Wintry February is winding down, Valentine hearts are trashed, and the promise of spring is still a few whispered rumors away.
While working producers and DJs count the days until the Winter Music Conference, the dance music schmooze 'n' groove fest held each March in Miami, Detroit's clubbers and ravers are getting their dance on wherever they can around town, with options including one-off spectacles, weekly rotations or even the privacy of your mother's basement in the burbs. Hey, whatever helps you dance the chill away, right?
Paxahau, of course, is always ready to raise the temperature. The Ferndale-based promotions crew, busily teasing the world with periodic bulletins (via www.myspace.com/paxahau) pimping the Movement Festival this Memorial Day weekend, brings the still-hot Loco Dice back to the D for another round of what the performer calls "houseroom madness." (Dice last appeared locally at Richie Hawtin's pre-Thanksgiving party at Clutch Cargo's.) He's been busy, burning up the underground with sexy marathon mixes and crispy, minimal lovers rock on labels such as Windsor's Minus and Zurich's Cadenza. "Harissa," Dice's late-2006 double 12" EP that made dozens of year-end best-of lists, is a soundtrack for the sunny Mediterranean days of our collective imagination. Anticipating hearing any of its four gorgeous, long tracks might be the perfect antidote for the slush and ice underfoot as you make your way out at night. See Loco Dice, and the rescheduled appearance of Windsor's Mark Houle who unfortunately missed a January date with Minus label mate Troy Pierce due to a death in his family Friday night at Esko, 201 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Paxahau's John Johr supports. Sound by Burst.
Since five or six hours of repetitive mayhem is never enough in the time-stretched context of techno, Paxahau is teaming up with the upstart Tesh Club crew to keep the weekend spinning out of control in a proper way, we suggest with hope, as a note of chastisement and concern for the overindulgent among us. On Saturday, Feb. 24, the party moves to the Buzz Bar, host for the return of Dandy Jack and the Junction SM. Chilean-born, Berlin-based Martin Schopf has recorded under cheeky aliases like Dandy Jack and the Latin Elvis and Ric y Martin, and also is known for his efforts with Pink Elln in the electro-pop duo Sieg Über Die Sonne. Also appearing at Buzz are London's K.Atou and Detroit's Vacuum. Special guests are promised. 546 E. Larned St., Detroit. More info on both events at paxahau.com.
The party at the Buzz remains alive and twitching on Sunday, resuming at noon and going until 2 a.m. Monday. Presented by Auxetic, SunDay Beats is a monthly day rave that has featured guests from Tesh Club, Paxahau and other local groups, as well as visits from talented out-of-town friends. On Feb. 25, the spotlight will be on Tesh clubber Ryan Crosson, who records for Minus under the Berg Nixon moniker and recently dropped the bouncy dance floor two-tracker "Gotham Road/Hopscotch" on Cologne's Trapez Ltd. Crosson will fight it out behind the decks with Baltimore's Ben Parris (Foundsound). More Tesh representation comes via Lee Curtiss, who will perform live, and Seth Troxler, who DJs. Other guests include Sven Lito, Em-J and K.Atou. For more information go to myspace.com/auxetic3.
Show your colors
This Friday also features two other events that are looking for your love. Jackit, a periodic house music party launched last winter at Corktown Tavern, presents version 5.0 at Pulse (156 Monroe St., Detroit) with special guests Aaron-Carl, who will tag with DJ Chyll, Trench, Steven Stock and Rick Wilhite a member of 3 Chairs, the Detroit-based collective that lines up deep, deeper and deepest with Malik Pittman, Theo Parrish and Kenny Dixon Jr.
Wilhite, by the way, also runs Vibes, a record store known by househeads around the world. In its stacks you might find that rare 12" on Sound Signature, or perhaps the newest release on Omar S's FXHE label. Vibes is at 14500 W 8 Mile Rd. in Oak Park; call 248-967-9904 for hours and more information.
Techno is nothing if not a global phenomenon, spiraling out from nerve centers in Berlin, Cologne, and London, and ending up in the strangest of places. You know, like right back where it all began here in Detroit. To celebrate this, three performers from different backgrounds but connected at the hip by music are hosting Benetton: A Night of Multiculturalism. The kickoff to the planned monthly event features Kaku, a producer/DJ originally from Japan and now living in Detroit; and locals Mike Ransom and Kevin Reynolds, whose Todhchai records the Gaelic name is inspired by Reynolds' Irish heritage sponsors the night. At Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore, Detroit; 313-873-1739.
If you need a more regular fix of the music you love, some newish weeklies have popped up that promise to satisfy.
Fresh Corporation, the promotional group headed by Adriel Thornton (call him Adriel Fantastique for bonus points) and responsible for the 10-years running Family party franchise, launches a/s/l next Wednesday (Feb. 28) at Esko. Opening night DJs are Patrick Russell, who recently opened for Jeff Mills at the (now shuttered) Fifth Avenue Downtown, and Mike Servito, who splits time between duties in Dorkwave, Untitled and his own Sass events. For more information, go to myspace.com/freshcorp.
And if you don't mind the commute between Ann Arbor and Royal Oak, you can make two related weeklies within a three-day span. The party is called Bloom, and it flowers each Monday at Vinology (110 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-222-9841) and Thursdays at CINQ, the sleek lounge located beneath Bastone and Vinotecca (419 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6250). Bloom promoters Lauren Hill and Jeff Owens, whose day job is label manager for Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International/Spectral Sounds, say to expect future appearances by Ghostly's Tadd Mullinix and Todd Osborn, Moodgadget's Aarnio and Chicago's Traxx. Past Bloomers have included Carlos Souffront, Ectomorph's Erika and Damian Man, a Grosse Pointe native now based in Prague. More information at myspace.com/bloom_creation.
Finally, some shameless self-promotion. Your Subterraneans scribe will deliver a gallery talk this Friday, Feb. 23, at the Cranbrook Art Museum (39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3300). The talk is called Sound Effects: Music Builds Community in Shrinking Cities, and it's part of the Shrinking Cities exhibition now showing at Cranbrook and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Music from Germany, Russia and the UK will be part of the presentation, which begins at 7 p.m. and will last an hour. For more information, visit Cranbrook's Web site, www.cranbrookart.edu.The Subterraneans is a weekly column devoted to Detroit dance culture. Send comments to [email protected]