Recently in Pittsburgh, I've attended a Motown 50th anniversary party, an all P-Funk vinyl party, a dance night "designed to introduce the modern styles of detroit and berlin's smaller venues to pittsburgh", and a lock-in party at a recording studio that featured former Minus recording artist Stewart Walker. For the last party, I had to skip Detroit's own Adult. at Carnegie Mellon University to make sure I got in on time. Despite the Red Wings's victory over the Penguins last spring (as well as the Hossa heist), Detroit music and culture still captures the Pittsburgh music lover's imagination and provides a reference point for their own (and now my own) scene. For dance music blogger and fledgling record-label owner Tom Cox and Technoir Audio crew member and DJ Adam Ratana, it's also a place to get your records pressed. Driving over from the Burgh, Archer Pressing Plant was our first stop in Detroit before I got dropped off at my rent's place in the burbs and my fellow Burgher's checked into the Shorecrest Inn (The Shorecrest is a fave spot for the 412 crew, where breakfast at the Clique and hearing Paul Hardcastle's "Rain Forest" over the radio is considered the definition of Detroit convenience and authenticity.) Both Pittsburgh residents hand-delivered a white-label promo copy of their releases to Detroit underground dance producer Theo Parrish who also happened to be stopping in to grab records and do business with Mike Archer. For me though it was the quick stop to nearby Simpson's Records, where I grabbed a gospel CD by gospel-disco diva Candi Stanton, that made me feel like I was home. The shop has been in Detroit for forty plus years making it one of if not the oldest record store in Detroit.
A Face in the Crowd:
The festival plaza will provide plenty of dance spectacle this weekend but last night the Detroit Film Theatre provided some fantastic artistic spectacle, with an especially wonderful set by Merge (aka Colin Zyskowski and Alvin Hill). The performance, a sonic-visual mediation on the human face and the possibilities of electronic dance music to speak for the human through technology, captured the absolute right amount of academic preparedness and dance-floor desires. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for this kind of performance in future festivals as Carl Craig re-takes over Movement's creative reins in 2010.
There was already too much music to hear and experience last night but I did happen to catch a few minutes of seventeen year old (!) DJ and producer Kyle Hall at the TV Bar with NYC-writer and former Oak Park resident, Mike Rubin. (If you haven't already, make sure to check out Rubin's mind-blowing NYTIMES piece on 1970s Detroit band Death. ) Hall's exuberance and track selection transcended the bar's harsh back room sound system (earplugs should not be a requirement in a room like that) and gave a hint to how bright Detroit's present and future continue to be.