These days, record-release parties have become commonplace, often ho-hum affairs. Which is why the quality of the event's music and who's playing it especially in the DJ-driven techno world makes all the difference. Hence, two upcoming events look to be anything but ho-hum.
The D's in D-Records
This Saturday, Paxahau's sub-label D-Records celebrates its newest vinyl release by bringing the Kompakt's Michael Mayer back to town. Mayer is the co-founder of the Cologne label that brought elements of pop and minimal electronics together to create a new wave of techno, and he has performed at two other Paxahau events in the last three years. He also has a new mix-CD out on Oct. 30. Immer 2 features tracks by label artists Justus Kohncke, SCSI 9 and the Rice Twins. But some of its song highlights are by non-Kompakt performers such as DK7, Jesse Somfay, Someone Else and Ian Simmonds. The mix ends with a version of Geiger's "Good Evening" which appeared on the recent Cologne on Pop Festival compilation reworked in the studio as an 11-minute trance-rock jam by a new production team called Supermayer (made up of Mayer and labelmate Superpitcher). Of Immer 2, Mayer says: "I have a strong personal relationship to each track. All are integral parts of my live mix. I've heard each a thousand times and never get tired of them." Mayer is nothing if not confident.
Also performing live sets at the party will be D-Records artists Rex Sepulveda and VSOP, a duo made up of Jason Hajec and Chuck Flask. Each has material on D-Records 012, a four-track EP available in record stores now. The other tracks are by Tom Newman (aka the Acid Pimp and Poker) and Flask as a solo artist. Flask tells us the D-Records mission is to enable "local and international techno artists to produce music in a Detroit studio. Who wouldn't want to do that?" Who wouldn't, indeed. Get on with Mayer and the D-Records crew Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Shelter, 431 E. Congress. 10 p.m. until late. For more info contact paxahau.com or d-records.com.
Quietly, in the shadow of big brothers Ghostly International and Spectral Sounds, something moody and atmospheric has been building in Ann Arbor in the last three years.
In rapid succession came atmsphr.org/radio.php, an online radio station that programmed ambient and minimal electronic music produced locally and globally; a weekly event called Downtempo to Dance featuring guest artists like Carlos Souffront, Clark Warner, James T. Cotton and Someone Else (Philadelphian Sean O'Neal, whose track leads off Mayer's Immer 2); and the experimental imprint Moodgadget, which reimagined the record label concept by incorporating music, modern design elements, and digital video production into a single, sleek, neo-Scandinavian package.
The fruit of those efforts has now emerged as The Rorschach Suite, a compilation that includes 18 artists performing a wide range of minimal techno, indie electronic rock, ambient soundscapes and post-IDM (intelligent dance music) experiments.
Moodgadget celebrates the release of Rorschach with a party on Monday, Oct. 9, at Live at PJ's, 102 S. First St. in Ann Arbor. Performers include Portland's Small Sails and Matters and Dunaway from Boston; Ann Arbor also gets into the act with sets from JDSY, Benoit Pioulard and Aarnio, aka Moodgadget co-founder and Czestochowa, Poland, native Jakub Alexander. Speaking of aliases, Pioulard is actually Thomas Meluch, who by day is a publicist for Ghostly. He'll release his highly anticipated solo recording on Chicago's Kranky label later this month. The Moodgadget event is free, and begins at 9 p.m. Visual projections will be provided by Ryan Jeffery and Multiverse. For more information go to moodgadget.com.
International bright young things
Not a release party, but a worthy event drifts into Detroit tonight (Oct. 4) via Norway and Canada. The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit hosts the debut local appearance of MoHa! (Anders Hana and Morten J. Olsen), an Oslo duo that uses guitars, drums and effects to create a shimmering, shuddering blend of shoegaze, metal and ambient. It's no surprise MoHa! record for Rune Grammofon, an imprint known for its extreme fluctuation between chilled, pastoral Muzak and immense shrieks of improvised noise. Also performing will be the audio-visual laptop group Thinkbox, a collective with members based in Canada and the United States. Additional beatless interludes and crispy rhythms will be provided by Paris '68 DJs (full disclosure: Paris '68 is the project of your Subterraneans scribe). CAID is at 5141 Rosa Park Blvd., Detroit. Doors 9 p.m. For more info go to thecaid.org.
Friday, Oct. 13. Family. Special guests: Derek Plaslaiko and Mike Servito. Also featuring Mathew Boynton, Brian Gillespie, Patrick Russell and Carlos Souffront. At the Works, 1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit. More info is available at: thefreshcorporation.com.The Subterraneans is a column devoted to Detroit dance culture. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org