Arts & Culture » Culture




Where does all that adolescent obsession with the Modern Romantic movement lead? How about the teenage desire to collect every Atari 2600 cartridge? Sometimes it’s redirected toward starting an electronic music label that celebrates the artificial.

It worked for Ersatz Audio’s Adam Miller, whose label is about to commemorate its five-year anniversary with a CD compilation and a free event at detroit contemporary. The night will be "An Exhibition of Art, Design, Music & Commerce," featuring both visual art and live music, entitled "The Forgotten Sights & Sounds of Tomorrow."

The development of Ersatz Audio reflects much of the change and growth of electronic music over the last five years. Like many labels, "EZ" began when Rephlex (Aphex Twin’s label) never released the record they said they would. At first the label adopted a "listening music" approach, espousing a sound close to ambient, but always with a love of the quirk. Eventually, the quirkiness took the music in new directions, combining ’80s synth pop, industrial and electro influences into a new sound and a new project: Le Car. Le Car flawlessly synthesized these sources with a sublimated sense of humor into four successful EPs, and, in the process of recording and performing, became a major part of the Detroit minimalistic-post-techno-proto-electro/new wave scene, influencing all sorts of new artists around the globe. This brought German (Third Electric, Kitbuilders), Dutch (Fastgraph) and Austrian (G.D. Luxxe) artists to the label. Sometime in the late ’90s, Le Car crashed into a telephone pole, and out of the wreck came two new directions: Adult. and Perspects. Adult. took a direction that brought a punk influence via Nicola Kuperus’ dehumanized vocals, and is already renowned for its live shows. Perspects’ sound moves from John Foxx to Vince Clarke while absorbing all the advances in sequencing laid down by Autechre and Squarepusher. All these advancements are chronicled in Ersatz Audio’s latest CD, The Forgotten Sounds of Tomorrow.

The event at detroit contemporary will be a CD release party, but will also feature a full-scale art exhibition, featuring work from Philip Burke, Matthew Gollnick, Kuperus, Miller, Pilot Pictures, Rita Sayegh-Constructure and Riva Sayegh. The art will show on Feb. 19 only, from 6 until 11:59. At midnight the live music begins, featuring the live debut of Perspects, as well as a full show from Adult. detroit contemporary is at 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd. (west of Trumbull, north of Warren), Detroit. For info call 313-898-4ART.


Detroit techno and its progeny thrive on percussion, both simple and complex, from straight kicks to advanced polyrhythms – it’s all about the power of the drums. It may feel to some that the oldest cultural reference for modern electronic music is disco, missing the whole rhythmic point – that this all stems from the culture of the drum. It is expressed in techno via the rhythm, the spirituality and the repetition.

On Thursday, Feb. 10, it’s time for a lesson in the power and grace of percussion from none other than a true master drummer and his orchestra, when Doudou N’Diaye Rose and the Drummers of West Africa perform at the Power Center in Ann Arbor. It’s a rare chance to see perhaps the world’s greatest percussion orchestra live. The last time Ann Arbor saw such a master drummer was when Babatunde Olatunji played the Zion Church, and even Derrick May was dancing in the aisles. For more information: contact the University Musical Society's Web site and our own What's Happening listing.


Detroit had a strong representation at Midem, the premier conference for music on an international level. Representing Detroit was the Transmat crew (with Derrick May and Stacey Pullen playing the best party of the convention), Mad Mike (on the prowl for a certain A&R rep from Sony Germany), Mike Grant, Jon Layne (Intuit-Solar), Amir Daiza, DJ Godfather and Peter from Planet E. ... Jeff Mills said in a recent interview that he’ll be playing Carl Craig’s Hart Plaza electronic festival this spring. ... Planet E is throwing a night at Motor, Sat., Feb. 19. The night will feature the world premiere of Recloose live, as well as a show from Paperclip People.

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