The intercontinentalists

So you’ve looked over the list of performers at Fuse-In and paused at names like Bangkok Impact, Cobra Killer, Luke Eargoggle, Marco Passarani, Jacek Sienkiewicz and Sten. Who are they, where are they from, and what does their music sound like? There are more names, even more obscure: Apparat, Pheek, Phon.o, Serge, DJ TRL and on and on and on.

Welcome to one of the Detroit electronic music festival’s most intriguing annual headfucks: who to take a chance on, who to skip? The international artists that are must-sees vary according to taste, but the representation is so strong this year it’s hard recommending against seeing any of them.

From the Netherlands, expect in-your-face electro-disco-punk from Legowelt, Orgue Electronique, Serge and DJ TRL; expect more of the same from Finland’s Bangkok Impact, but accented with an arctic melancholy chill. The mood becomes slightly more temperate in the music of Montreal, Canada’s Akufen, Pheek, Mike Shannon and Deadbeat; and it heats up by degrees in the music of Italians Passarani, Raiders of the Lost ARP and longtime Detroit favorite Alexander Robotnick (whose 1983 Ital-disco classic “Problemes d’amour” still finds its way into nearly every DJ’s bag).

Speaking of hot, Chilean Lucien Nicolet (who performs as Luciano) combines Latin drums with austere German minimalism meant to keep you sweaty and feeling elegant at the same time; Hamburg, Germany’s Sten (aka Lawrence, real name Peter M. Kersten) will likely do the same, as will Berliners Apparat, Phon.o. and Peter Grummich. DJ virtuoso Highfish (real name Marcin Kozlowski) will play anything as long as it makes you move; look for a harder charge from his Polish countryman, Jacek Sienkiewicz, and from the Detroit-influenced Ken Ishii, the only artist from Japan in the lineup.

One of the weekend’s highlights might be a festival-closing performance by Berlin electro-sluts, Cobra Killer. Singers Annika Trost and Gina V. D’Orio will do almost anything to please an audience. Here’s one recommendation: If watching leggy babes with high cheekbones rolling around in their blood ain’t your thing, steer clear.

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