Arts & Culture » Culture

Family reunion

Plus 8 Records helped define an era. Indeed, for many people, Plus 8 was an introduction to techno, both through its records and the label’s legendary parties. It was founded in Canada by DJs Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva in 1989. Inspired by the early sounds of the Detroit techno forefathers, Plus 8 began as a mission to make records that transcended the temporal nature of 12-inchers, to create recordings that would be standard-bearers. As the reissues series, Plus 8 Classics, shows, they succeeded numerous times.

Plus 8 came into full force in the early ’90s, at a time when Detroit’s techno leaders were busy touring Europe and the city was open territory. Out of this vacuum came two of the strongest contributions to Detroit techno’s darkly intense sound: Underground Resistance (then Jeff Mills and Mike Banks, with Rob Hood eventually joining them) and Plus 8. Both labels had records with new levels of thickness, raw power and gear fetish; this was the dawn of the formulas and these records contain the blueprints for much of modern techno. In addition to the groundbreaking records, Plus 8 showed everyone how parties should be thrown in Detroit, almost single-handedly introducing the larger suburban crowd to this music.

The early- and mid-’90s were an exceptionally dynamic time for techno, when it went from a hobby to an international DJ lifestyle, and from a few basic subdivisions (techno-house) to the many colors of the electronica rainbow (“progressive” house, trance techno, tech house, tech step, ghetto tech, etc.). Throughout this massive growth period, Plus 8 mutated and eventually turned into Hawtin’s Minus and Acquaviva’s nonstop tour schedule. Now, in celebration of more than 10 years of Plus 8 and another generation of electronic music culture, they’ve collected the majority of their best works onto the Plus 8 Classics CD series to be released over the course of this fall.

To kick off the series and subsequent world tour, the first three artists on Plus 8 (Hawtin, Acquaviva and Kenny Larkin) are having a free in-store performance at Record Time (27380 Gratiot, Roseville). Over the years, Record Time has been one of the area’s strongest supporters of Detroit labels and the growth of electronic music (they even housed Plus 8’s warehouse at one point). Add sound support from Burst to the mix and it makes this a full-on family reunion. Copies of Plus 8 Classics Vol. One (officially to be released Oct. 10) will be on sale for this night only, in addition to other free promo-only goodies. All this on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m.-midnight. Call 810-775-1550.

Superstar DJ Panel

The same day as the Record Time affair, both John Acquaviva and Kenny Larkin will speak on a panel at the Ann Arbor DJ Music Colloquium. This colloquium will focus on the impact of DJ culture on society across the globe, with a panel discussion among some of the world’s top DJs, as well as performances from the Suburban Knight, Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and LTJ Bukem with MC Conrad. The panel starts at 6 p.m. and performances begin at 7:30 in the Michigan League Ballroom (corner of North University and Fletcher, Ann Arbor). Tickets can be purchased at the Michigan Union Ticket Office in the basement of the Michigan Union or charged by phone at 734-763-TKTS.

Departure

Plus 8-Minus backbone Clark Warner and WDET’s Liz Copeland host “Departure,” a new weekly night of creative electronica bringing in quality music and interesting performers, focusing on stimulating your mind as well as your feet. This is the breath of fresh air the scene has been needing for a long time. “Departure” takes off on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Motor (3515 Caniff, Hamtramck). The opening evening’s celebration will include a turntable-vocal performance by Colette and a special tag team set with Magda and Dayhota. Recloose will be the backroom guest. Ages 21 and over. See www.motordetroit.com for more info or call 313-369-0090.

Wrecks ’n’ Effexx

The final week of “Effexx” (the Sunday night Odic Force gig on top of Hockeytown, 2301 Woodward, Detroit) is this weekend, Sept. 24. As always, they’re showcasing the best talent the current generation of electronic music heads has to offer, and this night features none other than Andy Toth of the Detroit Grand Pu Bahs, Maersk live (that’s Sharif of loft-party fame), Twonz and Crizo. Call 313-965-9500. “Effexx” will continue at another venue — watch this space for information on the future location. Pitch’d is MT’s biweekly column devoted to Detroit’s BPM musiculture. Send e-mail to bmg@monkey.org

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