|More Electronic Stories|
Aaron-Carl, in memoriam (10/6/2010)
Motor City Five (9/29/2010)
Cocked & loaded (9/1/2010)
|More from Walter Wasacz and Hobey Echlin|
Comes in colors (5/26/2010)
DAN "DBX" BELL
From: Detroit/Windsor via Sacramento, Calif.
What he's done lately: Well, see, that's the point: DBX is Bell's early '90s techno-tinged house moniker, back when he rolled with Richie Hawtin and other bald minimalists. So lately, he's lugging all his vintage gear onstage to re-create classics like "Losing Control" and nuggets from his seminal Accelerate label ... right before your very ears!
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance friendly, although marveling at Bell re-creating it all on the fly could inspire a little chin-scratching.
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Vitamin Water Stage, 9-10 p.m. Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "Technarchy!!!"
From: Reggio Emilia, Northern Italy, via Milan
What he's done lately: Six years ago, it was trance; these days, it's called electro-house. Whatever it's called, though, Benassi pretty much owns it. His 2002 "Satisfaction" single took the trancey sound off its lofty perch and dirtied it up with a sound that Justice would later merge with Daft Punk disco. Last year, Benassi won a Grammy for his remix of Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise. " Dude even has a song in the new Harold & Kumar movie, for God's sake!
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance-friendly, although techno-purists, who usually bristle at his brand of billowy-funk build-up trance, will be left scratching their heads in amazement at how well Bennassi does it.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Pioneer Pro DJ Stage, 8-10 p.m. May 25.
Killer quote: "I am not drunk"
From: Berlin (born in England, raised in Austria)
What she's done lately: A new 12-inch minimal house power ballad, "A Poem For You," was released on the British Uzuri label in March. Cassy (real name Britton) keeps the dance floor hot 'n' wet at Berlin's Panoramabar, where she is a resident DJ.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: "Jaw dropping" is more like it. Her mixes are smooth as silk, designed to keep you floating on air for hours.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Main Stage, 4-6 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "Let's go deep."
Mathew Jonson, Danuel Tate & Tyger Dhula
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
What they've done lately: 23 Seconds (Wagon Repair) — released as a double CD and triple vinyl set —was one of dance music's best of 2007. Jonson is well known in North America and Europe as a solo artist, releasing tracks on Cocoon, Fabric, Kompakt, Minus, Perlon and other "the shit" labels.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Once you see the trio's hardware, you won't stop moving. But you can also chill alone off in the corner and get some benefit doing that as well.
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Main Stage, 7-8 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "Mesmerizingly organic!"
DATABASS CREW FEATURING DJ GODFATHER
From: Detroit mostly, with ties to Chicago, Baltimore and any other grimy urban techno center with a taste for booty-bounce.
What they've done lately: Detroit's reigning ghetto-tech/electro DJs Godfather, Omega, Dick, Starski, Clint, Rshaad and Boogie are taking their rump-shaking hybrid of electro, house, techno and Miami bass to the digital domain with electrobounce.com, an online Mp3 store and distribution center. There's strength in numbers — and the almighty 808 jit beat.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: If by "dance-friendly," we mean the world in which inner-city strip bars, techno, ghetto house, juke and Baltimore club music all meet in the wobbly space between ass cheeks, then, yes — dance yer ass off!
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Red Bull Music Academy Stage, 2-8 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "All the fly skinniest feel the beat"
What he's done lately: Taught us how to pronounce his name. It sounds like "dead-maus." Thanks, mister!
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Trancey, celestial synthlines will have dancers gazing up at the stars as they move their feets to the progressive beats. For some people, it's a beautiful thing ...
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Beatport Stage, 8:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "Not exactly." We think — though we can't be totally sure — that we know what you mean, dude ...
DEEPCHORD PRESENTS ECHOSPACE
From: Port Huron and Chicago
What they've done lately: The pairing of Deepchord's Rod Modell with Soultek's Steve Hitchell helped dub techno top discerning playlists from late 2006 to the present, inspiring such artists as Quantec, BVDub, Atheus and Claro Intelecto to get dense and go deeper into the music's hypnotic grooves. The group's debut LP, The Coldest Season, topped The Wire's list of best electronica releases for 2007.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Although they create head-spinning slow, atmospheric jams for cerebral ravers on vinyl and CD, Echospace pumps up the BPMs and the volume when they do it live.
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Main Stage, 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "The electromagnetic interstellar overdrive emanating from the Blue Water Bridge made us do it."
From: Los Angeles
What has he done lately: Egyptian Lover — aka Greg Broussard — is back to school all these neo-electro faddists as to what the real deal really is. Back in the day, Egyptian Lover was to the West Coast what Juan Atkins, Cybertron was to the rest of the country — that is, future funk, proto-rap. Lately, he's recorded for the zany U.K. Warp label and remade "Modernaire," a rare Dez Dickerson song from Purple Rain, so he's definitely not just an "oldies" act.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance friendly. Breakin II: Electric Boogaloo and "Thriller" video fashion-friendly, even!
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Red Bull Music Academy Stage, Saturday, 5:30-6:30 p.m., May 24.
Killer quote: "Egyptian lover, baby!" [Heavily vocoder-ed, of course.] 'Nuff said.
From: Berlin (originally from Sweden)
What he's done lately: He's recorded hot tracks from the Arctic Circle for Ann Arbor's Spectral Sound, including the Continuate EP and "Casio," part of the label's Death is Nothing to Fear series.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Get ready for your heart rate to accelerate. (That should answer any questions.)
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Main Stage, 6-7 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "We can dance!" (Oh, we will, Pär; we will!)
GUILLAUME & THE COUTU CUMONTS
From: Montreal (now living in Berlin)
What they've done lately: Face A L'est, this house-inspired techno producer's quirky and gorgeous debut LP, was one of 2007's best records, regardless of genre. If Prince and P-Funk were white French-Canadians — and all they listened to were Ennio Morricone soundtracks — they could probably be this guy in another lifetime.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance like you'd dance to Elvis in '56. Yeah, almost that much fun!
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Beatport Stage, 2-3 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "Can't cheat the concrete, do ze blob ... I bring da funk, yo!"
From: Jena, Germany
What he's done lately: He got hot, producing as a duo (with Marek Hemmann) for Robag Wruhme's fab Freude Am Tanzen (FAT) label. He's remained hot recording and remixing other artists for Berlin's Vakant imprint. His latest is the Lucidas three-tracker, released on FAT in February.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: A little of both on his records — but get ready for his cleverly syncopated bass lines to move your ears and your ass closer to the speakers.
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Beatport Stage, 3-4 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: " Geschichten Aus Jemineh!"
From: West Hollywood via Birmingham via Southfield
What he's done lately: His 2004 Funaker album showed that, despite a move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in stand-up comedy (his MySpace blog is bitterly funny), Larkin still has the moody-funk chops that made his mid-'90s albums Azimuth and The Dark Comedy landmarks of second-wave Detroit techno. Now readying Keys, Strings and Tambourines for a July release on Carl Craig's Planet E label, Larkin proves himself even more dedicated to the dance floor with his hardest, most soulful offering yet.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance-friendly, as his still-jet-setting DJ schedule (weekends in Europe; weeknights at comedy open mics and acting auditions) and the no-BS sound of Keys... surely demonstrates.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Real Detroit Stage, 9-11 p.m. Sunday, May 25.
Killer quote: "We need to form a snobby club, like Mensa and walk around large cities together, lost as fuck in each other, asking questions, swapping realities with the person next to you. We'd only allow people in the 'L.A.F' (Lost As Fuck) society who have experienced it and can prove it."
From: Seattle, Wash.
What they've done lately: Lawnchair Generals' Peter Christianson and Carlos Mendoza made their name with a cleverly enthusiastic take on house music, producing and spinning a heaving Chicago-style sound with nods to electro, and even (gasp!) freestyle. Their records wound up in the bags of everyone, from Mark Farina and DJ Sneak to Derrick Carter and DJ Heather. Remixes and spinning have been their focus as of late, though.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: As dance-friendly as it is audience-friendly. Do you remember when, like, a TV show would have a punk band, and you'd see like the TV show version of a punk band? Well, Lawnchair Generals — and this is a compliment — are sort of the house music version of that: namely, a Groove Armada for the massive...and the masses.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Vitamin Water Stage, 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 25.
Killer quote: "We make music we'd want to hear."
What he's done lately: As one of the founders of the late great Detroit after-hours club, the Music Institute — where Derrick May's enigma was born — Miller parlayed a career as a techno-savvy house music jock into a more-than-passing career as a jazz percussionist. His recent output includes a Japanese "Best-Of" compilation and a straight-up R&B house vocal collaboration with Belgium's Boddhi Sattva, while his latest 12-inch, "Full Circle," makes the case that techno is future jazz with as much of a beat as a soul.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance-friendly, and about as close as you can get to the glory days of the early '90s Detroit sound — and away from the harder, thumpier sound of more modern techno — as any jock you're gonna hear this weekend.
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Vitamin Water Stage, 3:30-5 p.m. Sunday, May 25.
Killer quote: "I'm still searching; I still care."
What she's done lately: After starting Women on Wax (WOW), Detroit's all-female DJ collective and label, Minx has continued to bring it with her monthly Vivid night at Oslo. WOW's latest, A Taste of the Honeys, is the classic Detroit tech-house sound — funky, wistful, soulful and as evocative as it is intelligent.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance-friendly in a way that harkens back to the sublime Better Days parties, and, when she gets it just right, you'd swear she's channeling the same after-hours deep house vibe of Club Heaven back in the day. Somewhere Ken Callier is smiling.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Real Detroit Stage, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "A taste of the honeys."
From: New York via Connecticut
What he's done lately: Once techno's Great White Hope, Moby finally hit gold when he slowed things down and got all bluesy on 1999's Play. The irony, however, is that his subsequent down-tempo efforts have paled compared to his dance-floor offerings under his Voodoo Child moniker. On his latest disc, Last Night, Moby taps into the equity of nostalgia, but this time it's for his '80s New York club roots, with mixed results. But if anything, his return to the raw, sampled funk in his own work has given him an excuse to DJ again, and no higher-profile DJ — not even Fatboy Slim or Daft Punk — has the history and record collection of the Mobester.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: After three records of albeit-heart breaking chin-scratching, he's back to making us dance.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Vitamin Water Stage, 10 p.m.-midnight Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "Ooh, yeahh!"
From: Detroit originally, moved to Las Vegas, now back in the D
What he's done lately: Parker is also known as "Telephone Man" because he favors using a phone instead of DJ headphones to mix tracks ... and these days it's God and the dance floor that are on the other end of the line. After wowing international audiences with his scratch-happy mixing style, as well as old-school house gems like his classic "Love's Go Me High," the alive-with-the-spirit Parker is now spinning what can only be called Gospel house. Can we get an "Amen"?
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Dance — because Parker's set is as close to church as a most of us are gonna get this weekend.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Real Detroit Stage, 8:30-10 p.m. Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "Love got me high."
What he's done lately: Although he's taken on some of the techno elitism of his elders, Pullen, a former hip-hop kid with a taste for funkier, futuristic techno, has the DJ skills to back it up; he's often compared to a less-predictable Derrick May. Plus, his monthly Radio Skool party demonstrates his commitment to the local scene, something many of his techno elders never did once the overseas offers came in.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: As Detroit techno goes, very dance friendly — not so-cool-its-cold minimal, not too nostalgically house-y, right in the pocket, worn loose and baggy.
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Real Detroit Stage, 10 p.m.-midnight Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "Let's just party, dammit!"
From: Michigan's Belleville, the primary township in the worldwide techno galaxy. Now living in White Lake Township with frequent stopovers in the D. Or you might see the KMS attendant checking his luggage at Metro Airport when he's on his way to regular weekend gigs in Holland, the U.K. and Japan.
What he's done lately: Known as "the Elevator," Saunderson has been working in the studio and on the road for 20-plus years; his discography includes work on more than 300 records. His latest release, History Elevate, on his own KMS label and Planet E Communications, has been in top DJs' record bags for the last year; the track was remixed by Carl Craig, Loco Dice, Mathew Jonson and John Tejada.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: What do you think? Dance, dance, dance!
DJ or live? Where and when? DJ set, Underground Stage, 9-11 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "E-l-e-v-a-t-e, y'all!"
From: Glasgow, Scotland.
What he's done lately: A whole bunch of tracks, including the hard to find Paradolia (2006) LP on Glasgow's long-running techno imprint, Soma. Smoke (real name: Alex Menzies) has also released the quirky Shminimal and Shwingnut minimal tech EPs on Berlin's excellent Vakant label.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: With a name like Alex Smoke, what do you expect? Bodies in constant motion, baby!
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Beatport Stage, 9:30-10:30 p.m., Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: "Music like a tsunami of synth-strings and over-blown soundscapes in a coil of fizzing beats and wheezing silicon ..." is how he describes his set. Hot damn!
From: Ann Arbor
What they've done lately: Drilled and deafened us with hardcore junglist ragga riddims.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: The only chin-scratching you'll be doing here is when you ponder how Soundmurderer (aka Todd Osborn) can do it all — house, techno, hip hop and 2-step garage while hammering out a punishing unclassifiable monstrous sludge of cool shit — and he does it so effortlessly. His new house-pop hybrid CD, Osborne, Osborn's debut full-length on Spectral Sound, is already drawing raves on the international tip.
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Red Bull Academy Stage, 9:30-11 p.m. Monday, May 26.
Killer quote: "Fuck you, and I can pilot a plane better than you, too." (He can, and has an aviator license to prove it!)
From: San Francisco
What he's done lately: Tycho (real name: Scott Hansen) recently recorded the track "Cascade," included on a free downloadable LP released by Ghostly International and Adult Swim. It sounds like Alice in Wonderland set to big beats in high altitude. Download it (and 18 other tracks) at tinyurl.com/3h2hz7.
Dance-friendly or chin-scratcher: Somewhere in between. Might be good to listen to while cuddling under a blanket with someone you like a lot. Ahhhh...
DJ or live? Where and when? Live set, Beatport Stage, noon-2 p.m. Saturday, May 24.
Killer quote: None; he lets the music do the talking. (It should be noted, however, that this dude is mad skilled. As graphic designer ISO50, Hansen has created prints, buttons, clothing and all kinds of cool stuff from coast to coast.