As we sit here pondering the filth and the fury of the next five days, we pause to reflect. And daydream in reverse. It's been 11 years since the parties within the parties began to roll in and around Hart Plaza. That was 2000, long ago and far away in techno years. Life tends to move very quickly when you're living it loud, at 150 beats per minute, on a concrete dance floor with 1,000 other bodies. One year feels more like three or four or five at this speed. No wonder I feel like I'm that baby who becomes an old man within seconds in the final frames of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
But living in the future music, man, still feels good, nonetheless, because it is good. No, make that great. Nah, try awesome.
That's 'cause Movement, Detroit's electronic music festival, assembles much of the world's top DJ and live performance talent for three days of sonic assault on five stages, all just a splash away from a main waterway of the Great Lakes. Feel the breeze?
Not to mention dozens of off-site parties that take you farther away from the water (unless you're bashing on a boat at 5 a.m. — and some of you will), beginning Thursday and finally burning out some time Tuesday morning. Flip the page and find our bleary-eyed but carefully curated guide to afterparties.
It is all part of a celebration of a scene that revolutionized (in part, let's not get too carried away) society and culture by applying various technologies to dance music. Simple as that? Yes, basically. The fundamentals of the way we move together were altered by the synthesis of sound and human energy. And nowhere were they applied with as much dedication and sheer force of will than in Detroit. That force has proved sustainable for going on 30 years, an impressive number in actual time measurement. In techno years, that's about as long as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have been making cars. Golly, that's a long time.
So once again, greetings one and all and welcome to Detroit, a place that has survived the bloom and wither of industrialization and survived the end times prognosticated for last weekend as well. It'll take more than mere rapture or apocalypse to bring us down.
And hello to all our friends from New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Johannesburg and elsewhere who would rather be here than anywhere else on the planet. Your judgment is correct, your decision inspired. Ever heard the one about the shape of things to come? Here it is. You've made it. This is it: May 28-30, future-now time once again. Detroit! Let's go!
Officially, this edition of the festival (once called DEMF, Fuse-In, and then Movement since 2006, when Ferndale-based promotions and production team Paxahau took it over) begins Saturday afternoon and runs until late Monday night.
Elsewhere in these pages you'll find select artist profiles, a guide to the parties and interactive art. Not to be overly redundant, but it's always nice to present an overview of the anticipated mayhem from a centralized source. That would be me, one who has anticipated and experienced every one of these cyclonic events. Here are some spotlighted picks, day by day, stage by stage:
Thrills should come early and often beginning with lush ambient performer Matthew Hawtin, brother of Rich and stalwart environment-enhancing DJ since the early 1990s. He's on the Beatport Stage at noon and sets up Minus label crew members JPLS, Ambivalent, Heartthrob, Gaiser, Marc Houle and Rich Hawtin, who closes the stage with a 10 p.m. DJ slot.
Check out disco-house-hippie-punk DJ Harvey on the Vitaminwater Stage at 2 p.m., followed by Metro Area at 5 p.m. Tortured Soul, Kerri Chandler and Felix da Housecat finish it. Nice.
Made in Detroit (a tent this year, not the Underground Stage like in previous years) features Mike Servito, Michael Geiger, Aril Brikha and, finally, Visionquest, a crazed collective made up of Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves and Lee Curtiss. See you in the mosh pit, freaks.
The beats will come broken and funky or both at the Red Bull Stage, where you'll find drum 'n' bass legend Goldie with MC Armanni Reign, Dam-Funk & Master Blazter and Hudson Mohawke. Skrillex and Detroit's Matt Clarke also perform.
At the underground Torino Stage, check out the festival debut of the Siege, the newest project of Woodbridge-based Blank Artists; hang around for San Fran ambient-psych-rave pioneer Space Time Continuum, followed by Cio D'or; then button up for some ill beats from Windsor's Kero, Richard Devine, Venetian Snares and Robert Henke's latest outfit, Monolake Surround.
Stagger your schedule to catch Com Truise early on the Red Bull Stage, followed by Space Dimension Controller, an Irish kid with a Detroit soul. At roughly the same time, 2-5 p.m., drift through the grounds and find Detroit's Minx on the Made in Detroit Stage, Spain's Pulshar and Livio & Roby at Beatport and Sammy Dee and Mark Flash on the Vitaminwater Stage.
Markus Guentner, who last played at Movement in 2006 at a Kompakt label showcase, joins nospectacle (full disclosure, that's Christopher McNamara, Jennifer Paull and this digit) on the Torino Stage at 2 p.m.; followed by Deepchord presents Echospace at 4 p.m. and Traversable Wormhole at 5 p.m. Also at 5 p.m., Polish sister Margaret Dygas holds sway at the Vitaminwater Stage before the return of Ricardo Villalobos (7 p.m.), who was on the master calendar last year but didn't make it over the border.
Slide back over to Made in Detroit to see locals John Collins, Al Ester and Delano Smith; and, if possible, Martin Buttrich is a good catch at Beatport at 7:30 p.m. Some late night fireworks will come from Sven Vath and 69 (Carl Craig live) at Vitaminwater; Loco Dice at Beatport; Gaslamp Killer and Aux 88 at Red Bull; and Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann on the Torino Stage.
Early options include Clark Warner (Detroiter now in Denver) and Secrets (Detroit's Matt Abbott) at Beatport; Erika (of Ectomorph) and DJ 3000 on the Made in Detroit Stage. By mid-day, we're rolling with Terrence Parker (3 p.m., Vitaminwater), Pearson Sound/Ramadanman (one dude, London's David Kennedy) at Red Bull at 4 p.m., and techno-loving Detroit garage rock heroes the Dirtbombs (5 p.m.) at Vitaminwater.
At 6 p.m. check out locals Reference (Luke Hess and Brian Kage) at the Vitaminwater Stage, Detroit Techno Militia at Made in Detroit (6:30 p.m.), dubstep-techno crossover innovator Scuba (7 p.m.) followed by Little Dragon (8:30 p.m.) on Red Bull Stage. Stick around for finales from Claude Young (9:30 p.m.) at Made in Detroit, Fatboy Slim (10 p.m.) at Vitaminwater, Adam Beyer 10:30 p.m. at Beatport, Flying Lotus also 10:30 p.m. at Red Bull and Paul Kalkbrenner at 11 p.m. on the Torino Stage.
Did we miss something? Sure we did. But you won't. Go for it. Have fun, eat a good breakfast every morning and drink lots of water. Look for us on the far side of the Noguchi Fountain.