My closest real-life brush with the disco era was getting to see the Village People perform on the hot, sticky tarmac at a Blue Angels air show in San Diego when I was just a kid in the late '70s. Julius Papp, on the other hand, is an actual veteran of the '70s--he went to clubs, checked out the scene, and carries a deep-seated knowledge and love of dance music that spans over three decades and continues today.

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Papp began collecting records when he started hanging around clubs as a teen, but he didn't actually start DJing until 1985, and he scored his first legitimate club gig in 1987. From there, he played everything under the sun to get parties moving. Papp relocated to San Jose in the 1990s, when the rave scene was making its way across the U.S., opening up American dance audiences to newer and more adventurous forms of electronic music. Papp contributed to the Mushroom Jazz scene alongside Mark Farina, eventually landing residencies in Montreal and the Bay Area. In 1994, Papp began making tracks with acid jazz and downtempo leanings. His first release, Cueball, came out on Nervous Records; he has since put out tracks on respected house labels such as Paper, Yellow, and Om, working with producers like Jay-J Hernandez. More recently, he's put out the LP Esho Funi, Vol.1, as well as the mix compilation Loveslapped by Julius Papp.

On the decks, Papp has built his reputation as a no-nonsense, skilled DJ whose years of listening and playing have directed him straight to the point; he drops deep and soulful records with a good understanding of what gets asses shaking. Sometimes one's first inclination when watching a DJ who's put years behind the turntables is to watch that person's hands cuing up records, looking for some sort of visual affirmation of dues paid--but I recommend paying closer attention to what's emanating from the speakers when Papp's in control. NICOLAE WHITE

Slink featuring Julius Papp, with Wesley Holmes, Brian Lyons, and Ken Wallace, Sat May 17 at the Baltic Room, 1207 Pine St, 625-4444, 9:30 pm-2 am, 21+, $7 before 10:30 pm, $10 after.