It’s become clear to us that certain styles of music are experiencing a resurgence (or a “surgence” at all) in our industrial little corner of Bushwick. Is it a product of our tense times that our music is becoming/returning to an increasingly intense and visceral sound? Is it a reckoning for the past in which this music was de rigueur or perhaps a longing for a time in which our time and spaces weren’t so regulated and our minds not so capitalized by small metal pucks?
Regardless of the reason for the sound of today’s warehouses, we’ve decided to use this issue to (mostly) highlight the history of the sounds, the scenes, and the people who created them going back all the decades — or at least to the 80s when things really got rolling. Luckily for us, these people are often still here to play music for us like they did when this music was in its nascency. How many genres can say that?
Friday, November 22
Chez Damier at Elsewhere, 10pm
Chez Damier is a house music legend from Chicago and its early house scene, based around a free-flowing club life fostered by radio play outside of the top 40 and a growing space for the artistic, intellectuals, eccentrics, and sexually experimental to party and listen to what was new. While Chicago is where Damier has always been linked, he likes to think of himself as a citizen of the cities of the American dance music trifecta: Chicago, New York, and Detroit. An emotional student of NY Garage hero Frankie Knuckles, Damier went on to create seminal Detroit nightclub The Music Institute which lampooned harder techno sounds on Fridays and softer, housier oriented grooves on Saturdays for the young people of any age just looking to have fun. Damier, despite no longer being young of years, has been consistently performing since, now a major attraction at clubs and festivals worldwide for his sound that hearkens back to the old-school birth-of-house era without remaining stagnant. Seeing this legend play is both a lesson and a treat for any house head interested in how we got here.
Unsound Festival at Knockdown Center, 8pm
Straight from Krakow comes the New York edition of the Unsound Festival which highlights the works of new and experimental electronic artists. Sponsored by the Polish Cultural Institute and the Polska Music program, the festival technically spans two days, although the first night is out of Bushwick, with a free (albeit at-rush) performance from Polish neo-avant-folk band Księżyc at the St. Peter’s Church in Chelsea. For those wishing to stay closer to home in Bushwick, Saturday offers an evening-long festival that highlights cutting edge works from international artists. Some of them you may have heard of, like experimental harsh ambient artist Tim Hecker as well as Nivkeh, the new project from everyone’s favorite fall-asleep-to gal Grouper. Other artists include the Brooklyn-based rrao and the recently-annouced SOPHIE, the queer electronic musician whose output lands somewhere between electro and queer pop mixed in with some crazed performancs (ones that are often sold out). If you’re interested in the vanguard this event is not to be missed.
Saturday, November 23
House of No at House of Yes, 10pm
House of Yes is known for many things including radical expression, enthusiastic consent, and the artistic kind of mutual dionysus that has come to mark a certain brand of Bushwick-style partying (and much of our reputation in the surrounding boroughs and beyond). But alongside neo-cabaret-clowns, and sexy consent, HOY has often been accompanied by an upbeat mixture of disco stylings and Playa-style tech. Not so at this new endeavor, cheekily titled House of No in a collaboration between the bubbly-HOY and the poundier techno-industrial of The Bunker (some Brooklyn originals with an 11-year track record in these parts) with sets from their residents Lauren Flax and Brian Kasenic. We are curious to see how this all manifests in a space so devoted to performance and ebullience and lighting, so we’ll be interested to check it out no matter what. Remember: No doesn’t have to be a negation, it can just mean NO photos, NO cell phones, and NO bullshit. We can be here for that but does it mean we’re saying yes to no?
Thursday, November 28
Adam X at Bossa Nova Civic Club, 10pm
There are many things to be thankful for and maybe one of them is that you’re not high on tryptophan (or maybe you are but you’re rolling with it). Another thing to be thankful for is that we are living in an era of American dance music that is vibrant, alive, and happening a lot of the time right here in this little Bushwick nook that is Bossa Nova Civic Club. Bossa is a safe place for members of a community to come together to scratch their chins and be music snobs and then immediately turn to the dance floor and lose their minds and release their limbs. That it is almost-always without a cover is an incredible gift from the techno gawds alongside their persistent support of new sounds and artists whose output focuses on continuing the Brooklyn techno culture. That culture has been bubbling, boiling, and sometimes just simmering since tonight’s headliner, Adam X, brought it back from the UK raves he visited way back in the early 90s. Adam X is Brooklyn to the core and helped invent this scene alongside his brother Frankie Bones, a man oft-called the Godfather of American Raving. Adam X did all this for decades while maintaining a throughline of EBM and synth oriented heavier works even as the style went out of vogue. While he is currently based out of Berlin (their gain, our loss) he is coming back tonight to his home turf without any of his pseudonyms of recent years to play what he became known for and to bring the Brooklyn techno rave full circle. It is clearly a treat meant to be a Thanksgiving celebration for the family that every party community with any terroir creates for itself. Where were you in ‘92?
Friday, November 29
Elseworld featuring Juan Atkins at Elsewhere, 10pm
When it comes to the origins of techno at large there is almost no contention to the fact that it comes down to the Belleville Trio: Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May. The three started producing techno with synthesizers after hearing some late night long funk jams on the Detroit-area’s Midnight Funk Association radio show. Inspired, they kicked it up a notch, tossed in some Kraftwerk vibes, and literally birthed a movement which we now write about for you in our time off from writing emails about marketing for an hourly rate. Whether producing as Cybotron, Model 500, or under his given name, Atkins has created a space for himself and all of us in a sonic world that has oscillated between the hope of a cyber future to the hope of a cyber alternative reality. The legend is playing at Elseworld tonight, Elsewhere’s full-venue comprehensive party that will bolster the icon’s set with sets from the scene’s legends of today, like The Bunker’s Lauren Flax and techno punk industrialist Noncompliant (formerly DJ Shiva).
Cover image courtesy of Hot Rabbit.
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