Derrick Carter and Bicep Keep Mighty Moving 'Til 5 a.m.

SF Weekly
As You Like It and Honey Soundsystem present Bicep and Derrick Carter
Saturday, April 12, 2014

At what point does a club become a work of art? This question has been on my mind lately, as I've been reading Eric and Jennifer Goode's Area: 1983 - 1987, a retrospective of Area, the famous Manhattan club that served as an interesting meeting point between '80s club culture and the downtown New York art avant-garde. Reading the book has me jealous for a period of time that loosely coincided with my baby years -- Area was a wildly creative space that continually reinterpreted itself through elaborate installations with themes like "suburbia," "boxing," "surrealism," and "gnarly" (which, to give you an idea of the level of detail, apparently featured a speedboat in a swimming pool with a gargoyle driving it). Basically, it was partying as installation art and vice-versa. Today, this kind of thing is fairly rare -- people seem to be okay with less cerebral environments. However, in San Francisco, Honey Soundsystem has explored a similar idea for quite a while now. A good example of this was Saturday at Mighty, where the Honey crew teamed up with As You Like It to transform the Potrero Hill venue into a simulated gym.

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Newworldaquarium and Octo Octa Show Digital DJing Done Right

Underground party with Newworldaquarium and Octo Octa
A Warehouse
Saturday, April 5, 2014

"The reason we can appreciate figure skating is not necessarily because of the tricks themselves, but rather the fact that the skater might lose their footing and eat shit at any moment. Hitting those triple Lutzes and Axels while simultaneously avoiding danger is the appeal."

Of everything I learned in college, this quote has always stuck with me. One of my professors was very much into this idea of art and danger. In dance music, I've always used this quote to explain my preference for vinyl DJing. Playing with vinyl (and to some extent CDs) is an art form that has a kind of danger: There's no digital handholding in the mix. But while it's easy to focus on the manual dexterity required for beatmatching, the real difference is in the song selection. With vinyl, you're limited. You have to spend a significant amount of time selecting tracks before a gig. This process forces a kind of focus and thinking that's very hard to replicate if you're able to bring every song you own to every gig. Nine times out of 10, I find that I enjoy sets on vinyl more. Surprisingly though, last Saturday evening offered a look at digital DJing done right.

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Sunight's Surround Sound Experiment Recalls the Chill-Out Rooms of Yesteryear

SF Weekly
Overlap Soundsystem presents Sunight with Snuise, Manitous, and Christopher Willits
Public Works OddJob Loft
Sunday, March 30, 2014

There was a time in the 1990s, I'm told, when every rave had its chill-out room. These were dreamy side spaces, where ambient music and downtempo selections created a comfortable atmosphere for zoned-out partiers to regain their bearings. Though some parties still employ something resembling this concept -- As You Like It has utilized the Public Works OddJob Loft to such ends -- chill-out rooms have nearly followed nootropic "smart bars" and virtual reality installations on the path to nightlife extinction. Last night, though, I was surprised to find myself in something that resembled one these places of a bygone era, when Overlap Soundsystem took over Public Works OddJob Loft for "Sunight," the latest in its series of Ambisonic surround sound explorations.

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Kraftwerk Explores the Hits and Responds to its Legacy at the Fox Theater

SF Weekly
Fox Theater
Sunday, March 24, 2014

I've always thought Kodwo Eshun hit the nail on the head when he conceptualized Düsseldorf, Germany as the Mississippi Delta of electronic dance music culture. That sentiment, expressed in his book More Brilliant Than the Sun, is a direct reference to the enormous influence of Kraftwerk. The group's works in the '70s and '80s inspired a push towards electronics in dance music that resulted in the birth of house in Chicago, electro in New York and Miami, and, perhaps most directly, techno in Detroit. Now, 40 years since the release of Autobahn, electronic dance music is enjoying near-unprecedented levels of popularity in the mainstream, and the group is back touring.

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Remembering the Prior Lives of San Francisco at Lost and Found

SF Weekly
Lost and Found // Current Circus Presents Audio Dreams and Audio Wonders
Make Out Room // Public Works
Tuesday, March 19, 2014

I remember it clearly. A couple weekends back, I was at a warehouse party in Los Angeles. An acquaintance, who'd relocated, cornered me by the port-a-potties and tried to pick my brain about San Francisco. "You're not going to stay there, are you? Everyone says it's over. It's done. It's changed." I'm usually fairly dismissive about these kinds of questions, but for some reason, this conversation has caught up with me. Ever since I've returned to San Francisco, my mind has been processing the fact that this city has changed, is changing, and will most likely continue to change for many years to come.

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The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

Sf Weekly
This St. Patrick's Day weekend, we encourage you to drink responsibly and practice moderation in the greenness of your attire. Actually, we recommend you ditch the green Mardi Gras beads altogether; there's much better things to do in the next few days than black out on Guinness and Jameson. This week's preview has everything you need to avoid the crowds, with such idiosyncratic choices as South African minimal techno, Richmond district R&B, and ultra-futuristic techno. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

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How To Get America Into Techno, With Voices From the Lake

SF Weekly
As You Like It and The Bunker present Voices from the Lake
Saturday, March 8, 2014

Everyone is talking about techno these days. And when I say everyone, I don't just mean your friends and the people you follow on Twitter. Last month, Rolling Stone published Thomas Rogers' "Berghain: The Secretive, Sex-Fueled World of Techno's Coolest Club," a surprisingly well-researched article that brought one of techno's most revered and exclusive institutions into the limelight of the mainstream American music press. This piece is the latest in a string of major journalistic exposes that strive to explain the appeal of techno to an American public that, for the most part, is still playing a 20-year game of catch up with their European counterparts. (The punchline, of course, is that techno was originally a Detroit export.)

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The Academy of Sciences' Nightlife Series Is a Worthy Club Alternative

SF Weekly
Nightlife with Icee Hot featuring Bee Mask
California Academy of Sciences
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

There's just aren't enough good venues in San Francisco right now, and it's a real problem. Though club culture is currently thriving in the Bay Area, there's an unfortunate lack of novelty. The loss of small, divey spots like 222 Hyde, Deco Lounge, and the basement at LiPo have caused a consolidation of parties in the few places remaining. For people who go out regularly, it can often mean weekend nights spent mostly in the same small handful of nightclubs. That gets tiring, which I suspect is why many partiers are turning to speakeasies. Going underground is one option, but there are others, provided you keep an open mind. One such alternative is Nightlife, a 21+ Thursday evening event held at the California Academy of Sciences. Each week the science museum transforms itself into a makeshift party space, with the help of guest promoters pulled from the city's dance music community. Last night was Icee Hot's turn.

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Behind the Scenes at Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp

SF Weekly
Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp with Carl Craig, Francois K, Suzanne Kraft, Morton Subotnick
Victoria Theater // Public Works // Monarch
Saturday, Feb. 22-Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014

"Alright, I'm going to put on a record here, it's one of your first remixes," said XLR8R editor Shawn Reynaldo from the stage as he cued up a song. I was at the Victoria Theater and Reynaldo was interviewing New York dance music legend François K. He pressed play, and the disco zaniness of Musique's "In the Bush" momentarily shook the room. The crowd was a rowdy who's-who of local party faces and assorted heads. The reason for the occasion? Red Bull Music Academy's "Bass Camp," a regional preview/symposium for the energy drink company's yearly academy that's slated for Tokyo later this year.

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The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

Carl Craig plays at Public Works on Saturday.
Something big is happening this weekend. No, it's not a major holiday or occasion -- it's the arrival of Red Bull Music Academy in San Francisco. Not all of it is open to the public, but we've got you covered with a quick guide to all the accessible fun, with parties featuring Erykah Badu and techno dons Carl Craig and Francois K. If that's not your speed, don't worry, there's plenty more happening. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

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