Movement 2010

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    11 Jun 2010
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  • According to official reports, more than 95,000 people walked through the gates of Hart Plaza at this year's Movement. It's the most people that have done so since the festival became a paid event in 2005. By now, it's clear that Movement has momentum of its own; it doesn't matter so much who Paxahau (the promotion crew behind the event) books, so as long as they have a few key names to ensure the masses attend. Any other event of this size has absolutely no reason to bother with catering to muso tastes. Movement, however, isn't just another festival. Paxahau faces an almost impossible task each year: They have to bring in big numbers, they clearly want to impress some of the most knowledgeable (and irritable) electronic music lovers in the world and they also need to pay tribute to the festival's local character. Few, if any, walk away 100% happy. You'll likely hear just as many people wondering who the hell Francesco Tristano is as you'll hear complain about a booking of someone like Benny Benassi. What you won't hear people complain much about is how the festival is run. Leave aside the utopian dream of it becoming free ever again. (Although let's not leave aside the utopian dream of Paxahau taking the seemingly reasonable suggestion offered by Brendan Gillen that Detroit residents be let in for free on Memorial Day.) There are simply no other comparable events that are this efficient and this pleasurable to attend. Movement isn't perfect. But it tries. And, amazingly, constantly improves. That said, one of the best reasons to come to Detroit is everything that goes on outside of Hart Plaza. Afterparty after afterparty offer some of the world's most talented electronic musicians in spaces that allow for a creativity that the festival itself sometimes doesn't afford. The city of Detroit itself, meanwhile, deserves the time, effort and (most of all) money that you have to give. For better and worse, it's like no other American metropolis. Especially around Memorial Day. What follows are a collection of RA writers and their thoughts on the weekend that was. Todd L. Burns
    Friday
    Yel 3 - Official Movement Festival Kick-Off Party Photo credit: Christopher Soltis As I walked up to St. Andrews Hall, everyone milling around outside was completely drenched. It was a cool night out, so I figured that they had just gone for a jog through the fountains and sprinklers. Once I entered the The Official Movement Festival Kick-Off Party I knew it was simply sweat. After being in the basement for 30 minutes, my shirt had become a wetsuit. That said, folks were lapping up the three-way efforts of Matthew Dear, Sexy Troxler, and Ryan Elliott, and the heat was in no way deterring the rave. To escape the boiler room I went up to see Speedy J in the main room, playing a tough techno set, while on the upper floor Matthew Hawtin was playing a downtempo set for those trying to catch their breath. Chris Thomarios Beretta Music - This Is Home Photo credit: Hillary Fox Local Detroit techno label Beretta has had a great deal of success over the last few years throwing Movement pre-parties. This year they continued their tradition of hosting one of the only parties where festival revelers could catch Omar-S all weekend. Arriving at around 1 AM, we caught the happy and upbeat FXHE boss just as he took his place behind the decks. Clearly he was impressed with the large crowd of locals and out-of-towners that had turned out. Dropping a set of jacking house and techno in the classic analogue style of his label, the crowd cheered wildly at every drop and transition. Just as good, though, was the spacious, comfortable venue and clear soundsystem. The Porter St. Station was a definite step up from past Beretta events, with assorted vendors grilling BBQ sandwiches on the sidewalk offering the perfect cap to a quality evening. Bernardo Arrospide
    Saturday
    Movement 2010 Day 1: Vitamin Water stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen A hulking mass of equipment towered behind all of the performers on the main stage on day one, a looming reminder of just whose stage it was. Richie Hawtin, who closed out the very first DEMF a decade earlier, was back to show everyone a glimpse of the future and at the same time pay homage to the past. His former business partner John Acquaviva was a steady contrast, playing a tidy set and allowing his family to share his spotlight on stage. The other performers all did their best to leave an impression on the festival goers, but were far surpassed by the multi-sensory extravaganza of the Plastikman live experience. The LED curtain visuals, the iPhones lit like fireflies by SYNK and the old classics being revived on a colossal system made it the most memorable set of the festival. Mark Strauss Movement 2010 Day 1: Beatport stage Photo credit: Christopher Soltis The Beatport stage was bigger this year, in seeming tacit recognition that European minimal techno stars have the biggest entourages around. Early on in the day, however, things were relatively quiet with Onur Ozer properly ushering in the beats with a set that didn't deviate much from his standard fare of minimal house and techno. It was only when Jamie Jones came on that things began to distinguish themselves. The Hot Natured boss brought a character to his set that was lacking most of the day until fellow fun advocate Claude VonStroke got on the stage and burnished his brand of crowd-pleasing tunes. You often forget how good CVS is until you realize you've been stuck dancing to him for a couple of hours, a smile plastered on your face the entire time. Not this night. Todd L. Burns Movement 2010 Day 1: Made In Detroit stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen The big question for many going into this year's Movement was how the system down at the Made In Detroit stage would be. Last year's effort was largely regarded as a failure at best and an affront to hometown heroes at worst. As such, it was no surprise to see the layout of the stage had changed completely. Noise canceling fabric was placed behind the stage and at various places on the ceiling, in addition to the usual selection of enormous speakers. The stage is never going to be perfect; especially for someone like Patrice Scott, Kyle Hall, Rick Wilhite, Theo Parrish and more whose textured techno and house is predicated on being played on a system that allows for definition. The problem on the first day, at least, wasn't so much the system. (It was hugely and markedly improved.) It was who they chose to play on the system. Each of these artists deserves better. People like Robert Hood, whose set on the second day was a revelation, couldn't have asked for any better. Todd L. Burns NDATL and Sound Signature present Deep Detroit Photo credit: dangchau Arriving at around 1 AM to the Deep Detroit party, our crew had extremely high expectations for Kai Alce's annual house music get-down. With legends like Theo Parrish and Larry Heard on the bill, the party was primed to deliver on the ethos: "House music all night long" and it certainly did not disappoint. As we grabbed our first drink of the night, Kai was in the middle of an eclectic set which furiously moved between disco, Italo and house at a breakneck pace. While all the tracks were certified hot fire, a jacked-up edit of Alexander Robotnick's classic "Problemes d'Amour" particularly got the floor going. Soon after, with the crowd in the thralls of an uplifting, jazzy house cut, Kai handed over the E&S mixer to Parrish who immediately took things supernova by dropping the Ron Hardy mix of Jamie Principle's "Bad Boy." The ensuing track selection was a blur of quality disco and house music played to a room full of sweaty, smiling faces. Bernardo Arrospide Centre Street Social Photo credit: Donte Parks You can get the permits all filled out, you can stop serving alcohol at exactly the moment you're required to do so, you can pay off-duty cops to patrol the area: It never guarantees anything in the world of the afterparty. Such was the feeling when the by-the-book Centre Street Social party got shut down around 3:30 AM on Saturday night. Rumors abounded as to what the police found that forced the music to end, but everyone seemed to agree that it was going to get busted whether they found something or not. (A theme of the weekend.) It was too bad: Ben Klock was in the midst of a sweaty extended set in the upstairs, while Levon Vincent was literally about to take to the decks in the basement when things promptly ended. Todd L. Burns
    Sunday
    Movement 2010 Day 2: Red Bull stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen Hudson Mohawke's unexplained no-show left DJ Godfather with an extra hour to assail the crowd with his impressive turntablism skills, but it appeared that he ran out of material to work with: "Knights of the Jaguar" made its third appearance by the time he finished up. Kid Sister took over and energized the crowd by blasting through high energy versions of "Switchboard" and "Control." Induce, her new DJ from Miami, went solo in the last 20 minutes of the set and played some suitable but predictable Miami bass. The stage's most impressive showing, however, came from Mr. Scruff, who brought along a talented video artist to trigger some custom Scruff-drawn animations which gave shoutouts to the Detroit massive, repping individual neighborhoods by name. Mark Strauss Movement 2010 Day 2: Beatport stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen This was supposed to be it. The day that Ricardo Villalobos returned to the States after eight long years of anticipation. Lots of Americans had purchased tickets, the Beatport stage was built twice as deep this year to manage all the hangers-on and things were set to go...until it was reported a few days before the festival that Villalobos couldn't secure a visa in time. Despite sightings throughout the weekend (the male half of Masemenos does bear an uncanny resemblance), the show went on without RA's #2 DJ of 2010. The replacement? RA's #1. But not before Cassy, who played an uncharacteristically storming techno and acid set as twilight approached. The aforementioned #1, AKA Richie Hawtin, followed up in similar form, pushing a tough techno agenda for three hours. Chris Thomarios Movement 2010 Day 2: Vitamin Water stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen Recloose entertained the small crowd of early partiers with his characteristic eclectic mixture of styles, a set dominated by jazzy, sample-driven house and funk with various styles of world music woven in. Chicago's DJ Pierre melded modern tech-house with classics and drew a crowd of dancers towards the stage. Larry Heard then took things incredibly deep with some slow-burning raw house cuts and acid basslines. Though the volume during the first half of his set was disappointingly low, his performance was the clear standout of the day. Sneak played a fun (yet totally predictable) selection of boompty and jackin' house tracks and Derrick Carter followed suit. Moments like Carter's impossibly long blend of "French Kiss" and "Work That Mutha Fucker" drove the crowd wild. Meanwhile, the long-anticipated reunion of Inner City, which included Kevin Saunderson on laptop, three instrumentalists, two dancers and two incredible female vocalists, was nostalgic and thoroughly enjoyable: "Big Fun," indeed. Elly Rifkin Soul Skate 2010 Photo credit: dangchau Soul Skate has become one of the major reasons that I come to Detroit each year for the Movement festival. And I don't even roller skate. The music is fantastic. The food is great. And, for a techno fan, the people watching is a pleasure. It's like an electronic music version of US Weekly's "Stars, They're Just Like Us" page. Mark Ernestus on roller skates! Rick Wilhite eating soul food! Theo Parrish holding court by the lockers! The internet's resident techno raconteur Pipecock smiling! Where else but Detroit? Todd L. Burns
    Monday
    Need I Say More, Part 5 Photo credit: Ryan Xristopher For the past few years the most reliable Movement afterparty takes place on Monday morning at Old Miami. The biggest drama at Need I Say More? Trying to buy a drink. I arrived around 9 AM with Bill Patrick already on, just missing Lee Curtiss on the opening duties. As the line-up for the day progressed from Masomenos on through to Matt Tolfrey and then the back-to-back efforts of Matthew Dear and Ryan Elliott, I continued enjoying Ghettoblasters (the unofficial beer of Memorial Day), and catching up with friends. Even a torrential downpour didn't dampen spirits. The most poignant moment of the weekend came when the music was cut and four veterans marched across the yard to play taps and honor a young Marine. Everyone quieted down and applauded afterward, struck by the stark reminder that there are things in this world much more important than the next party. Chris Thomarios Movement 2010 Day 3: Beatport stage Photo credit: Amin KO Beydoun Rain was the main theme of the final day of the festival. For French trio dOP, it only served as a chance to get even weirder and filthier than usual. Pants came off, expensive mixing boards were put in peril and the beats just kept on coming. While the Moritz Von Oswald Trio's buttoned-down approach made you very aware that it was raining over at the Red Bull stage, dOP succeeded in making you not care. Their set wasn't equaled throughout the day, but Radio Slave fill-in Drumcell came mighty close, providing the meat between the techno sandwich of Joel Mull and Chris Liebing and outdoing both in the process. Todd L. Burns Movement 2010 Day 3: Red Bull stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen On the third day, the rains came. And, with them, many interruptions. Tokimonsta was about 20 minutes into a very heady LA-style instrumental hip-hop set that reminded many of the show that her mentor (Flying Lotus) the year before, when the rain forced her to shut it down. After about an hour of downtime, Francesco Tristano commenced his piano interpretations of Detroit classics, the standout being a stripped down version of "Strings of Life." The highlight of the day came next, though, as the Moritz Von Oswald Trio introduced surprise guest Carl Craig, who added some tasteful modular synth accents to the trio's organic electronics before Pretty Lights and Booka Shade both riled the crowd into one last scaffold-climbing frenzy. Mark Strauss Movement 2010 Day 3: Made In Detroit stage Photo credit: Matt Cohen Monday saw many of Detroit's finest female DJs honored at the Made In Detroit stage. Jenny LaFemme ended her set of big room techno tracks with a remix of Inner City's "Good Life," which received the crowd's approval. Punisher's set relied heavily on releases from her label Hej Records; her set of modern, snappy techno tracks with booming sub-bass progressed nicely. Jen Xerri's all vinyl set switched up the vibe and kept the crowded cavern steamy with deep moody cuts and soulful, vocal-heavy Detroit-styled house. Minx delivered an expertly-crafted set as the rain came down in the plaza that smoothly danced in and out of techno and upbeat house: authentic, raw and full of variety. Magda's closing set of techno-funk, minimal and disco-tinged tech-house relied heavily on too many lengthy and similar tracks, which came off as repetitive at times. The hometown crowd, however, seemed to eat it up. Elly Rifkin DJ Harvey Photo credit: Donte Parks After a long weekend of drinking and dancing to pummeling techno in the sun and rain, nothing sounded more ideal than a long night of rare, disco delights provided by everyone's favorite bearded selector, DJ Harvey. Alas, the dream was not to be, as the Detroit Police Department continued their crusade to end all after-Movement fun at exactly 2 AM. It was a true shame: The hour that Harvey was on could truly be described as blissful. Dropping fuzzy guitar disco such as Barrabas' "Woman" alongside Italo classics such as Mr. Flagio's "Take a Chance," the vibe was set for an epic Sarcastic Disco party. Let's hope that the next time that Harvey is booked in Detroit around Memorial Day that we'll be treated to a full night of groovy rarities and positive vibes. Bernardo Arrospide