While it isn't easy toiling in Sasha's immense shadow, it doesn't hurt to be allied with the dance icon either. Just ask his Ibiza countryman James Zabiela. After Zabiela's mixtape was passed from Fabric/Global Underground vet Lee Burridge into Sasha's able paws, Zabiela signed to the latter's Excession agency and played alongside his hero at Ibiza's own Club Space.
The 25-year-old Depeche Mode-worshiping DJ, who's jokingly referred to as "Jay-Z" by his peers, has blazed a quick trail. Once just another precocious crate-digger, Zabiela gained notice by winning Muzik Magazine's Bedroom Bedlam contest in 2000. Since aligning with Sasha, he's released three mix albums filled with his patented tech-house-breaks collages for big labels like Hooj Choons, remixing the likes of famed downtempo act Royksopp in the process.
With Carl Cox and Sasha among his supporters, Zabiela has crafted a unique sound by using CDs and vinyl for his banging sets. Leaving Club Space on the Balearic Isle for Club Space in Miami, the U.K. native brings his stylings stateside to promote Utilities (Renaissance), his first album of original productions; it features the artist's customized robo-funk and sci-fi tweaks grafted onto progressive tech beats. With Zabiela's name now splashed on marquees, it appears Sasha's shadow has finally vaporized.
James Zabiela performs at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami, on Saturday, July 2. Guest DJs include Space resident Ivano Bellini, Cedric Gervais, Gabriel Finn, and Vertigo. Visit www.clubspace.com.