Ghostly breeds

Dear diary

On his upcoming album, Matthew Dear reveals himself to be a “Midnight Lover.” Not surprising, is it girls? But Dear — versatile, accomplished and a local shining light for the last decade — also tells us he’s a “deserter” from love, a man who’s been around the world, seen his share, smoked too much, and become an infidel for commitment. Is it all over now, he asks, or is it just beginning?

Dear confesses the minimal techno blues and ponders big life questions on Asa Breed, set for release on Ann Arbor’s Ghostly International in June. And though Dear has used vocals on his previous recordings Leave Luck to Heaven and Backstroke, this 12-song cycle is a different animal entirely.

Dear’s digging deeper, writing from real experience. There’s passion and pain, joy and regret — written here as a travelogue that hints at the insane speed of his techno life. On the plaintive “Give Me More,” we go around the world in a slow-motion blur, hearing about “waking in the middle of days/ dreaming of ladies I’ll never make” but then coming back down to earth to admit, “that’s OK/ there’s a big hole in my life.”

On “Vine to Vine,” Dear revisits his Texas roots and delivers an angry, dust-kicking death-folk guitar stomp, and on “Death to Feelers” he sets the stage for a light pop moment with cascading melodies and swirling echo effects, then tells us “I was supposed to make grand observations/ but I lost my train of thought.”

Asa Breed finds Dear mining a vein seldom explored in techno soul, whatever’s left of it. And that means this one isn’t just for the club kids. (Thank god.) See Dear and his band Big Hands do it live April 20, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. DJ support by Nice ’em Up Boys (Ryan Elliott and Ghostly label boss Sam Valenti IV). Doors 9 p.m. $10.


Ghostly gas

Ghostly dance subsidiary Spectral Sounds has begun releasing a series of 12-inchers featuring a variety of artists, including familiar locals and exotic newcomers to the label.

Called Death is Nothing to Fear, the series is backed up with tours by select DJs and producers. Artists involved in the project include Dear’s hard techno alias Audion, Tadd Mullinix’s James T. Cotton alter ego, Jonas Kopp and Plan Tec (a duo made up of Kopp and Phirter) from Argentina, and Sweden’s Mikael Stavöstrand — a sonic reducer who’s been producing choppy tech-house dance-floor jams since the late 1990s. Pär Grindvik is also on board; Grindvik performed here last month at the Fresh Corporation’s a/s/l weekly party at the Esko. The same weekly event brings Bodycode to town tonight (Wednesday, April 18). Bodycode (real name Alan Abrahams, a native of South Africa who now lives in Portugal and also performs under the name Portable) delivered a talked-about live set at last year’s Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF), then brought it inside and crushed people again at the Ghostly afterparty at the Bankel. Doors tonight at 10 p.m. $5. At Esko, 201 Michigan Ave., Detroit. More info at

What’s more, there’s another regular label-related event worth plugging: Ghostly label manager Jeff Owens and Lauren Hill have a hit on their hands with Bloom, which began last year in the basement of Ann Arbor’s Vinology (110 S. Main St., Ann Arbor), then moved upstairs to a window that overlooks busy Main St. It kicks Mondays in Ann Arbor and Thursdays in Royal Oak’s CINQ (419 Main St.). Bloom is stepping it up of late with special guests Dykehouse, Traxx and James T. Cotton. Osborne (the versatile Todd Osborn, who also performs under the ferocious musical nom de guerre Soundmurderer) steps up to the DJ mixer at Vinology this Monday (April 23). 10 p.m. Free.


Happy anniversary, baby

A party for the sake of a party is still — a party. But if it commemorates the moment the party originated, then you have a party you can track through history. Such is the case with Renaissance Soul Detroit’s six-year anniversary party at Northern Lights Lounge.

The party, slated for Friday, April 20, will help raise funds for the J. Dilla Foundation. After Dilla died early last year of complications from lupus, Renaissance Soul Detroit collected more than $5,300 to benefit the foundation, which funds lupus research as well as art programs for underprivileged youth. The organization, run by Kelly “K-Fresh” Frazier, is planning a series of music events to support after-school music programs in Detroit. John Arnold and Jeremy Ellis will be performing original J. Dilla beats exclusively through hands-on electronic instruments. Well done, Fresh. Northern Lights, 660 W. Baltimore, Detroit. 10 p.m. $7. For more information go to

Also celebrating an anniversary is Sunday Beats, which helped reacquaint the late-night dance crowd with something that might have gone missing in their lives: daylight. Special guests at the series, started by local promotions group Auxetic, have included minimalists-about-town Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss and Seth Troxler of Royal Oak’s Tesh Club (soon to be relocated to Berlin); and Paxahau’s Chuck Flask, John Johr and Rich Korach. Out-of-town guests have included Montreal’s J. Hunsberger, K.Atou from London and Chicago’s Sassmouth.

On Sunday, April 29, Brooklyn-based Alkarex — a duo made up of Alexander Kailine and Edward Krilov, originally from St. Petersburg, Russia — and Detroit’s Eric Johnston, among others, will perform noon to 2 a.m. [14 hours?] At the Buzz Bar, 546 E. Larned, Detroit. For more information go to


People groovers

Detroiter Jason Hogans has been quietly making downtempo house abstractions since the late 1990s. He’s released tracks on Carl Craig’s Planet-E and Kenny Dixon’s Mahogani, two of the most influential indie electronic labels ever.

On April 26, Hogans will perform a two-hour live set as Brownstudy, combining elements of jazz, hip hop and electronics on new music on his own Really Nice Recordings imprint. Also on stage will be two Detroit-based producers who’ve released music on Paxahau’s D-Records: People Mover Productions’ Andy Toth and Colin Zyskowski. This is fourth installment of People Mover’s monthly event at Grand Central Lounge, 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit. 10 p.m. $5.

The Subterraneans is a column dedicated to Detroit dance culture. Send comments to [email protected]
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