July 9, 2007

Peter Visti - Dolly


If kitsch weren’t such a discredited term, we might be tempted to apply it to Peter Visti’s remix choices here, consisting as they do of one wan blues whitey, Dolly Parton, and the mostly forgotten disco-bowtie charlatan Taco. Luckily, Visti is so kitsch he’s beyond kitsch, especially when his nimble fingers grace the source material of our last two subjects. Parton’s “Jolene” becomes almost unrecognizable in Visti’s context, transmogrified into an unlikely underground disco smash you’re certain you heard one stoned night at the Gallery. With bass-driven meanderings and pungent synth swells supporting a filtered guitar strum, it seems Dolly can ride the analog waves as well as any old diva.

Chris Rea’s “Josephine” sounds much more true to form, although I must confess my ignorance with regards to the original track. It’s loads more atmospheric, almost to a fault, and could be any one of a number of innocuous ’80s soundtrack cuts, left out to drift in the realm of the dollar bin. Thankfully, Visti comes back with another surprise, turning the bland swing-disco pabulum of Taco’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” into re-edit gold, morphing the groove into something that’s equal parts Kano and Nitzer Ebb. As though the cast of Fame got choked-up on crystal meth and Baudrilliard’s critical theory, the track resolutely (and brutally) demands you to get your kicks on, lest you suffer the groovy, post-modern consequences. Highly recommended for the not-so-faint of heart.

Mindless Boogie / Mindless 006
[Mallory O’Donnell]

February 9, 2007

Depeche Mode - Remixes

Depeche Mode have always been at the forefront of the remix game, historically lining up a whos who of dance music producers to rework their electronic pop into lots of interesting shapes and sizes, occasionally to devastatingly brilliant effect. This limited edition, stunningly packaged gatefold double-pack was released to coincide with the bands latest Best Of, Vol. 1 collection, bearing similar cover art and reworkings of tracks from the collection. While the promo CD version of this release contained eight tracksincluding Ricardo Villalobos stunning take on The Sinner In Methe actual commercial release only includes four. One can assume that when Best Of, Vol. 2 eventually surfaces, those remaining four mixes will be given a similar release treatment, especially considering that the Villalobos mix is already widely bootlegged on vinyl and changing hands for ludicrous amounts on eBay.

As far as what is on offer here, while nothing is as downright fantastical as Villalobos take, there is plenty to excite Mode fans and DJs alike. Boys Noize take on Personal Jesus and wisely maintain the pulpit stomping feel of the original while adding an extended noise/loop intro and throbbing analog synth riffs to replace the originals guitars. Digitalisms take on Never Let Me Down Again is a crunching analog affair that bears more resemblance to Mute labelmates Nitzer Ebb than the cyclical, driving original. Oliver Huntemann and Stephan Bodzins dub version of Everything Counts is a floor filler in the making, fusing key melodic phrases of the original into an updated tech-house template, while Underground Resistances DJ 3000 transforms People Are People into a latin-infused monster in the aggressive, relentless UR techno style. With the limited nature and collector-targeted packaging on this release, it may not be aimed at DJs who are just going to beat the hell out of it in their crates, but if you can get over the price tag (and find a copy!), theres plenty here to spice up a set of any style, presuming of course that vocals dont bother you.

MUTE / L12 BONG 39
[Todd Hutlock]

January 19, 2007

Charts: January 19 2007

Michael F. Gill
Sylvester I Need You (Dims Maxi Disco Blend) [ITH Records]
Remute Bounce 23 [Trapez]
V/A - This Is Rong Music [Rong Music]
Lil Louis - I Called You (The Story Continues) [Epic]
E-Dancer - Oombah [Planet E]
Midnightrats - Goalmaker [Magic Circus]
Macho Cat Garage - Ghetto Blues [Viewlexx]
V/A - Make Me What [Minisketch]
Benfay - Pink Silk Panties (Bang Goes Remix) [Stattmusik]
The Nova Dream Sequence - Interpretations [Compost]

Todd Hutlock
Depeche Mode - People Are People (Underground Resistance Remix) [Mute]
Tomas Andersson - Mot Matsalen! [Bpitch Control]
Radio Slave - Weeeze [Rekids]
Theo Parrish - Falling Up (Technasia Rmx) [Third Ear/Syncrophone]
Hot Chip - Over And Over (Naum Gabo Remix) [Astralwerks/DFA]
False - Kickball [Plus 8]
Thomas Fehlmann - Dusted [Kompakt]
Pier Bucci - Lnuit (Dominik Eulberg Mix) [Crosstown Rebels]
Booka Shade - In White Rooms (Shinedoe Remix) [Get Physical]
Nitzer Ebb - Control Im Here (Superchumbo Dub) [NovaMute]

October 6, 2006

Interview: Nitzer Ebbs Bon Harris

From 1984 to 1995, U.K. duo Nitzer Ebb pioneered a unique sound that fused elements of techno, punk, and industrial into a ferocious string of singles and LPs. Through tracks like Murderous, Join in the Chant, Let Your Body Learn, Lightning Man, Getting Closer, and many others, Douglas McCarthy (vocals) and Bon Harris (drums, programming) spread relentless minimal menace to dancefloors worldwide, influencing the likes of Richie Hawtin, Darren Emerson, Sven Vth, DJ Hell, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and countless others along the way. Now, a decade after calling it quits, Nitzer Ebb are back with a two-disc compilation (Body of Work), a new remix collection (Body Rework: Remixes), and a worldwide tour. Stylus editor Todd Hutlock caught up with Bon Harris recently to discuss the bands comeback, legacy, and future.

Stylus: So what happened to bring Nitzer Ebb back into the limelight? Last I had heard a few years back, you and [vocalist] Douglas [McCarthy] werent even speaking to each other.

Bon Harris: I think Douglas and I decided to stop doing work as Nitzer Ebb more than a decade ago because wed been together a long time and it was certainly an intense sort of band anyway. We wanted to go off and do our own things and taste life as individuals rather than as part of a band. We did very well over that decade, actuallyI went into production and worked with the likes of Marilyn Manson and Billy Corgan and so on, and Doug went off and became quite a successful commercial director and worked in film a bit. So weve had a long time apart from each other, but both of us really enjoy performing live, and we both had a sense that the time would perhaps come around when we would feel like working together again and that it would feel right. And basically that is what happened. People were always asking us, Will the Ebb ever get back together? and we just got asked so often that we finally talked about it and it went from there. It just felt like the right time and the right thing to do.

So the two of you have essentially patched things up now?

I would say that working together again on this tour has probably been some of the most fun weve had in the band since it first began. There was a period when we didnt talk to each other at all and did our own things, but weve been friends since school and I think it was just one of those things where we needed to cool off. Granted it was a long cooling-off period, but it was intense and that amount of time was necessary to offset the intensity of the work we had done. It seems to have worked, and were getting along really well.

One of the things that struck me when I was listening to Body of Work was how so many different acts took little things from the Nitzer Ebb sound and have cited you as an influence. Do you look back now and feel that you have a legacy?

We are aware that we have been influential in a lot of ways, but all that really stems from the fact that when we first created the tracks, we were really trying to do something special. We really did care about it and wanted to uphold a high standard of work and we were constantly searching to break barriers. There was always that thirst for uncovering more, pushing ourselves, and that meant that we did come up with some groundbreaking things. So I think we are aware of it and we are quite proud of it.

The other thing that struck me was how much of an evolution in sound there was from the early tracks to the later days. There are strings on tracks, you worked with George Clintonyou were all over the musical map more than people might realize.

Yes, and we were also always trying to do things that were more on the subtle side. I think there are little things going on during many of the tracks that people dont really appreciate even now. Its interesting that for all the amount of acceptance weve had and being cited as influential, I do think that in a lot of ways we are still quite misunderstood, even by people that really like us. There was always this whole thing where we were lumped in with what they call industrial music. When I listen to tracks like Lightning Man, I think to myself, Well, theres a synthesizer in there… but other than that, you tell me what else is industrial about that song? So as much as people did get it, theres still a lot that perhaps people dont get.

Even on the new remix album, Body Rework, its really something to see Derrick May on an album alongside The Hacker and Robag Wruhme, and that speaks to the diversity present in your sounds. Do you see a connection between Nitzer Ebb and the minimal dance music that is so in vogue today?

Well, someone like Richie Hawtin has been a champion of our music over the years, but hes also been a pretty groundbreaking chap himself. Those are the sort of people that you are proud to have been an influence ontheyve picked up the baton and taken things in all sorts of new directions. So I see that connection, in that there are inquiring minds and people that arent afraid of a challenge, especially in dance music because it can be a confined sort of thing to do.

Beyond the tour, will there be new recordings? Yeah, that was something we discussed as soon as we got together and agreed to do the tour, so we threw the door open on that way back. We said that if we enjoyed working together and its fun and everything then well do it. Doug and I have been getting along together really great and weve been working together on some new ideas. Hopefully well have some time near the end of this year to put something together. Were hoping to have something ready for the spring of 2007, perhaps. The whole thing has been like a stone rolling down a hill and gone so much better than anyone even thought it was going to be. And if the ball is rolling, you might as well roll with it.

What should audiences expect from the Nitzer Ebb live show in 2006?

Its a really stripped down, back-to-basics approach to doing things. When Doug and I discussed it, we decided to concentrate on our earlier era, with the mainly electronic tracks, and with the whole basic, minimal militaristic image that people seem to like. People have been telling us that it is everything it used to be but somehow even better with maturity or experience or whatever it is. People have told us that we havent lost any of the energy, and in fact it looks like we found more from somewhere. So you can expect it to be pretty loud and feisty, because thats the way we like it.

Body of Work and Body Rework: Remixes are out now in Europe on Mute; Body of Work is released in the United States on October 17. For more information and remaining tour dates, visit www.mute.com and www.nitzer-ebb.com.

[Todd Hutlock]

September 22, 2006

Richard Hinge - Audiopath EP


Active since the late 80s but not having released anything for a fair bit, Conrail Records boss Richard Hinge returns with a three-track EP of electro-tinged techno that sounds a bit like a lost EBM record, right down to the sorta cheesy nude model on the cover and the unfortunately titled lead track, Be My Bitch. All thats missing is an angry Germanic vocalist shouting over the top, but once Bitch hits its groove, it works fairly well. On the flip, Time Continuum adds a bit more techno and tempo to the mix, but still keeps the retro fires burning, while Electrostatic is more rhythmically interesting, but no less dated sounding. Nothing here to make you forget Nitzer Ebb, and nothing to really make you remember Richard Hinge, either.

Path / Path-007
[Todd Hutlock]

September 22, 2006

Charts: September 22 2006

Todd Hutlock
The Rice Twins - For Dan [K2]
Donnacha Costello - 6.3 [Minimise]
Mathew Johnson - Beach Party [Wagon Repair]
Nitzer Ebb - Shame (Derrick May Remix) [NovaMute]
Porter Ricks - Port of Call [Chain Reaction]
Afternoon Coffee Boys - Busted Speaker Brew [Clink Music]
Thee Madkatt Courtship - Da Mindfuck [Deep Distraxion]
Sami Koivikko - Dore [Spectral Sound]
Limaçon - Ajar [Intrinsic Design]
Mr. Fingers - Can You Feel It [Trax]

Nate DeYoung
My My - Butterflys and Zebras [Aus]
Audion - Mouth to Mouth [Spectral]
Heidi vs Riton - Vejer [Get Physical]
Cobblestone Jazz - India in Me [Wagon Repair]
Donato Dozzy - Dimensions EP [Dozzy]
Jona - Tizia [Get Physical]
The Rice Twins - Reach for the Flute [Kompakt]
Sleeper Thief - Chasing You [Mobilee]
Madonna - Get Together Remixes [Virgin]
Justus Kohncke - Advance [Kompakt]

Cameron Octigan
Alice in Chains - Dam That River [Columbia]
Dominion - The Light of Day [unknown]
Jan Jelinek - Im Discodickicht [~scape]
Jesu - Your Path to Divinity [Hydrahead]
JPLS - Program 01 [M_nus]
Limp Wrist - Just Like You [Lengua Armada]
MDK - Rohe Gewalt [Weird System]
Putsch 79 - Doin’ It (Putsch 79 Edit) [Clone]
Rex the Dog - I Look into Air [Kompakt]
Ricardo Villalobos - Que Belle Epoque 2006 [Frisbee Tracks]

Michael F. Gill
Voigt & Voigt - Was Du Willst [Kompakt Extra]
V/A - Dashammer Remixes [Max.I]
Gusgus - Mallflowers [Pineapples]
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (Instrumental) [EMI]
Phreek - May My Love Be With You [Atlantic]
Dalton & Dubarri - I (You) Can Dance All By My (Your) Self [Hilltak]
Moment of Truth - So Much for Love [Salsoul]
V/A - Historical Archives Volume 2 [Members Only]
Gino Soccio - There’s a Woman (Carl Craig Re-Edit) [Moxie]
Munich Machine - Bolectro [Casablanca]

July 14, 2006

Beatzcast #6



01: Patrick Chardronnet - Eve By Day (Ripperton’s Epic Mix)
02: Basement Jaxx Hush Boy (Les Visiteurs Mix)
03: DJ Pumphead Acid Police
04: Nitzer Ebb Getting Closer (Black Strobe Mix)
05: Chardronnet - Newlife3
06: Steve Bug & Matthias Tanzmann Schick
07: LocoDice - Seeing Through Shadows
08: Trentemller Nam Nam
09: SLG - Nine Hours
10: Patrick Chardronnet - Eve By Day (Ripperton’s Lovelee Dae Mix)

June 16, 2006

Movement/DEMF 2006


as reported by enemy.combatant

A quick history: The Detroit Electronic Music Festival was first held in 2000 following a concept that was developed by Carl Craig and Derrick May. This event is the pinnacle for Detroit in the watchful eyes of the global electronic community. DEMF represents Detroits selection and taste, or at least that was its intention in the past. It has been an event that was initially looked at with esteem and pride, and represented a lot of things to many different Detroit artists involved in its creation. However, since shortly after its inception as the largest free electronic music festival, it has become a clusterfuck of corporate-endorsed sponsorship and control.I was ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to cover this event, not only because this was so important to the electronic music community of Detroit, but because a new organization was stepping up to the plate because they did not want to see the City of Detroit lose out on such a great opportunity. I respected this ethical statement, and now not only did I want to cover this event, but I wanted to make sure it succeeded. I really thought that with those words spoken, new DEMF promoters Paxahau would hold themselves up to a different standard than past promoters, and might even bring the festival back to its roots of free admission, so all the people of Detroit could enjoy the electronic music that we have come to know and love. I know some members of Paxahau personally, and had extremely high hopes that this event would receive proper representation. I even immediately contacted one of my buddies who DJd for Paxahau at various events and asked him how I could help out. He told me to send my info to an e-mail address, and that they would be making volunteer lists at a later date. Since this was two-plus months prior to the traditionally scheduled festival opening day, I really had no worriesuntil the third week began to approach the second week and I still had no information from Paxahau regarding volunteer lists, schedules, duties; no media information; and not even a final roster, let alone a schedule with set times on it. I was starting to worry.

I finally received word that there would be a volunteer sign-up being conducted at Hart Plaza on May 13, 2006. I made it down to Detroit with extra volunteers to boot, and was not going to let the fact that it was pouring freezing rain, there was no parking or validation, or that I had just traveled an hour to an hour an a half for a mandatory pre-meeting for volunteers affect my attitude or mood in any way. I knew Paxahau would be grateful that I had come all the way from where I was traveling from in the terrible weather conditions Michigan was having at that time, and that I would probably receive all the information and things that couldnt be sent over the internet such as shirts, badges, etc. I arrived and went down the steps of Hart Plaza to the Underground Stage. There were 100+ people assembled near the Underground Stage, but it was for a hip-hop presentation. Humorously, I remembered DEMF 2001-2002; giant Trinitron screens were plastered all over the festival grounds that year that were constantly displaying a loop of Eminem walking down Woodward Ave. rapping, Its over / Nobody listens to techno.After proceeding past this assembly, I saw the Paxahau Movement sign-up staff complete with a card table and two Paxahau members handling sign-ups, and a few people waiting to volunteer standing in line. I rubbed my eyes and squinted, and proceeded to ask the people in my party if they thought that it was the sign-up area ahead. We all agreed in a slightly strange way. I was the first in line of my party, and I waited for 30+ minutes before speaking to a Paxa-Rep even though there were only four people ahead of me. By the time I reached the card table I was happy that there were only a few people here for sign-up, but still hoped Eminem was dead wrong.I was asked what I do for a living, and in what areas I could help out. I explained that I am a studio engineer/musician. I was then asked if I would like to flyer. Puzzled, I also then explained that I would help out in any area, but that I was covering this event for a magazine, and needed to be able to move freely to cover the event. I was then told that I needed to write all this information down on a piece of paper (provided) and was told to give it to one of the two girls waiting at the card table a few feet away. At this point, I was asked for my ID, of which a digital pic was taken. With the organization level I was seeing so far, I immediately began worrying about identity theft. I then had a clipboard pushed in my direction with not so much as a hello or even a smile and was asked what shifts I could sign up for today. I explained once again, since the paper I had just written all this down on was not helping this individual, that I could work any shift or all shifts since I was expected to be there for the magazine anyway. I was then asked why I was even down here volunteering if this was the case. I explained that I thought I could help. I never got a response, only a shrug of the shoulders. I was then asked my T-shirt size, and was told I would receive one the day of the festival. I was then told in a very bossy way that I was expected to be ready to work every shift, and check in with my shift leaders for every shift. I was then told I could go, and didnt even get so much as a good-bye. I felt somewhat frustrated at this point. All I wanted was a little pat on the head or any kind of slightly friendly gesture. It really might have helped morale since two days later, I was sent a barrage of e-mails from Paxahau asking to volunteer for airport runs and record lugging since their valet service was not covering this anymore.

I arrived at about 11:15 AM on the first day. I would have made it there much earlier even though the festival didnt start until 12 noon, but there was no volunteer or media parking, and I had to lug all my equipment quite a long way, and absolutely no one I spoke to, including security, knew where the media entrance was, or the volunteer entrance for that matter. I finally found it, and immediately walked up to the press table. I was greeted by a sneering, short, bald man. I told him the magazine I was with, and he seemed to be looking me over a few times. I asked him if he needed to see my ID, since his assistant had walked over and whispered that someone else from Stylus had already checked in. Instead, he gave me a lanyard, and his assistant outfitted me with a yellow plastic wristband. I was then free to roam. I found it very interesting that I was not searched or that my identity was not checked in any way. Not that George W. was manning the decks this year for his N.W.O worldwide Uber-Freedom mix, but I thought that there would definitely be more attention paid to the safety of all artists attending this year.I checked in at the media center after taking 20-30 minutes to find it since, once again, nobody knew where anything was. The people at the press table said, Its downstairs, you cant miss it. I was finally helped by one of the filmmakers from the film High Tech Soul, who was very helpful and friendly. Once arriving at the media center, I saw the organization level did not exceed that of the volunteer situation. I was told that I could interview anyone I wanted, and that I should try to catch artists after they perform. (I later discovered this was quite challenging to do since most artists arrived right in time for their set, and disappeared shortly after.) I went upstairs to check in at the volunteer table, and ran into a friend and his wife who lived near me. He told me that he and his wife just each had been given two tickets to the min2max (named for the new comp on Richie Hawtins M-nus label) after-party that night, two tickets to the Perlon after-party tomorrow, two tickets to another after-party Monday, two 1-day passes for the festival, two 3-day passes for the festival, plus a bunch of T-shirts, and other items.I was immediately delighted, anticipating that finally I was going to see some appreciation from Paxahau. I might even receive more than the 12 after-party tickets and 8 festival tickets my friends just received since I brought three extra people down to volunteer for them. At least in my mind, and after I made it up to the volunteer table I saw that this was simply not the case. The person in charge of this table was right off the bat upset that I had a press pass. He immediately began questioning me and asking me why I was volunteering since I already had a free three-day pass into the festival. I explained I was just trying to help, but he looked about as clueless as he did originally when I made this exact same statement to him previously on the morning of volunteer sign-up. I was then asked what size shirt I needed. I didnt bother making a comment about why I was dragged here in freezing rain on volunteer sign-up morning and not asked that question then. I thought that end was already predetermined. I guess not. I received my shirt, and then stood there for a minute. This person then consulted with one of the previous volunteer sign-up girls who then came over to me and very snottily ordered me over to the Real Detroit stage to see if they needed any help. I walked off toward the Real Detroit Stage without a thank you, a good-bye, or a damn ticket. I knew I shouldnt be disappointed; my expectations of a reward were what was causing my disappointment, but instead I received a slight dose of what seemed to be the real spirit of the Movementa genuine Paxa-bowel Movement right on my head. I didnt feel so bad, though, because I volunteered for it.

I walked by the Real Detroit stage on the way to the Beatport stage. It could fit maybe 35-50 people in there comfortably. This stage was scaled down to about 20% of its size at past festivals. It was supposed to be the stage that represented real Detroit artists. I guess Paxahau thought only 35-50 people would care about about this stage and the Detroit artists; there seemed to be a lack of them this year.

I hit up the Beatport Stage where John Johr from Paxahau was opening. I stayed for about 30 minutes of it before leaving. His set was unemotional and uninspiring, and left me with no emotion other that the Amityville Horror slogan, GET OUT. Fellefell followed Johr up without missing a beat, literally picking up off Johrs closing record while it was still spinning and absolutely killing it. I did not leave this area until I had to take off for the Pyramid stage to check out Sean ONeal a.k.a Someone Else. I was going to break off for a quick second to see Ezekiel Honig , but knew that if I did, I would not be back to hear FelleFells closing, since Honig definitely has a way of mesmerizing his listeners.

They seemed to be having a lot of trouble with sound on this stage. I was hoping this would be cleared up, since Dan Bell was playing nextthe last time I had the pleasure of seeing him was at the last Paxahau party he played at (with Thomas Brinkmann) where the sound broke down at least three times while he was playing. They continued having problems with this stage through the next few sets. I checked out the beginning of Dan Bells set before making it back to the Beatport tent to peek in on Marc Houle. Marc Houle was really throwing down, and I did not want to leave, but my stomach told a different story so I gathered up some of my friends, and headed to Oslo, the local techno/sushi joint. (Oslo is a great spot. They have the best sushi in Detroit, and the best electronic musicians DJing and performing live in the basement bar. Highly recommended.)

I made it back to the festival in time to catch the beginning of James Holdens set. I was very happy about the extra time that seemed to be allotted to many of the DJs this year, who were playing two-hour sets or longer. I stayed for the first hour of Holdens set who hands-down represented why he is the CEO of Border Community, and why more people need to check that label out. At about five minutes until nine I made it to the Main Stage area to finally park it, and listen to the concrete stylings of Kooky Scientist (aka Fred Gianelli) followed by Robert Hood.

The sound was atrocious for this stage except for the main floor. I cannot see why they did not take more time with the acoustic design for this stage, since this would be the stage that most people remembered from the festival. My party ended up leaving about 20 minutes before the end of Hoods set toward the min2Max after-party to which I had tickets waiting at the door for me (via a friend). Hood would have been much better if he would have played in Kooky Scientists spot since Hoods set was not anywhere near that of an opening night closer. Everyone would have benefited by having the Cranky Scientist close the night because Giannelli was absolutely and completely on point.

Gaiser and Troy Pierce fucking leveled the Masonic Temple, of course, leaving no room for closer Hawtin, who seemed plagued with sound problems. Something to keep in mind, future Paxahau event attendeesthe price of a small can of pop or an even-smaller bottle of water jumps from $3 to $4 after 2 a.m. according to the Paxa-concessioner who sold them of a cooler in the coat room. I am not sure why the price of alcohol didnt go up, but maybe that concession was run by Budweiser. I was told that the price increase is customary, and is a standard practice at all Paxahau parties.

I didnt attend much this day since the only two people I wanted to see for that day were playing on different stages at the exact same timeNiko Marks and Mark Broom. I was really unsure about the J-Dilla tribute, even though it had a lot of top-notch performers taking the stage. I couldnt help wondering if this was just a cheap attempt by Paxahau to cash in on Jay-Dees death. Still, the tribute seemed as though it held the most promise for the day, other than a Planet of the Drums drum n bass set which were the major showcases for the day. But I was wrongafter leaving the festival, I headed down to Forans Irish Pub which was recently renovated and had been hosting a slew of off-the-cuff, slammin DJ sets of late. I had just seen DJ Psycho, an underdog from Flint, Michigan, throw down a wicked booty set the day before, and soon realized that for the next two days, this was the place to be. Especially if you werent fond of the blazing heat, which just seemed to get hotter and hotter since the tents this year had gotten smaller and smaller.

I couldnt wait for this day to start. It started slow, as I had to wait at the press gate for a new wristband. I had cut mine off the previous night, and was now being scolded by the sneering, short, bald guy. I asked him if they just expected me to sleep in it, and he remarked a rather loud, YES! It was at this point that I remarked that I was not told to keep my wristband. I was not a patient in a hospital or a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, and I dont wear wristbands to sleep. I also remarked that I thought they would have changed colors on wristbands anyway for security purposes. He looked at me like I was crazy. I guess security is a pretty crazy concept for some people.Carl Craig was opening this day with a three-hour set. I couldnt believe this guy was going to play this festival again after his bad experiences in the past. True perseveranceCarl played an amazing set.I got a quick bite before making it over to the Beatport Stage where I watched Mikkel Metal perform, and spoke to him briefly afterwards. He was very happy to finally be invited to perform at the festival this year. I asked him what he thought about scheduling this year at the festival, including the fact that instead of spreading all the Kompakt artists out over the course of the weekend for maximum exposure and visibility, everybody was crammed into the Beatport tent on the final day. Mikkel rolled his eyes and chuckled. He explained he was not a promoter so he shouldnt say much about this, especially if he was expected to be invited back. He did, however, comment that most of the DJs and artists performing were doing after-parties to pay for expenses. I explained that I couldnt see one reason why anyone wasnt paid enough, considering how expensive single tickets and a three-day pass cost, as well as the extra 13% surcharge Paxahau was charging on all credit card orders. Mikkel chuckled once again, and explained that wasnt the problem with him, but he could see how it might be a problem with others.

I cut our little conversation short since I needed to be at the Real Detroit Stage to see Kill Memory Crash. Mikkel told me before leaving to be careful so I didnt get grouped in with the subversives. We both laughed, and I was off to Kill Memory Crash. I had missed the first 20 minutes of their performance, but the last 40 more than made up for it. I can honestly say I dont think there was a stage big enough for their sound, and for some reason they were placed in the smallest tent. Go figure.

After they finished I spoke briefly with Adam of Kill Memory Crash before heading over to the Main Stage to see Adam Beyer finish off his blazing set. Beyer was followed by Derrick May, who dropped classic after classic. I didnt stay for Mays whole set as I wanted to speak with Clark Warner, but realized upon entering the way-too-overcrowded Beatport tent that this just wasnt going to be possible. I stayed for the finish of his set, and the start of Mr. Jeremy P. Caulfields live performance, which was more than promising. Then I dashed out to see Nitzer Ebb, who where absolutely hammering down songs like there was no tomorrow. They were followed up by Richie Hawtin, who seemed much less plagued with sound problems this shake around.

It was sad to see this stage as packed as it was when other tents werent full. I can definitely see how scheduling here was completely mismanagedgoing on at the same time were the absolutely unreal performance from Kero (perhaps a couple hundred feet over in the Real Detroit tent), and one of the best DJ sets I have probably heard out of Frank Martiniq in the Beatport tent.

Overall, I had a good time at Movement: DEMF 2006. I got to see a lot of performers that I would not get the chance to see or speak with normally. But…I also think that it could have been promoted much, much better, and with three months of planning, there shouldnt have been the level of confusion and disorganization there was surrounding this event. The pre-flyering was not straightforward, and there were no times posted until the very last minute. I did like the schedule booklets being handled by REAL DETROIT WEEKLY, a very nice presentation with lots of important, pertinent info and minimal advertising. I didnt see the need for volunteers for the most part. If there was such a need, I didnt really see it used efficiently. I mean, why else would you place a qualified studio engineer to put up flyers?I can say, however, that I was disappointed by the size of the tents, and the lack of decent audio fidelity on all of the stages and tents. I felt that with the amount Paxahau was charging for a three-day pass (including a surcharge), the sound quality should have been top-notch and unmatched. Paxahau has been known for throwing great parties in the past, but the last few events have caused me to reassess my position on them. I wonder if theyre are losing touch with their roots, like Detroits own Eminem, who would never even have got a MC gig at the Motor Lounge if it wasnt for techno promoters. So Em, be glad some people still listen to techno. I was also very disappointed with the terrible scheduling, and the definite lack of Detroit artists. I just dont understand how you can throw a musical festival to benefit the city of Detroit without more musical representation from Detroit artists. I mean, CMON, how can you throw a electronic music festival for in Detroit without at least having someone from the Underground Resistance camp? And finally all I can say to the person handling scheduling this year is that next year it will work so much better if you take your head out your ass. Until next time…

April 10, 2006

Motor - Klunk

The CVs of the duo who comprise Motor, Mr. No (Olivier Grasset) and Bryan Black, includes programming for Prince at Paisley Park, multiple collaborations with Felix Da Housecat, and membership in the City Rockers/International Deejay Gigolos group XLover. From this you might expect Motors LP to be splashy, trashy post-electroclash fun but the records appearance on Novamute should disabuse you of that notion. Motor is electroid techno stripped-to-the-bone, flayed-raw, and then pumped up with the cartoon machismo of EBM, especially on the vocal tracks, one of which goes so far as to feature Douglas McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb. Sweatbox is a bass heavy acid line, reverbed out biscuit tin snare tattoos, a kick drum, and little else. The grubby arpeggios of Black Powder threaten to break under their own weight as they become increasingly distorted and twisted. On Botox, programmed rock drums flange into the ether whilst bit-crushed guitar-substitutes brings in pretty much the only high end on the album. A little too monotone, low-end obsessed, and one-dimensionally sleazy to convince over the full hour (Hey man, have you got any gak? asks the track Yak, like the punchline to a 2003 Popbitch mailout) but in small doses, and at high volume, this is invigorating.

Novamute / 170
[Patrick McNally]