Comes in colors

May 26, 2010 at 12:00 am


From: Detroit

Sounds like: Solid, party-kid-tested Detroit techno from a mega-promoter turned meta-producer who knows how to throw a party (Sunday night's "I ©? You But I've Chosen Techno" afterparty at the Works with SF's Claude Vonstroke) as much as spin one, as his work on his two-year-old Detek label and crew prove. It's a long way from throwing raves under the Ambassador Bridge with Rabbit in the Moon, but Gabe — and next-gen Detroit party kids — wouldn't have it any other way.

Danceable? Hell, yeah — and watchable too: Detek's VJ VGER chops up the visuals for Gabe's set.

When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 3-4 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage. 



From: Berlin via Detroit

Sounds like: Progressive house from the First Lady of Detroit Techno. Hand's Acacia Records is one of the oldest (and only) female-owned labels in the usual "lads'" club of veteran producers and DJs. Seriously funky, in a kind of get-in-your-head-and-dare-you-not-to-like-it way. 

Danceable: If her newly remastered "These Sounds Lead the Way" is any indication, yes. Prog house tends to favor lots of solid colors; Hand's kaleidoscopic rhythm programming on this track makes it sound like it's sprouting wings and taking the whole dance floor on an aerial tour of Hart Plaza. 

When: DJ Set, Sunday, May 30, 5:30-7 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.



From: Detroit and neighboring cities, mostly suburbs where strippers

Sounds like: The prodigal ghetto tech Heathcliff son of Detroit Techno's Wuthering Heights returning more mash-up remix, electro-house, sexy-party shit than ever before — and still not getting a lot of respect. Eh, fuck 'em. Godfather and his crew release some 50 tracks a month; his newest is a fist-pumpin' remix of DJ Laz and Pittbull's "I'm Not an Alcoholic." 

Danceable? Godfather's set will include the livest, raunchiest, most recognizable party jams of Movement — "techno" for people who don't necessarily like techno, but love-love-love to party. "Strings of Life," it ain't; amazin' bass-heavy booty jams it is. As Godfather puts it, "Nobody does it better." 

When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 4-5 p.m., Red Bull Stage.



From: Detroit suburbia

Sounds like: Detroit techno nurturing a truly global phenomenon in a single career. Deason's own releases (five albums' worth) on his Matrix label, as well as mentoring newer artists from Pittsburgh to Poland, show regular updates to the classic Detroit sound — wistful synth strings, poetic hi-hat and percussion patterns, sweeping melodies and artfully bangin'
909 drums.

Danceable? "With my archaic knowledge of all things electronic, I will be playing selections from my 25-plus years of vinyl collecting, including some pre-techno electronic tunes you didn't know existed as well as those you may have forgotten how much you loved," Deason says. 

When: DJ set Monday, May 31, 3:30-5 p.m., Main Stage.



From: Frankurt, Germany

Sounds like: Techno as somehow epic and intimate cinema for the soul as only two Germans as into yoga as they are — and into their blips and blurps and tone and knobs — can make.

Danceable? Their 2008 album, The Sun & the Neon Light, and the tasteful, restraint of their new More! albums show how Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier embrace the contradictions of their adopted genre with aplomb, maybe even with a sense of humor. Their 2007 Movement set was techno-as-afternoon-delight. Expect this year's headliner set to be a peak-hour romp followed by a post-coital midnight snack. 

When: Live Set Monday, May 31, 10:30-12 p.m., Red Bull Stage. 



From: Detroit 

Sounds like: Deep, deep house, done Detroit-style, which means lots of vintage synth peering over deadpan disco rhythms that work heads and hearts. Minx says she's working on remixes of the moody anthem "Tha D" with producer Pirahnahead, as well as the new "Twilight" with vocalist Diviniti, that's as decent a slab of soul at 135 bpm as Detroit's produced lately.

Danceable? As the prime mover of the attitude-and-estrogen-not-necessarily-in-that-order female DJ collective WomenOnWax (W.O.W), Minx is long a Movement favorite for her tasteful take on a sound that's uplifting without getting a cramp from keeping its hands in the air too long. Expect to hear the deep, grinning churn of artists like the Groove Assassins, Yass and Muthafunkaz delivered in a way that won't leave you too wiped-out to look forward to the rest of your night. 

When: DJ set, Monday, May 31, 8:30-9 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.



From: Detroit suburbia

Sounds like: Detroit Techno's first, best and arguably only original live act returning to form to deliver a career retrospective of the genre's biggest hits, which, coincidentally, are theirs, including "Good Life" and "Big Fun." 

Danceable? Led by maestro Kevin Saunderson (no word on whether his guitar synth is back in the fold) and his wife Ann, singer Paris Grey, original IC keyboard player Tommy Onyx and drummer Eric Hoegemeyer (Charm Farm, dBass), this is pretty much the same lineup that headlined stadiums in Europe when the Detroit sound first broke worldwide 20 years ago. So the answer's a mad-for-it "Yeah!" 

When: Live set, Sunday, May 30, 11 p.m.-midnight, Vitamin Water Stage.



From: New Zealand via Detroit via Ann Arbor

Sounds like: Organic post-techno funk capable of pushing into the hazy P-Funk extremes of such artists as Amp Fiddler and the jazzy, downtempo house of Mark de Clive-Lowe. Rec's last disc, 2009's Perfect Timing felt like a lazy Sunday house party anywhere in the world you'd want to be, peppered with reggae-tinged soul singers such as Joe Duke and Tyna.

Danceable? With a two-hour set Sunday, Recloose has time to show how deep his crates are, and, really, his just-so-in-love-with-the-music vibe (dude used to get mad if you called him a funky nerd, but the shoe fit). Carl Craig described the first DEMF as "serenading the Renaissance Center." Recloose serenades the rest of Detroit and its music history.

When: DJ set, Sunday, May 30, 2-4 p.m., Vitamin Water Stage.



From: The Netherlands

Sounds like: The warm, sample-based electronic funk that made us (and advertising music supervisors) fall in love with such acts as the Chemical Brothers, Moby, Fatboy Slim and Propellerheads back in the day — complete with a super-cool flipbook video for their breakout hit "Money in the Bag." 

Danceable? This Dutch trio is better known as a live act (they fared better in front of the indie masses at Coachella last year than Plastikman did this year), which is to say they actually have enough of their own songs and remixes to hold down a DJ set and then some. 

When: DJ set, Sunday, May 30, 8-9:30 p.m., Red Bull Stage.



From: Montreal by way of Brooklyn

Sounds like: The world's greatest teen scratch prodigy and Kanye West's DJ growing up to be one of the world's greatest party DJs, with a label (Fool's Gold) to prove it. That is, if his free, just-for-the-helluvit "Dirty South" mixtape he's giving away right now doesn't throw you.

Danceable: Eminently and Eminemly. A-Trak's maturation from hip-hop into hipster electrohouse means he can make Dilla, LCD Soundsystem, Caribou and Scissor Sisters work in a single set. 

When: DJ Set, Saturday, May 29, 9-10:30 p.m., Red Bull Stage.



From: Detroit-born, Detroit-bred, Malcolm X's in city of Detroit Reds

Sounds like: Two of Detroit's best and hardest emcees and protégés of Detroit hip-hop legend J Dilla team up with horn god Will Sessions' band of ringers (Mayer Hawthorne, etc.) to deliver Movement's most quintessential Deee-troit hip-hop experience to date.

Danceable? Each emcee is a formidable lyrical heavyweight and commanding presence and has worked with Sessions before. But together? Legend has it, Dilla had Guilty rhyme over his "Cold Steel" beat back in 2002, though the track was promised to and ultimately released by Phat Kat. If they do it Sunday, Hart Plaza will be like a huge satellite dish for all heaven breaking loose for Dilla to smile down from.

When: Live set, Sunday, May 30, 7-8 p.m., Red Bull Stage.

Websites: and


From: Chicago

Sounds like: A one-time Kanye West protégé who's also worked with with A-Trak, which explains how she can straddle the line between hipster electro-house, '90s dance-pop and classic "Ladies First" '80s hip-hop — and do it while wearing oversized sweaters and leggings. 

Danceable? Utterly. With a live band; bring a change of clothing.

When: Live set, Sunday, May 30, 6-7 p.m., Red Bull Stage.



From: Detroit

Sounds like: Detroit's musical odd couple — local-hero label owner and Family Funktionary Brian Gillespie and world-renowned Ypsi bleep genius Todd Osborne with the gifts of gear from Aphex Twin to prove it — teaming up to release backyard barbecue jams of booty electro reimagined ever so slightly through a tweaked IDM prism.

Danceable? Gillespie and Osborne are each super-accomplished DJs in their own rights; spinning together such S&C cuts as "Do It," "Work It, Shake It" and "Belle Isle Players" sounds like lost anthems of another time and another Detroit. Expect special Movement-exclusive edits and mixes. As Gillespie says, "Ain't no party like a Detroit booty-shakin' party." Start strippin', y'all.

When: DJ set, Sunday May 30, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Red Bull Stage.



From: Detroit.

Sounds like: Wilhite's could be called a more ambitious, techno-sized take on the better-at-a-smaller-club Detroit house sound. His breezy keys, clipped vocals and the occasional synth-stab drama put him in the company of such local legends as 3 Chairs mates Kenny Dixon Jr. and Theo Parrish. Call it house music for grown-ups still in touch with their inner children.

Danceable: Put it this way, John Maclean (DFA), the guy who helped invent electroclash and is now looking for inspiration after its decline, included Wilhite's classic "Get on Up!" not once, but twice on his unexpectedly techno- and house-inspired !K7 DJ-Kicks mix last month. 

When: DJ set, Saturday, May 29, 7:30-9 p.m., Made in Detroit stage.



From: Detroit.

Sounds like: A techno titan from the old west side school (and we're not just talking Cooley High), "Shake" was equally inspired by Marvin Gaye, 1970s hip hop and disco, and the shimmery electro-pop of the early 1980s. His homemade Frictional catalogue was recently remastered and rereleased in a gorgeous package — CD and vinyl — by Amsterdam's Rush Hour Records. His career is seeing a resurgence, despite a diagnosis of MS (in 2000) that has slowed his production and performance schedule the last 10 years. 

Danceable? Pssst: We heard it is — through the grapevine.

When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 7 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage



From: Paris, France

Sounds like: House group with new killer mix of mostly original works on Berlin's Watergate label, this quirky trio uses saxophone, keyboards, electronic programming and Heaven 17ish vocals to bring frolic to a sometimes over-serious genre. Highly anticipated debut LP in the works for later this year. 

Danceable? Bring your best Motor City soft shoe! 

When: Live set Monday, May 31, 5 p.m., Beatport Stage.



From: Glasgow, Scotland

Sounds like: An aqua-crunky, sniveling ambitious little shit with attitude, mixing real vinyl and destroying turntables since he was 15. All over the place on the happy hardcore vs. wonky vs. UK funky continuum. Signed with legendary Sheffield-originated now London-based Warp Records. A clever programming diversion in otherwise techno-heavy lineup. 

Danceable? If you dig running in place or running your mouth after swilling gallons of high-alcohol-content beer.

When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 5 p.m., Red Bull.



From: Hamburg, Germany

Sounds like: Ambient house, weirdo techno, abstract hip hop, glammy Euro-pop coming from the POV of a chill, northern soul. Member of International Pony and aka Adolph Noise, his contributions to the golden era of Playhouse and Kompakt (2003-2007) have stood the test of multiple good times — whether you remember them or not. 

Danceable? Sure is, but Koze can invade your REM sleep just as easily with his pop-ambient modern-classical digital ballads. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

When: DJ set Monday, May 31, 5 p.m., Red Bull.



From: Memphis (originally Chicago)

Sounds like: The godfather of gospel house, a tasty blender of jazz, disco and Motown inspirations. His reign of spiritual love stretches from associations with Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy on Chitown's south side to Diviniti on Detroit's west side. His hands are some of the most famous in the electronic music pantheon. They don't call him "Mr. Fingers" for nothin'.

Danceable? Since around 1985.

When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 6 p.m. Vitamin Water Stage.



From: Suburban Washington, D.C. (originally from the Netherlands)

Sounds like: A tall Dutch, drum 'n' bass kid who keeps adding and subtracting influences, including UK Garage and jungle, West Coast stoner hip hop, Midwest house and techno until all becomes self-described "Martyn music." He's been on a roll since 2007, when he launched his own 3024 imprint.

Danceable? He often changes tempos and styles mid-set. Give the body up ...

When: DJ set Saturday, May 29, 6 p.m., Red Bull Stage.



From: Detroit, now Alabama

Sounds like: The original minimal man, the real deal as opposed to so many charlatans, weak and forgettably fucked-up copyists of the past decade. His theory of reducing dance music to mere essences of rhythm and sound helped change the course of techno 20 years ago when he joined Mike Banks and Jeff Mills in Underground Resistance. His impact on sonic culture cannot be underestimated. New LP, Omega, out in June. 

Danceable? C'mon, if you need to ask, we might have to kill you. 

When: DJ set Sunday, May 30, 10 p.m., Made in Detroit Stage.



From: Detroit

Sounds like: What doesn't it sound like? The man mixes seemingly incongruous sounds better than anyone on the planet. Who wouldn't groove to Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Moodymann back to back to back? Maybe throw in a Radiohead curveball to come up for air, then go even deeper with a nugget from the Chicago acid era or one of his own Sound Signature productions. 

Danceable? Over, under, sideways, down. That's a yes.

When: DJ set Saturday, May 29, 9 p.m. Made in Detroit Stage.