The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend
Masters at Work play at Mighty on Friday.
It's almost the weekend, which means it's almost time to party. To assist you in your mid-November revelry, we've hand-selected some of the finest events in the city, with options that include such polar opposites as hyper-aggressive dubstep and poppy UK deep house. As is often the case in San Francisco, there's something for everyone. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
When it comes to influential house music producers, few can top Masters at Work. It's a duo composed of legendary New York producers "Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez, who, from the late-'80s onwards, changed the face of dance music by fusing the structure of disco with the jazzy rhythms and sample-based aesthetic of '90s house and hip-hop. About 10 years ago, Vega and Gonzalez took a break to focus on solo material. But they reconvened after a spate of popular one-off performances in 2012 (including an appearance at 1015 Folsom), and are once again producing and DJing under their most famous banner.
Throughout the '90s, the duo unveiled more than 1,500 releases between their original projects and remixes for major labels like Atlantic and Virgin. Their sound has always been at the forefront of house culture, directing the music into ever more clever and complicated territory. For instance, their classic track, "The Ha Dance," turned a five-second sample from Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd's Trading Places into a stuttering vogue anthem, complete with flashing snare drums and buoyant basslines. Similarly, their work on the Nuyorican Soul project brought aspects of U.K. drum 'n' bass and Latin percussion into the fold, creating one-of-a-kind classic "The Nervous Track" from a jazz breakbeat and lush atmospheric chords.
The reformation of Masters at Work couldn't have come at a better time. The impact of the duo can be felt across the board in today's underground, with a renewal of interest in the soulful side of '90s New York house through contemporary acts like Bicep and Disclosure. In fact, a part of the reason for Masters at Work's revival comes down to the two producer's interests in educating the next generation of house heads as to the roots -- and potential -- of the sound. "We feel it's a responsibility to give [people] some knowledge about where this music comes from," Vega recently told Magnetic.
The Masters at Work live performance is instructive in the way Gonzalez and Vega weave classics with contemporary fare through the filter of old-school DJ work. Their sets nowadays fuse laptops and USB-fed CDJs with long-forgotten techniques like live EQing through a three-band isolator (which allows a spinner to create drama by pulling the bass out and manipulating the mid-range like a wah-wah pedal). To hear them spin is an education in and of itself, which makes their appearance at Mighty this Friday a can't-miss event. Listen to this mix from their performance together at 1015 Folsom last year.
Dubstep has changed a lot since it first appeared on London's bass-addicted dancefloors in the early-'00s. Nowadays, it's synonymous with American festival culture, owing more to the abrasion of heavy metal than the Jamaican "dub" its name suggests. That transition is partly due to Rusko, an English producer who injected the sound with the wobbly basslines and machine-like noises that have since become its hallmarks. Listen to this podcast.
Though it's not accurate, a lot of people view electronic dance music as inherently lacking in eroticism. This couldn't be less true of the work of DJ Assault, a Detroit-based spinner whose tracks (such as his anthemic "Ass N Titties") falls in the category of "ghetto tech," a form of X-rated house that throws raunchy, booty-centric lyrics on top of breakneck rhythms and funk-inspired basslines.
Marc Kinchen (aka MK) is one of dance music's iconic remixers, turning mainstream hits (like the Nightcrawlers' "Push the Feeling On") into trippy, high-intensity diva-house workouts. Today, he's still at it, applying his honed production chops to poppy tracks by the likes of Disclosure, Lana Del Ray, and Storm Queen. Listen to his "Summer Mix 2013."
The golden years of Chicago house might be over, but that doesn't mean there aren't DJs still keeping the flame alive. Case in point is Boogie Nite, a spinner from the Windy City whose looped-up, high-octane take on disco recalls Chi-town's sweaty warehouse heyday. Read this interview and then check out this jaw-dropping gospel-tinged disco mix. Full disclosure, I'm one of the opening DJs.