Who cares about where a show is held anymore? You could hold a festival in toxic waste dump as long as it has a catchy enough name and cutesy enough surgical masks for giveaways. Same goes for venues. Is it just me or do other people not go to a show if it’s being held at the wrong place? I won’t go to shows at places that don’t care about the music.
Richie Hawtin was in town the week before Finals. Smooth move marketing people. To me, it was supposed to be a respite, a moment of calm, some Namaste (whatever that means) before we had every test and paper due. Instead, from the moment I bypassed that line I knew that this was not a place I ever wanted to come back to. Have you ever walked in to a building and said “Everybody in here is dying.” ? Well, that was the second time I ever said those words. It wasn’t from how great the music was. Both the sound system and the opener were about as sharp as a Fisher Price kitchen set. What I saw was people wasting away. Usually, that old scene attracts a different crowd because of a “Free Before 11” sausage casing of a gimmick. But this time was different than all others. There was no sparkle where magic was supposed to be. Without that magnificent brilliance, the true face of that venue revealed itself. A real venue invokes our most primitive notions of power. The flashes of lightning, a boom of thunder, the unstoppable flood. The magnitude of those moments not only made primitive humans question their place on Earth, but in the universe. This night, that artificial environment had nothing natural about it. There was nothing awe inspiring. We were neither terrified nor amazed. I was no more overwhelmed by the music (Hawtin, a living legend), than I was drowned in speaker joke after speaker joke. It was just a labored illusion. Music is not a salt mine for image. True art comes from the natural and real. I will not support a place that thinks about it otherwise. Even if I have a lot of friends who work there or do business there, I will never go back to that place. Plain and simple. I’ve seen the falseness of that club and will never support it because it’s not really about the music they bring. If anybody wants to say different, I will call them out on their bullshit too.
Most disappointing of all is when promoters don’t care about who they bring, as long as it makes them look underground. So if you’re looking to rebound from a string of unsuccessful shows, here’s the formula to make yourself relevant again. First, get somebody from a mainstream label. It doesn’t even matter who, if you’ve never heard of them, or even if you care about the label, as long as if brings people. (Examples: M_nus, Ajuana, Mau5trap) Second, show it in a venue hurting for business, because they will lax security and allow people to do whatever they want. The more rank and beaten down the venue, the more excusable peoples actions will be. So if somebody’s smoking crack, the freebase just adds to the ambiance. What you really want with places like this is for newbies to say, “I felt like I was in an authentic underground show”. You see people really want to think that they’re growing and more importantly that their getting tenure. There’s no way to recreate the atmosphere from twenty years ago, just like there isn’t an opportunity to be the first person to look upon a mountainside. They won’t walk up to the sheer vertical face of the rugged earth and whisper to themselves, “I am going to be the first person to conquer you.” They want you to lead them up to the through a side path and show them to the smooth trail. They want all of the reward, with none of the danger. All of the virtue, none of the authenticity. In the end, more people will remember you for scaling the authentic mountain, than for leading people down the manufactured road fitted for bandwagons.
This week in Music:
Huxley feat. S Man – Callin (MSCLS Remix)
Huxley and MSCLS make a perfect pairing. I’m always seeing both on the same track listings. It was admirable to see a free track pop out with both names on it. The song does an excellent job of being Danceable and Deep. The pacing and lead ups, combined with the New York Disco feel, give it esteem amongst typical bland, melodic house that’s trying to become relevant. If the intent is to grab attention of the dance floor, here’s your herald.
Kilter – Coward (Naderi Remix)
Usually, I’m not one for such a heavy vocal lead up, especially when I think I’m going into depressing Florence and the Machine alterna-pop world. Then again, I really thought this song was going to take me out into Festival Bass territory. After some anticipation, the track exposed itself as an EDM dream catcher. The snare appeared, both controlled and reflective, while the lyrics curled the natural flow of the song. For the heavy architecture, there’s a great delicate balance. Now, I know somebody’s going to smash it into some festival Trap shit and ruin it. So I hope you appreciate it now, before the Sync button stretches it into an unrecognizable tinsel.
MOZZDEEP – Star Eater
Global Chill Trance meets Soothing Garage Breakbeats… that doesn’t sound right does it? Not sure exactly what you want me to call it then. With that snare coming in fast, and the spectral voice, it’s as much harmonic as vibrant. The ending doesn’t end as strong or collapsible as I usually like tracks to be, but it’s also difficult to contain this track into just one measure. There’s a few more freebies, most of which have Street Fighter II character names, but this was my favorite.
KLP – Medicine (Divise Remix)
We’re all in love with the Low End (bass, frequency, whatever). A lot of times, it takes away from the groove of a song. We stack all sorts of filters and effects to try to get people to dance. Going back to basics seems like a bad thing because of the beating the word Basic has taken. Sometimes you need to take it back and create something real. This has more of a club vibe than most of the tracks featured this week.
Zombie Disco Squad – Let The Spirits Take Me (The Lost Ones Edition)
**Track of the Week** Fell for this song almost immediately, with that bewitching gramophone feel. It felt like I had found a 78’, in some attic, that had a séance etched onto it. Now, the speakers are bouncing out little orbs all over my house and all I can do is dance along with them. It’s fun and groovy. Definitely glad to be able to share it with everybody this week.
Eli & Fur – Turn the Lights Down
I was really on the fence about this track. But, I’ve said it before, if a song makes me think about it, then it deserves to be shared. Usually, I can immediately turn a song off and forget about it like last year’s fart. Eton Messy always gives out goodness so I gave it a chance. The dynamic comes from the hook. Normally, this would be too chill and vocal for my taste, as a majority of the tracks featured this week. However, there’s something special that keeps catching my attention. I want to see what some talented remixers could accomplish with this track.
Yes, I’ve been coming down on hard on Porn Stars turned DJs. I even featured them in jest, but this right here I’m down with. Getting support from Marco Carlo and a lot of the South American tastemakers, Lupe Fuentes has been progressing up the Dance Music ladder very quickly. I put some of her older mixes on at work and people kept asking me who this was. As the sets got more and more recent, the technique got more refined. Her track selections also got better and better, some of her own productions started popping up. Well, we all don’t believe that a lot of musicians compose their own productions and I’ve been hyper-critical about some of the last few former porn people because all their music sounds completely different from something they just put out last week. Fuentes doesn’t appear to be. Her style and formula appear consistent and precise to the music she’s been putting out over the last year. If you can get DMC from Run-DMC on your track, then we know what’s going on. This track is Funky, Tech driven and begs to be dropped in the right hands, yours.
Next Week: ??????
Raul Chacon is a self-aware douchebag who only listens to bands you’ve probably never heard of. His years of writing for literary reviews and magazines led him to a couple of scholarships for his work, which he quickly squandered by moving to Austin and going to shows six days a week(instead of class). Eventually, he became a touring security guard and witnessed hundreds of shows and dozens of festivals firsthand. He would tell you how many shows he’s been to; but there’s too many holes in his brain at this point.
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