Richie Hawtin's DE9: Transitions, which hit last November, is one of his most ambitious triumphs regardless of musical genre. Packaged in a CD/DVD format, it's a digital smorgasbord consisting of edits that Hawtin mixes into seamless 74- and 96-minute jams. He broke down the rave experience into tiny particles, then reassembled them to fit into your iPod.
But DE9: Transitions also proved to skeptics just how hard minimal techno rocks. Hawtin's mix includes tracks originally produced by European leftfielders Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano and Quenum, Robag Wruhme, sleeparchive, Guido Schneider, Matt John, Cabanne, Jacek Sienkiewicz, Baby Ford and Alex Under all of whom are largely unknown here, except for the few underground strongholds that remain. (Hey, put your hands up for Detroit, where a serious mass of musicians, fans and freaks have kept the scene here observant and globally relevant for decades). Transitions also includes contributions by Ann Arbor's Matt Dear and the Detroit Grand Pubahs, whose "Dr. Bootygrabber" provides sleaze relief as Hawtin weaves it in and out of the mix.
If the warm reception for DE9: Transitions weren't enough, its release kicked off a year of club smashes for Hawtin's Minus imprint. Everybody on the label got hot. Releases by Magda, Marc Houle, Troy Pierce, Gaiser and Berg Nixon (aka Detroiter Ryan Crosson) made it into the record bags er, rather, into the computers of the world's best-traveled DJs.
Hawtin and pals roll into town for a multimedia event tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 22) at Clutch Cargo's in Pontiac. The action starts at 8 p.m. with the premiere of a documentary about Hawtin's life and music produced by the German electronic music magazine Slices; it's the first volume of the magazine's Pioneers of Electronic Music series. Admission is $50 and includes free vodka and cognac drinks, plus access to the dance party that follows.
The music starts cranking at 10 p.m. The lineup features Minus stalwart Clark Warner, Grand Rapids native (Jon) Gaiser, Los Angeleno John Tejada, Düsseldorf's Loco Dice making his Michigan debut, and Hawtin. Clutch Cargo's is at 65 E. Huron, Pontiac. For tickets or more info, call 313-paxahau.
What, Pontiac's too far? And minimal techno ain't your thing? Then swill a martini tonight (Wed.) when sisters of the house Minx and Stacey Hale square off for a midnight DJ battle at Half Past Three (2548 Grand River Ave., Detroit). If one night of Minx isn't enough, there's more Friday when her Women on Wax (WOW) crew presents "Lose Kontrol." The party features Aaron-Carl, Diviniti, Pirahnahead, Jerry the Cat, Jennifer Xerri and, of course, Minx. There's also a fashion show by Diva Groove. At the Buzz Bar, 546 Larned St., Detroit. Call 313-962-1800 for more info.
Want more holiday house music to work off that turkey you ate earlier on Thanksgiving Day? Head downtown for the first annual "Thanx" event hosted by Donna Gardner, Mikael Thornton and Eddie Fowlkes. Guests include Norm Talley and Rick Wilhite. Fowlkes and Thornton also spin. Thursday at Prive (the former London Chop House), 155 W. Congress St., Detroit. More info: 313-965-6560.
Still more house is in the house on Friday, as Nocturnal Sounds and Science Projex presents Chicago veteran CZR, with Detroit's Mike "Agent X" Clark, Matt C., Big Joe Hix, Tim Nobody and others. At Corktown Tavern, 1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit.
That same night a little farther down Michigan Ave., a bunch of sonic historians get together to give some Detroit tech-house dance lessons. The focus will be on records from 1986 to 1996, and DJs Mike Huckaby, Michael Geiger, Carlos Souffront, John "Billiebob" Williams, Acid Pimp, Matt Clarke and others are doing the teaching. The party, called, um, "Positive Education," is at The Works, 1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit.
On Saturday, head back to Corktown for the last Les Infants Terribles party of the year, with music selected by Dorkwave DJs. Or head a little farther uptown for an intriguing event called "No Title," featuring a live showdown between People Mover comrades Andy Toth and Colin Zyskowski, a DJ battle between Seismic's Punisher and the Overfiend, and a three-way scrap featuring Mike Ransom, Israel Vines and Milieu. Also performing live: E. Spleece vs. Parallel. At Cass Cafe, 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit.
Also on Saturday, SCAN 7 headlines "Autumn Ritual," an event featuring live performances by Kero, Kevin Reynolds and the Kill Machine. With DJ sets by Eric Cloutier, Corbin Davis, Robin Selecta and more. At Bert's Warehouse Theatre in Eastern Market. 2739 Russell St., Detroit. Call 313-221-3350 for more info.
Finally, complete the circle back to minimal techno for Sunday Beats, where Cloutier continues his tour of the weekend with a five-hour set. Also appearing: John Johr and resident Em-J. The event, called "MNML Afternoon Party," starts at 3 p.m. Promoted by Auxetic. At the Buzz, 546 Larned St., Detroit.The Subterraneans is a column devoted to dance culture. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org