ONE X’D ’TIL SPRING; GATHERING TO START AT MOTOR
Motor co-owner and area soundman Carlos Oxholm has decided to close his recently-acquired One X nightclub on Michigan Avenue for renovations, possibly until May 1. The move comes as a sudden about-face from Oxholm’s original business-as-usual approach, but, as he explained, the club’s, uh, raw B-movie set-like interior and substandard sound system are in dire need of an overhaul. One X’s closing will affect the area’s progressive dance scene in the short term; Wednesday night’s "Innocence" DJ open mic night is now "on indefinite hiatus" according to promoter Michelle Banks. Meanwhile, Banks is starting an all-jungle night with her "Gathering" party Thursdays at Motor beginning Feb. 18. The debut night features the Great White Northern tech-step jump-up of Vinyl Syndicate’s Sniper from Toronto. Upcoming "Gathering" bills include Liquid Sky’s Tube performing live jungle along with Detroit’s own Michelle "the Punisher" Herrman, Thursday March 11. More info: 248-788-5718.
I SING THE FUTURE ELECTRO
DJ Godfather’s starting an all-jungle label, but though he may have jungle on the brain, he and his Databass Records label cohorts still got that electro love in their hearts. Recent 12" releases from Godfather’s Databass label evidence a new, potent strain of electro hitting harder and more next-generational than ever; cuts by Dick Nixon, Sektor 17 and Godfather himself show a new minimally-inclined eerie boom and sci-fi funk. Attention trainspotters: The new Godfather 12" is his first effort with his newly-purchased (and extremely rare) TR 808 drum machine. "It’s just got that dirtier sound," said ’Father last Friday at Motor, where he watched fellow Databass owner Brian Gillespie wow the side room crowd with electro and hard hip-hop favorites.
STOP, DROP, PUT 'EM UP, OPEN UP SHOP
Looks like 1999 could be the year Detroit electro breaks wide given: 1) Databass’ efforts, 2) Juan Atkins’ next Model 500 record — rumored to be an eerily beautiful fait accompli of downtempo synth funk — and 3) U-M frosh Disco D’s latest electro-heavy EP Cannot Stop This finding its way into the record crates of even the most jaded Chicago junglists and Detroit booty jocks. Not to mention Aux 88 founder Keith Tucker’s Puzzlebox label and the new wave bizarro electro of Detroit’s Le Car and ADULT on Ann Arbor’s ’67 Distribution label, home to electro-purists Ectomorph. With this much breakdance funk coming out the 313, can a Detroit-based installment in the Breakin’ series be far behind? Breakin’ 3: Electro’s Tryin’ Ta Hear Dat, See anyone? More Databass info: 810-274-4041.
The Ann Arbor band formerly known as Butterfly has regrouped (sort of) as Ground EFx, playing a dub-inspired blend of reggae and drum ’n’ bass that shows members Neil Dixon Smith, Kendall Babbit, bassman/dancehall DJ Billy the Kid and new drummer Will Osler (formerly of Larval) haven’t been strangers to what’s been going on in the decidedly un-rock world of dance music of late. After only a handful of gigs, the group is already selling-out its every-other-Tuesday residency at Ann Arbor’s Bird of Paradise (Feb. 9 is the next installment) with its post-rock/DJ-age sound. The biggest change from Butterfly’s quasi-disco retro-boogie sound is the instrumentals-only approach. But as last week’s Bird Of Paradise appearance proved, between Babbit’s endless repertoire of vintage-synth tones to dub-out and Osler’s fourth dimensional command of dub’s breakdowns and drum ’n’ bass’s skittish ’70s jazz beats, former singer Smith can stick to his tasteful guitar licks for now. Ravers expecting a live jungle blow-out need to know GFx is more on the jazzy d’n’b tip, especially with guest dancehall MCs, percussionists and the occasional sax player dropping by. GFx’s healthy nods at times to 25-year-old dub rhythm standards make its set at times more good-time college-town reggae than lay any huge claim to a future of music. But as evidenced by the from-Deadheads-to-bassheads gaggle of dancers cutting the Bird’s rug every other Tuesday, Ground EFx is doing something right. Detroiters can get their first taste of Ground EFx when the Ann Arbor quartet opens for the Abyssinians at the Majestic Theatre Feb. 13. For more info 734-99-MUSIC.