaw’s “It’s A Fine Day”, an epic mix of Depeche Mode’s “Here is the House” and of course “As The Rush Comes”, we were literally drowning in waves of melodic trance. True to unpredictable form and approach, Josh cunningly melded Trentemoller’s Moan into the set, this is when the boat literally rocked from side to side and we were lulled into a vibrational frequency that was off the charts.
The ability for a duo to perform solo when need be is not an easy feat and I believe, is a true testament to the validity and vigor of its credibility. Clearly, Gabriel and Dresden have this down to a science, as Josh left us astonished and awestruck to his capacity to deliver the same inherent feelings that come with having both artists present playing their “Classics Only” selection.
There was no time to even chat with fellow Gabriel and Dresden devotees, for in doing so, we knew we would miss another bombastic classic. It’s safe to say, Josh gave new meaning to the term “WOW”, as this was all I could see coming from the mouths of every soul that flooded the dance floor.
The intense nostalgia that was and is frequently generated from every Gabriel and Dresden “Classics Only” set, goes beyond just listening to a back catalogue of timeless originals and reworks from multifarious genres that fall under the electronic music umbrella. On the contrary, it’s the awareness of past music moments connecting us to current ones, that so deeply allow us to appreciate and substantiate the relevance and valor of our personal music journeys. Thank you, Gabriel and Dresden for your continued diligence and dedication in providing us, with what Dave Dresden’s calls “The Feels”, or in my case, some serious wistful music induced goosebumps.
Photos by Ozmozis and Randy Bui