Oct 6, 1999 at 12:00 am

Chicks on Speed

For some reason when I was in school, there were always fewer females than males in my science and math classes. I could never figure this out. When I got into techno, there was the same problem. Perhaps some of the curriculum needed to be modified: more bass, more syncopation. It’s a biological fact that due to the shape of women’s hips, bass frequencies resonate deeper and women can actually hear and feel more bass. Perhaps this is why so many excel at jungle, electro and house – the more bass-oriented and funky sides of electronic music. Perhaps not, but the gender inequity seems to be slowly but surely disappearing.

Finally we’re seeing wholesale changes in people’s perceptions of what a woman can do – from running for president to producing electronic music. While some continue to market themselves as sex objects, such as DJ Rap, some, including the UK’s Andrea Parker, have taken a much deeper approach. She mixes and produces a wide range of deep, dark, rhythmically complex music ranging from electro to hip hop and techno-inspired work (as showcased on her latest Mo Wax album, Kiss My Arp). Coming to town hot on the heels of her Studio K7 mix CD – where she played such Detroit artists as Carl Craig, Juan Atkins, Dopplereffekt and Drexciya (the latter having just released a new album on Detroit’s Tresor label) – she proves that she’s as eclectic behind the decks as she is in the studio. Though Parker may not be a master turntablist, her open-minded approach should prove quite satisfying. She’ll be playing in an ideal setting for her sounds: industrial Pontiac on Oct. 22 at the 7th House (info: 248-975-8773 or www.intuit-solar.com).

In Detroit, we’ve always had very strong women, and in techno we have booking, graphic arts and promotion companies owned and run by women. We’ve also got a long history of important female producers-DJs-label owners, such as K Hand. We boast the Women on Wax, featuring some of our brightest talents – male or female – Magda and Minx, who focus on the house and electro side of the spectrum. On the jungle side, we have Lauren Flax and the Punisher. And, in the electro bass world, Detroit is home to female artists such as Black Electric and Aux 88 offshoot X-ile.

Better still, in electronic music’s spirit of equality, there’s a handful of mixed-sex bands recording, performing live and hailing from the Detroit area. On the 22nd we’ll see one of Detroit’s best post-electro proto-new wave groups, Adult, performing live alongside Andrea Parker. Adult has a relatively short history, having formed in 1998 from the ashes of a car wreck (one-half of the group, Adam Miller, was half of area electro outfit Le Car). Half of the group’s strength lies in multitalented Nicola Kuperus on vocals and keyboards working alongside Ersatz Audio label founder Miller. Their tense, terse sound is demonstrated on their latest EP, Entertainment. In the recordings grooves, Adult brings a new focus to the shifting nexus of electronic musics. After the band’s recent live sets in Helsinki, Finland, the Oct. 22 7th House show will be Adult’s Detroit-area debut. Regardless of gender, it’ll be an ear-opening show.