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Ten “Undercard” Acts You Should Check Out During Movement Detroit 2017

Photo by Amin KO Beydoun

Movement Electronic Music Festival, or Movement for short, is no doubt the biggest North American underground dance music focused festival. Celebrating 11 years under the current name and direction of Paxahau, Movement returns to Detroit’s Hart Plaza this coming Memorial Day Weekend with a packed lineup of house, tech house, techno and more.

While the headliners and bigger names on the roster draw the most attention, naturally, Paxahau did a great job in filling out the lineups’ “undercard” section with a good array of talent spanning several genres. It also appears that they reverted to their old formula of featuring three days of techno at the Underground Stage, although that will not be confirmed until set times are out in the weeks to come.

So, if you’re heading to Detroit this coming May (and you should be, here is where you can buy tickets) why not look beyond Carl Cox, Adam Beyer and Seth Troxler? Branch out and explore some new names, some of which don’t tour the U.S. often or are local to the Detroit and could be a welcome surprise to your festival weekend. In our personal opinion the Movement lineup’s undercard section includes names worthy of being above the “fold”, such as Coyu, Francesca Lombardo, drumcell, Adam X & Perc, Rebekah, etc, so we will not focus on those, but will try to provide some other acts you may have not heard of that will be worth checking out. Bear in mind that this list will be read by Movement veterans and debutants alike, so please be understanding if you happen to be one of the former and are familiar with acts we have chosen. It is also no coincidence that a large number of them are Detroit-born, or Detroit-bred, giving further weight to the quality of each artist selected.

Below are our 10 “undercard” recommendations from this year’s Movement festival lineup, listed in alphabetical order.

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Confessions of a Techno Elitist

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

I don’t often pray to the Techno Gods but this mea culpa is assuredly due. You see, I have made the cardinal mistake of casting doubt and alienating those who don’t share the same musical values as me, at times questioning their very persona as a result.

Art is subjective. Music is subjective. But it’s easy to forget that in the age of the internet where trolling has become an art form and social media has mutated into an outlet where anyone can say anything without major risk of real repercussion, for the most part at least. I have been called a “techno snob” or “techno elitist” far too many times to count or even want to remember, and in the past have frankly always embraced the label with a sense of pride.

I erred not in taste, but in forgetting the journey that took me to where I am now. I discovered electronic music through the golden age of trance, as some may call it, back when Tiesto and Armin van Buuren were at the apex of their careers. Slowly but surely I waded my way through UK dubstep, as heralded by Skream and Benga and their infamous East Croydon parties, the progressive house movement spearheaded by the iconic John Digweed and Sasha, the rise of EDM and main stage big room house in the United States and various other genres in between. While techno and house music were the backbone of it all, I dabbled and sampled, ultimately finding my niche in the darkness of basement clubs or warehouses of the various cities I ended up calling home, from Milan to London, and more recently Chicago and Los Angeles.

But everyone’s musical journey is different. Not only is the destination not necessarily the same, but even if it happens to be, the paths taken to get there vary from person to person. It may take some years to discover their love for underground dance music, while others may be attracted by the fine nuances of ambient techno after only a few months of discovery. And some may even foray into “our world” and decide that it’s not for them. “Boring! It all sounds the same,” you will hear them say, or tweet, when referring to their visit to EDC Vegas’ Neon Gardens stage or Ultra’s Carl Cox Arena. Interestingly enough that has been my response to big room house and EDM main stage sets for a few years now, so I do become somewhat indignant inside every time I hear the same said about the type of music that I listen to. Personally, I genuinely feel quality techno is constructed on several layers of subtle sounds and complex shades, and that it takes a “trained” ear to not only recognize that, but come to love it. Yet, to some it sounds like the same 4×4 loop over and over again.

That is not to say that there aren’t lazy and complacent DJs. Or that all techno is brilliant. There is bad techno and good techno and there are both good techno sets and awful, lazy uninspired techno sets. As a promoter and writer I can critique how the music is produced, and delivered, but it is not my job to place opinions on whether said music is “good” or “bad” merely because of the genre it falls under. If certain artists have found success in learning how to craft a well-rounded EDM album, I don’t see what’s wrong with that. It may not be my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t drink it and find joy in doing so.

Everyone’s individual preference in music is dictated and influenced by a concoction of extremely subjective ingredients, including upbringing, early musical influences, socio-economic background, culture, and that one magic element that differentiates each one of us from the other: individual personality. No two people in this world are the same, and as such it would be foolish to expect everyone to agree on an art form such as music, much less when it comes to the ever-so-fractured world of electronic music and all its genres and sub-genres.

The truth of the matter is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to electronic music. Ultimately the only thing that is important is what the music communicates to the individual listener, how it makes them feel, the emotions and memories it evokes and the ability to transport them into a world where the woes and worries of life are no longer, even if for just a few hours. Whether it’s “obnoxious” bro-step or melodic vocal trance, banging Berlin techno or the dreamy sounds of Burning Man-inspired playa tech, the DJ’s job is to take its audience on a journey by stringing together a well-curated list of tracks that tell a unique story. A good DJ is able to do that regardless of the genre they are playing, and while I can judge the skills and story-telling techniques behind every DJs set, I am no one to judge the genre used as the medium for that individual performance.

The other argument is that anything well-known and mainstream is immediately bad. Again that’s faulty logic I have been guilty of perpetrating myself, and one that often leads “techno elitists” to be quite the contradictory people. We would love for European techno artists that never make it across the pond to get booked for shows here in the States, and we would love for the massive-scale techno productions at events throughout Europe to be accessible in our country also, but immediately roll our eyes and turn our heads the moment some of our favorite “underground artists” start to become more known. I feel like we want one thing, but also the opposite, and that we sometimes fail to realize that what we consider underground techno in the States is part of the more mainstream culture in countries such as Germany, Italy or the Netherlands. Go to Amsterdam Dance Event just once (or any of the Reaktor Events), and you will see what I mean: throngs of 18-22 year olds dancing to obscure lineups filled with names that barely ever make it Stateside, and if/when they do are mostly greeted by small crowds even in large metropolis such as New York or Los Angeles. At some point we have to choose what we want: do we want our scene to remain small and confined to small parties forever, or do we want to be able to witness the same caliber of artists and events as Europe right here in our own backyard?

You can choose to rip apart an “ignorant”, amateurish new-comer, and possibly estrange them from the beauty of the underground forever in the process, or you can be patient and allow them to discover if it’s for them at their own pace, with a little helping hand of course. Find out what they like and why they like it, feed them music from artists that may bridge the gap between what they are listening now and what they may learn to love in months from now. Don’t look down on them simply because “they don’t get it” yet, because let’s face it, that was probably you at some point on your musical journey in the past.

I strongly believe that the one thing that binds “techno elitists” or “techno snobs” together is how strong they feel about their favorite artists, and how passionate they are for the preservation of a music scene they hold close to their hearts. We can choose to channel that love to educate and subsequently grow our music scene, which is something we will all benefit from, or alternatively can choose to remain “closed-minded techno snobs” and disaffect those who may one day be seeking out the comfort of the very same dark techno dungeon we love to migrate to in the early hours of every weekend morning.

Ultimately, I am calling myself out with this piece. I apologize for anyone I belittled or made to feel un-welcome with my words in the past. I apologize if my online FB comments or tweets came across as mean or unaccepting. My intentions weren’t necessarily bad, but my delivery surely was. I realize now that I need to be more understanding, and I need to be more accepting. I need to realize that the best thing I can do is to not alienate people who have a different music taste than mine, but rather to extend a welcoming branch and let them know that if they ever want to have a taste of what I love so much, I will be the first one to lead them to one my favorite techno warehouse party series.

Featured image by @nightmovesme taken from Vayu Sound x Synthetik Minds pres. Vayu Sound 1 Year Anniversary ft. Kangding Ray in LA

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You Can Now Purchase a Piece of Berghain’s Iconic Mural

Want to own a piece of techno history? You now can if you get your hands on one of Berghain’s most treasured souvenirs!

The iconic mural that used to line up the club’s famed entrance has recently been taken down, with pieces now up for sale. The tiled mural, made by artist Piotr Nathan, was called Rituals Of Disappearance and had greeted club goers and Berghain rejects alike since the venue opened back in 2004.

Berghain ownership is renovating the club’s entrance area, which is why the art work was dismantled and all 171 aluminum panels of Rituals Of Disappearance put on sale. There is no denying that a piece of Berghain’s iconic entrance would be a pretty amazing art addition to any techno lover’s home.

Piotr himself explained that he hopes the pieces find their way into the home of those who have come to celebrate Berghain and inside it, “After all, this massive mural, although conceived in form and content for a museum, was ultimately designed and realized in this extraordinary club. I compare partying at Berghain to cultic celebrations of indigenous tribes.”

The price for each tile isn’t cheap, at $500 each. Pieces of Piotr Nathan’s Rituals Of Disappearance can be bought via an exclusive website hosted by Berghain.

Richie Hawtin Announces CLOSE, New Live Performance Project

We knew Richie Hawtin was working on something special for the coming months, when a teaser tweet from Movement Detroit announced that he would be bringing his new CLOSE project on the festival’s Main Stage this coming May.

The Windsor-born and Detroit-bred techno artist has now announced more about the project, unveiling the full scope and mission of the new live performance set-up he is about to debut in front of tens of thousands of fans.

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Global Vibe Radio Episode 050 feat. MODOR

For this week’s edition of Global Vibe Radio we welcome Italian producer and DJ MODOR.

MODOR is a techno and electronic underground music producer based in Italy. Although this project was launched in 2015, MODOR made his way into the music industry with another alias back in 2003. During this time he has played many clubs throughout Italy, as well as abroad in countries such as Greece and Spain. Utilizing Ableton software and a beloved Korg synth, MODOR is constantly searching for the perfect sound based on atmospheres, bridges between genres, electronic melodies with effects, distortions and cutoffs, sometimes also incorporating deep and sub bass lines and dark vocals too.

His hard work in the studio and behind the decks has earned him releases on Puchero Records (Costa Rica) owned by Macho Iberico and Mely Rodríguez.

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Top 13 European Techno Festivals

2017 promises to be a great year for techno music with a lot of techno music festivals to watch out for. More so in Europe, where techno music is pretty much a way of life among many people there. Today, we have compiled a list of the 13 techno festivals you should check out this year if ever you plan visiting the continent. For clarification, this list takes into account one-location multi-stage festivals rather than multi-club or venue festivals.

Check out the artists, dates, and venues each techno festival has to offer, listed in alphabetical order:

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Are We Taking The Underground Scene Too Seriously? – An Interview with Austin Gebbia (Dear Morni)

The mere mention of clubbing and nightlife evokes thoughts of dark rooms, a dance floor filled with black-clad partygoers, sunglasses and a sense of elitism that would put the Royal family to shame. In all fairness, it’s hard to not imagine nightlife, and in particularly the techno scene, as a truly serious affair. But is it really?

Early last year, I encountered a seemingly bizarre Twitter account that used the handle @DearMorni. Whoever this Dear Morni was, they clearly enjoyed making crude yet pin-pointed jokes at the expense of the DJs, clubs, and really anything that was dance music related with a focus on underground house and techno. The more tweets I read, the more I laughed. The jokes were all brutal yet innocent, and always contained at least a pinch of truth. Most were accompanied by haphazard memes that were also getting love on Dear Morni’s Instagram account. The photoshop job on each was boorish but I could sense it was part of gig  – there was sure nothing serious about Dear Morni.

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CRSSD Festival – Crossing Over From The Main Stage

Guest post by Saxe Coulson

Although many European brands have managed to curate festivals that feature all house and techno artists, it seems as if the United States is still a bit behind. Awakenings did not take place again in New York this year and Time Warp hasn’t continued past its 2014 and 2015 editions either. Woogie Weekend is also not going to be taking place again this year and neither is the smaller Freeform Festival in Pennsylvania.

Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit contains 90% house and techno acts, and has grown in size every year with more and more after-parties taking place and more brands and sponsors coming on board. This is partly due to the festival being located in Detroit, the birthplace of techno, the long-running history and quality of the festival itself and its after-parties, and the chance to see artists that normally don’t come to the United States. Detroit has been playing homage to techno since the ‘80s and Movement Festival is a highly acclaimed and widely celebrated event that draws visitors from all over the country and beyond.

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Celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 with our Techno Playlist

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, we decided to honor some of the best techno producers and DJs in the game with a specially curated playlist of live sets and mixes.

Totaling over 23 hours of hard-hitting techno, our SoundCloud playlist includes music from some of the most prominent acts in today’s underground electronic music scene. You can listen to live sets by Rebekah, Lady Starlight, Dasha Rush, Fatima Hajji and Charlotte de Witte, as well as guest mixes by Paula Temple, Annie Hall, Rrose, Janice, Anetha, Hydrangea, Mary Velo, Anastasia Kristensen, Mirella Kroes and Adriana Lopez.

Enjoy:

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Q&A and Global Vibe Radio Episode 049 feat. Stefan Weise

Welcome back to Global Vibe Radio!

For this 49th episode we have enlisted the musical prowess of producer and DJ Stefan Weise. Now residing in the United States, Stefan is originally from Italy and Germany, and has been involved with electronic music production and DJing for over two decades. He discovered his passion thanks to his father, who was a DJ in Italy, and an upbringing that included a lot of early introduction to underground electronic music, as well as funk, soul, Motown, disco and acid house.

Heavily influenced by Detroit and Amsterdam techno, sci-fi concepts and science, Stefan has been the host of the monthly “Blue Industries” radio show on Proton Radio for over a decade, and has released on labels such as Wolf Trap, Lucidflow, Audiophile Deep, Frequenza, Moveubabe Records, PUNCHIS Black, Eintakt and Evoked Recordings. Stefan just released his Paradrum EP on 3KM Records, containing an original, a personal take on the title-track and a remix by Nadja Lind. The EP, which has received early support from the likes of Danny Tenaglia, Ian Pooley, Fred P, Fabrice Lig and Ben Sims, is available for purchase via Beatport.

Enjoy the mix below and read on for our interview with him in honor of the occasion.

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