Outside of traditional techno acts and strictly minimal DJs, this year’s Movement lineup includes some rather spirited groups encompassing the far corners of electronic music, wooing audiences with disco-infused soundscapes, electric soul, and melodic synth funk. Stripped down four-on-the-floor techno’s great, but it’s refreshing to have an array of styles, sounds and personas to take in from stage to stage. There has always been some hip hop and alternative dance at Movement, and this year the promoters have tossed in a fair share of funk, disco and melodramatic pop — even rockers covering techno.
Los Angeles is well represented this year, with both DJ Harvey and Daedelus performing on opening day. UK import and current LA anti-glam rave organizer DJ Harvey has been performing since the early ’90s and should be a treat for festival goers, known for enthusiastically spinning eclectic, feel-good disco. Sunny and original, concentrated effort is required to not have fun when you see how much the performer himself is having, and he’s got something to please the many diverse musical palettes that collect in Hart Plaza this weekend. Having released material on fellow Movement performer Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder in 2010, Daedelus may be more of an acquired taste for some but well worth checking out. The Santa Monica-based DJ (aka Daedelus Digitalis Darlington) was formally trained on double bass and bass clarinet and studied jazz at the University of Southern California. He crafts jazzy, airy melodies over organic percussion sounds, accented by processed vocals and one-shot effects. Live, his style is all his, and he uses primarily a trigger pad to cut, chop, sample and mix. But don’t be surprised if ambient resonance is substituted at times by more driving tracks like his remix of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
From west coast to east, fresh faces will be plentiful this year. Based in Princeton, NJ, Com Truise will bring his self-described brand of “mid-fi synth-wave” to the Red Bull stage on Sunday. In addition to producing and the working the DJ circuit, the artist Seth Haley is also a designer in the New York area. This range of skills and experience allow for creative impulses that are fresh and deliberate. His sound shows all the fixin’s of artists such as Vangelis and Montreal based CFCF, albeit with glitchier, snappier snares and kicks — music for a sunny rainstorm.
Detroit’s international rock ’n’ roll heroes, the Dirtbombs, hit the Vitamin Water main stage on Memorial Day. The band’s fifth full-length, 2011’s Party Store, features covers of Detroit electronic legends including Juan Atkins and Carl Craig. Such songs like “Shari Vari” lay a bottom-heavy groove, thick with twangy, churning bass. Cybotron’s “Cosmic Cars” is redone, approached with all the grittiness of a Detroit rock band while staying true to the Kraftwerk-influenced original.
Between experimental new comers and old-school renegades, Movement should make for an exhilarating, genre-bending weekend. Between three days and five stages, it’ll be impossible for you to avoid an earful of new.