Now that I’ve cleaned up my kicks and the ringing in my ears has subsided its time to reflect in a Movement 2013 Recap. I unfortunately could not make it for Friday openers or even Saturday but I did have some trusted eyes and ears on the Detroit electronic music festival even in my absence. All I knew was I surely wasn’t going to miss Sunday or Monday this year.
After 14 years of attending DEMF we’ve pretty much seen it all come through Detroit on Memorial Day weekend but I can honestly say I wasn’t this excited about the lineup in… well… I’m not sure I can honestly recall. For Movement 2013 it was all about the Underground Stage for true, relentless techno that made my (absolutely necessary) earplugs cower and shrivel in inadequacy. I also witnessed a growth for the festival. Not just by numbers, and certainly not by the maturity of the audience, but of well deserved recognition and coverage. Mainly the addition of Be-At.tv streaming the the event all 3 days from different stages, Boilerroom.tv having there own ‘private’ performance tent in the VIP which was also streamed and recorded and Beatport streaming video from their stage as well.
One of my first initial downers not being able to make it for Saturday was missing Lucy. I’m a huge Stroboscopic Artifacts fan and seeing the label head in my beloved Detroit was icing on the cake. However almost at the last minute Lucy unexpectedly was unable to make it due to visa issues.
In fact it was newcomer Nicole Moudaber who first set the Underground Stage off Saturday. The crew then stuck around to catch Ben Sims, a long-time favorite who knows his way around a set of decks (3 usually). After not hearing exactly what they were expecting, it was time to check out what Detroit’s golden-boy Richie Hawtin was bringing to the main stage. He absolutely did not disappoint. I heard a comment that ‘There is about a 100% chance Richie is a better Dj then you are” and I completely agree. This guy knows how to rock a party and is definitely one of the most technologically advanced Djs (and always has been) and once he gets the chance to woo the Movement main stage he comes correct.
Saturday night was a time to get in a bit early – Or shall I say drink too much in anticipation for the remainder of the weekend. Nearly find yourself sleeping at the bar below your hotel, or possibly in the street had not at least a glimmer of communication found its way through the babble to the employee working the font desk. This after you’ve found yourself without a room key and with a roommate already passed out dreaming of techno so loud he could not hear the grown man nearly kicking through his door. It has began.
Sunday[Disclaimer: The following videos are not the highest quality and the audio is straight blasted. But they do give you a feel for the environment]
We missed making it to see Deadbeat though Gregor Tresher made a good impression and got the night started right. Tommy Four Seven followed him with an absolute punishing set. The next slot was slated for the Ben Klock and Marcell Dettmann B2B set, though Marcell too encountered visa issues and was unable to make it. Which was extremely disappointing because if his set was to be anything like his from Movement 2011 it would have been one of the favorites of the weekend. Klock was definitely up to take charge of the slot proper and did not disappoint (though, does he ever?).
Luke Slater quickly became the man of the weekend. First playing as Planetary Assault Systems live at the festival, then Djing again Sunday at the Interface 42 / Scene 10 party. Both sets equally commanding and impressive. This gentleman is a legend. And for good fucking reason. A must see before you die. His P.A.S. set at the festival was mesmerizing and demanded every ounce of energy you had to give – maybe a bit more.
I was at first a bit surprised that Steve Rachmad was given the task to close out the Underground Stage on Sunday after such hard hitting techno. Not that Rachmad doesn’t destroy the dance floor by any means. I had last saw him at Movement 2011 when his set was before Klock/Dettmann and it didn’t quite warm me up as some of his previous sets over the years had. He was given the huge burden of continuing this epic night of techno madness to the crowd that awaited. As I knew he would this seasoned vet rocked the decks proper and kept the crowd glued to the dancefloor, unable to even fathom changing stages.
“Movement had come to a close, Detroit was just opening her arms to the night.”
Next up was the Interface 42 / Scene 10 party at the classic Detroit club The Works. Rødhåd was playing in the front when we arrived though Luis Flores was putting together such a nice set it was hard for me to venture from the main room. Luke Slater came on and killed it so fucking hard I dropped my jaw on the floor, then decided to just leave it there as it was just going to fall off again at the next mix. Amazing.
I’m a huge Sandwell District fan. Aside from just the music on the label, the members/collaborators introduced me to some very new avenues within techno, mainly Silent Servant. His style, music and art are unlike no other. That being said I wasn’t blown away by his set following Slater. The tracks were great, just as I expected, but the mixes were just a bit too long, a bit too drawn out. Maybe my ears for the weekend were only tuned to the completely ridiculous drops, epic mixes and heart pounding bass but it wasn’t everything it could have been for me at the time.
It was a late night, which means a late start. My plan was to at least make it back to the Underground Stage to catch Mike Parker and reside there for the remainder of the evening. Didn’t quite make it there but was able to catch the video recording of his set later. We instead made it for the entrancing sounds of Rrose; an artist I’m currently enthralled with and was super stoked to see. The set was perfect, just what I was expecting plus it was exactly what I needed at the time.
Next up was Droid Behavior’s own Drumcell. I’ve been rockin Drumcell records nearly since I’ve been rocking records. This is an artist and performer who craves pounding beats and knows how to use them. Probably the most energetic set of the weekend, pushing the envelope on just how much the crowd can take. Truncate continued the madness throughout his set. His track selection was equally good, though I thought his drops weren’t quite as surprising and demanding.
Silent Servant took the bill next. For me his set was better than the previous night. His track selection was very similar but he fed off the energy of the festival crowd and really put things together. Though following the likes of Drumcell and positioned between the Truncate and DVS1 set, I thought his mixing was still just a bit too drawn out. A better time slot would have been following Rrose, then Truncate, Drumcell and of course DVS1. This guy, what can I say, he’s an amazing dj. Everything a Dj should strive to me. Very energetic, very physical, connected to the crowd and just feeling it. Right off the bat too, not half way into his set or once he has a few nice mixes under his belt. On point, right at the jump. Amazing. I can strongly say that DVS1 is currently once of the best Dj’s in the world right now and he could follow up any Dj continuing their energy or just fucking one-up ‘em. A perfect set to close out the Underground Stage. I did also have the chance to hear snippets of the legendary Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May as High Tech Soul on the Redbull Music Academy Stage and if I wasn’t so into DVS1, and felt like standing in the rain, that is definitely where I would have been. Truly a proper way to end the Detroit Electronic Music Festival.
Yet Movement 2013 still was not over for us. It was off to the Klockworks label after party. Now, we felt this is a party we probably should not miss. We’re huge Klockworks fans and Ben never disappoints. However I had my inhibitions about this party even before we got our presales. Not because I would ever turn down the chance to see both Ben Klock and DVS1 twice in the same weekend but because 1) It was a Monday party and sometimes the energy can be a bit, well, discomforting I suppose and 2) it was at The Works, again. Not that I don’t love The Works and the amazing talent they’ve helped bring into Detroit over the years. But I typically avoid going to the same venue for an after party two nights in a row. After parties are an experience, an extension of the party (or in this case festival) which allow you to see new performers, fans and environments - and with this year I felt like I just teleported from the Underground Stage to the Works to the Hotel and back again each day.
When we arrived I was less than impressed with the live set from Recondite. I won’t bore you with the details because it was in fact boring. The ‘visuals’ were also just stuck on one screen, no movement (the visual were performing fine after his set). Not sure if this was to just add a dramatic effect once the next performer came on or a technical error, but it was an error none the less. I literally couldn’t wait for the next set to start and almost started cursing myself for leaving the hotel that early. Ah rejoice, Ben Klock is next on the decks and all seems well, and it is, for awhile. Then the vibe grew quite menacing for me. I was hot, the space seemed over booked, people we pushing to get through, my toes got murdered by some anxious, lead-footed fellow, a few times. Most of the crew stuck it out – I had enough, even after trying to get some air in the front room and on the porch area. Although a somewhat solemn ending to the festival weekend, it was still one of the best to date.
“Thank you again Detroit for all these years of education in techno within your electronic music festival, clubs, city streets, abandon warehouses and homes.”