With Nausea, its fourth release, Adult. brings to light what’s really driving our post-”X-Files” generation: fears, phobias and mistrust. Using extended metaphors about fears of being touched and of germs standing in for relationships and missed opportunities, Adult. refines its phobias and brings white latex gloves to the dressed-in-black crowd. The music finds Adam and Nicola exploring 4/4 rhythms with intense adrenaline-filled explosions of melody peppered with electric bass playing on three of the five tracks. The unmistakable gem of this record (along with the cover) is “Love Sick,” which works on every level, from concept to melody to being just plain catchy. Adult. makes its strongest statement to date with music, lyrics and imagery moving in perfect harmony through Nausea. In fact the imagery is rapidly growing in prowess, with a successful recent picture disc on Rotterdam’s Clone, and Nicola Kuperus’ current photo exhibition at detroit contemporary, as well as a cover that stands alone as a work of art. This is the real death disco. It’s available from Ersatz Audio, www.ersatzaudio.com.
In 1992, UK-based Warp records released a milestone compilation, Artificial Intelligence, giving a name to a style that was evolving at the time: IDM or intelligent dance music (a name as accurate as progressive house). It was really a more experimental and technical approach to techno and hip hop, with a focus on the bong-loaded living room rather than the dance floor. This compilation contained much of what would later define the genre: Aphex Twin, Autechre, Black Dog, and the graphics team Designer’s Republic — as well as inspiring generations of artists and labels to pick up the torch and make this sound progress. This has proved to be a difficult task; most fail, falling victim to technique over substance. There have been more than a few notable exceptions, though, and no American label has succeeded more than Miami’s Schematic.
Founded in 1996 by Romulo Del Castillo and Joshua “Jeswa” Kay, Schematic began as an outlet for the more esoteric and experimental outings from their then Astralwerk project Soul Oddity. With the advent of their Phoenecia project, Schematic quickly grew into a full-time endeavor. This resulted in brilliance in sound and packaging, and brought to light some of the genre’s most talented artists, including Atlanta’s Richard Devine (so badass he got to remix the Aphex Twin). This year, Phoenecia and Devine have seen praise coming from all sides, playing Sonar, Warp’s Lighthouse event, and getting write-ups in the Wire. Both have albums forthcoming: Richie Devine’s Lipswitch, to be co-released through Warp this January and Phoenicia’s Brownout, coming in March. Few artists are able to sustain such an intensity in their music as Devine, and his legendary two-laptop shows have been electrifying audiences around the globe. Now this unique brand of futuristic, pretzel-logic head-funk is coming to Detroit via Motor’s Research and Development series, with live shows from both Phoenecia and Richie Devine, as well as a DJ set from Jeswa. Also featured will be Clark Warner, as well as your humble narrator spinning. The show happens on November 29th at Motor, located at 3515 Caniff, Hamtramck. Call 313-369-0090 or see www.motordetroit.com.
Canonical techno review
It’s the year 2000 and we’re way past the seventh sign of the apocalypse (1,500,000 people at the DEMF, Derrick May returning to production, Detroit artists officially remixing Kraftwerk, etc.), but I was still shocked when I heard one of my all-time favorite bass lines booming from TV during prime time. It makes sense, Model 500 in a Ford ad, but I still never thought I’d see it happen. You can catch the author of that bass line, Juan Atkins, playing soulful future music at Transmat’s Temple night for free on Thursday Nov. 30 (21+, 344 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale — 248-414-7400). The rest of the Detroit techno canon will be playing at Motor Thanksgiving Eve (tonight!), with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson doing a four-hour, four-turntable set, and Carl Craig performing his own five-hour set. Herdest Cummings and Hannah will also be featured. Call Motor or check the Web.Pitch’d is MT’s biweekly column devoted to Detroit’s BPM musiculture. E-mail to [email protected]