Wax Runoff: Detroit Favorite [LA VIDA 001]

The week of the reckoning is finally here. People have gathered their best pieces of black clothing and the requests off from work have been approved. Starting tomorrow and through out the weekend folks from all over the world will begin arriving in Detroit for debauchery and impeccable dance music. There are a lot of great parties to attend and, of course, the festival itself has reached almost legendary rapport.

One thing that strikes me every year at some point or another is the realization that each year I hear a few tracks with out fail. There are records that are so well made – so fantastically funky, that it’s essentially never a bad idea to play them. Pepe Badrock’s “Deep Burnt” always gets a spin or two; Scott Grooves’ “Movin’ On” also comes to mind. But the one that always jumps out exactly when it’s needed is the lead track off New For U, the premier LP on Andres’ record label La Vida

NEW FOR U ANDRES

LA VIDA 001

The record was released in February 2012 and ever since has maintained a massive following of fondness. Astonishingly, 5,000+ Discogs members want LA VIDA 001, which is pretty impressive for a somewhat newer release. It’s a very unassuming little slab of wax; sealed in a flat white cardboard sleeve and featuring track listings and small label logos on a white label.

While A1 “New For U” is the breakout star of the record, the second cut on the A-side is a wonderful piece of music as well. While not a dance floor igniter like the former track, it’s made with such amazing warmth and perfection of sampling that Andres is famous for. Lo-fi drums and delicate vocal looping at a slower tempo make it great track for very early in the night. It’s hard not to love based simply from the skill in the arrangements and mastering.

The flip side gets a bit back to the groove of things with Jazz Dance. A lot of DJs have told me that they actually like B1 the most of all. It’s more stripped back and has a lot of breathing room. From a mixing standpoint it layers very well. The juice of this tune lies in the rolling bassline that doesn’t quit very often. The filtering and frequency of over all of each instrument sit astounding well in the mix, creating a splendid finish to an amazing record.

These tracks all bring a bit of something to the table. Part of the reason people champion Andres’ work so much is because the engineering involved in the sound design is so admirable. When you have these massive, expensive, top of the line sound systems to work with, Andres records will always shine on them very well.

People trade this record around a lot. There are constantly new listings on Discogs and I personally got this record only this year when a copy was found in the backroom at my local shop and then put on the shelf. Stay vigilant for it if you dig the tunes and want to own it yourself.

See you in Detroit!

Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Nick States, of Boston, bought his first vinyl record in 2010 and has been hooked ever since. The record shop tends to be his first stop in an any city he visits.

Dig Deeper In Detroit: Inspiring Events During Movement

Movement is upon us. Detroit is near. Not only does that mean exploring stages within Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, but also a domino of parties in between. A full list of the Movement Afterparties can be found here. However, there are also some other inspiring happenings throughout the next several days that explore more facets of techno’s art and culture in different formats. Here’s a little guide to some of the events, in case you want to take a peak into something different this Memorial Weekend.

Wednesday, May 25

 

Moodyman

MOODYMAN – PHOTO BY MARIE STAGGAT

✦ 313ONELOVE Book Release
6–8 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 48201)
Free ($5 suggested donation) | Facebook event page
Just before the festival begins, Berlin-based photographer Marie Staggat will celebrate her book release of 313ONELOVE which has been deemed “an extensive picture love letter to Detroit’s influential electronic music scene.” In her book she uses 170+ photos to capture the historical significance of Detroit’s house and techno scene. She shot close-up portraits of the DJs and producers to depict their tools of creative output.

 

Marie Staggat

VIA 313ONELOVE BY MARIE STAGGAT

Thursday, May 26th

 

Alan Oldham

ART BY ALAN OLDHAM

Return to the Future: Art of Techno Gallery Pop Up
Noon–8 p.m.
Apothecarium (5101 Trumbull St., Detroit, 48208)
Free | 18+ | Facebook event page
Ever been curious about the visual side of techno? This event will showcase artwork from Alan Oldham [DJ T-1000] and Abdul Haqq. At the opening reception on Thursday, there will be an opportunity to meet the artists. They will discuss being a part of the birth of Detroit’s techno, including their involvement with Underground Resistance. An opening Movement Reception will take place on Friday, May 27 from 7 p.m.–midnight with artist interviews by Carleton Gholz from the Detroit Sound Conservancy. On Saturday, May 28 the gallery will be open from 2–8 p.m. and on Sunday there will be a BBQ from 4-7 p.m. Comics, prints, and paintings will be for sale. Presented by Oldham Industries, Pure Comics, and Pure Sonik.

Friday, May 27

 

Plastic Dreams: The Forgotten Future of the Vinyl Format
2–4 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 48201)
Free ($5 suggested donation) | Facebook event page
Join this panel discussion that will explore the resurgence of vinyl and the impact this output has had on the music industry, especially on a local level. Panelists will include Kai Alce (Owner, NDATL Music), Anna Atanassova (Owner, Paramita Sound), Dave Buick (Vinyl Release Specialist, Third Man Records), Andy Garcia (Archer Record Pressing), and Mark Sandford (FIT Distribution).

Carl Craig In Conversation
7–9 p.m.
The Underground at Detroit Institute of Music Education (1265 Griswold St., Detroit, 48226)
Free | Website event info
Detroit legend Carl Craig will be hosting a free masterclass at the Detroit Institute of Music Education. This event will be open to the public, so get there early to save a seat. Learn more about DIME at www.dime-detroit.com.

Saturday, May 28

 

Girls Gone Vinyl

GIRLS GONE VINYL

Girls Gone Vinyl 10 Year Anniversary Fundraiser
11 a.m.–8 p.m.
MIX Bricktown (641 Beaubien St., Detroit, 48226)
$10 | Facebook event page
You won’t find this event on the official list of Movement afterparties however it’s one you may be interested to add to your list. Girls Gone Vinyl will be an official project party which will raise funds to send young women to DJ school at the Music Industry Academy. Additionally, Girls Gone Vinyl is working on educating others about the true story of women in DJ culture around the world. Lineup will include Alison SwingNicole Jaatoul (Choice), Adia, SchmadiaMarissa GuzmanDJ HolographicSuperDrePilar, CoteKora Noir. The event will also host the young lady they sent to DJ school this year, Jada Tabbs aka DJ 007.

Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson in Conversation
2–5 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 48201)
$5 (free for members) | Facebook event page
Juan Atkins, Derrick May (MOCAD board member) and Kevin Saunderson are legends to the invention of Detroit techno. The three artists will discuss the music and the culture surrounding it, followed by a Q&A session.

If there is an event that you think should be added to this list, email information to alicia.sequencer@gmail.com.

Cool Dad County Fair w/ Chuck Daniels

Buffalo’s Cool Dad Records crew will host Chuck Daniels [Sampled Recordings] for their second annual daytime Cool Dad County Fair, now an official Movement pre-party. Cool Dad residents on the bill include Eyes Everywhere, Nickie Fowler, Alex Morrison, and Mark Morin.

Purchasing a presale ticket for this event will enter you into winning a pair of tickets to Movement in Detroit May 28-30.

Signal > Noise v2.1: Norm Talley & Delano Smith

Rochester’s Signal > Noise brings Norm Talley back again, this time with Delano Smith for an official Movement pre-party.

Norm Talley & Delano Smith

Raised on Detroit’s westside, Norm Talley and Delano Smith began establishing themselves as artists in the early days of house and techno in the Motor City.

Norm Talley

NORM TALLEY

Talley was influenced by music at a very young age. “During this time in my youth there was a strong musical presence on the westside of Detroit. Lots of great record shops and parties to go along with that; they even sold records in department stores like Federals along with records shops like Detroit Audio, Professionals, Chaunceys, Kendricks, etc.”

With genuine determination to explore his love of music, he picked up a paper route to earn money for records as well as another turntable to complete his set.

“Motivation comes from within and if I wanted it I went out and got it, so at this time in my life as a teenager my motivation was collecting good music and dancing before I even had two turntables.”
 – Norm Talley

Smith was born in Chicago, Ill. but he and his family moved to Michigan when he was maybe 4 or 5 years old. Although his roots stem from Detroit, by the early ‘80s he started to develop a taste for Chicago house music. “There was no place like the Detroit’s westside growing up. That’s where the scene started in Detroit,” he says.

Delano Smith

DELANO SMITH

Each artist were influenced by the late and great WLBS DJ Ken Collier, a Detroit-native and pioneer to the techno community. Collier was ultimately known for his after hours sets at Heaven, a gay nightclub on 7 Mile and Woodward. Like Frankie Knuckles and others, Collier played a pivotal role in the era of post-disco, when the energy was high, the scene was pushed further underground and a new sound was brewing.  

Norm Talley & Delano Smith

L’UOMO DETROIT

“I opened for Ken a lot in Detroit at many of his residencies … I already knew how to beatmatch pretty much prior to having the opportunity to open for him. He did advise on little things like blending, EQing and volume, but just watching and speaking with him when we played together taught me a lot,” Smith says, adding that he has too many fond memories of him to reminisce on just one. Smith did begin to DJ alongside Collier and began gaining most of his notoriety at L’uomo Detroit, a warehouse type club.

Talley lived four blocks away from Collier and regardless of being a bit younger at the time, he was still gaining knowledge through the music he shared. Collier was a mentor and a friend to him, providing him knowledge about disco and progressive which developed that signature Talley sound and energetic set. “One great memory of Ken playing was when he got ready to mix a record he would tell the light guy to ‘blacken the floor!’ which meant turn off the lights and when the mix was complete, and the next record was introduced, the light guy would then turn back on the lights!”

Smith took a break from DJing in the mid/late ’80s around the time that house music was becoming more popular. “I’d already been DJing for a long time making no money, so I decided to get a real job and further my education and eventually left Detroit for a few years. When I returned in the early ’90s the music had changed completely. I was at a friends house that happened to have some turntables set up in his basement — one thing led to another and here we are.”

Fully inspired and on the grind, Smith had his mission at the helm and in 2003 joined forces with Tony Foster to develop Mixmode Recordings. Prior to that, Smith and Talley developed the Detroit Beatdown Crew, along with Mike ‘Agent X’ Clarke. Their first compilation LP was released through Third Ear Recordings in 2002. As a trio their sound began seeping into the European scene, leading Smith to Germany where he developed a very impactful relationship with Yossi Amoyal, head of Berlin label Sushitech.

Both artists have performed on an international level, including places like Germany, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Japan and more.

“When I first began to travel internationally overseas they seemed to pay very close attention to detail as far as sound system which was pleasant for me and now I see a lot of clubs in the U.S. paying more attention to details. Don’t get me wrong, there were some clubs in the U.S. in the late ’70s and early ’80s that had great soundsystems but I guess it seemed as all the clubs overseas had great sound systems,” Talley says.

According to Smith, “The music is taken more seriously in Europe and Japan it seems. A DJ can really play from the heart. People that come to hear you are truly your fans, they buy your records and are knowledgeable about the music and the entire scene in general. It’s a lot different in the U.S., and I’ll just leave it at that. There are many factors in the U.S. that divides us musically and culturally.”

Regardless of international differences, “the D” is the birthplace of techno. Creation and community was so poignant during the early days on the westside, it helped spark and develop a culture that remains authentic. According to Talley, “I think DJs and producers living in Detroit at that time were heavily influenced by the rich history of music coming out of Detroit through radio, our parents, backyard parties, high school gigs, DJ crews … so I think it just carried on into our adult lives.” The city is still growing with new waves in the scene, many shaping the next generation of music from that city and carrying on the legacy. From two artists who have seen the city’s evolution, they shared with Sequencer who they find to be an important player in shaping the next generation of music from the 313.

“Really hard to say as there are so many and I like a lot of them,” Smith says. “Too many to name actually, but I will say – with the new younger generation of music producers, the scene will be left in good hands!”

Talley continued, “A lot of producers and DJs have brought their sons into the music business and I think they will carry the house and techno torch when we’re old and grey. Guys like Jay Daniels, Kyle Hall, Dantiez and Damarii Saunderson, and Generation Next to name a few.”

Tens of thousands of people will make the pilgrimage to Detroit on Memorial Day weekend for the annual Movement Festival. Movement attracts people from all over the world, exposing them to the city and perhaps showing it in a new light, breaking the negative connotation that many people might have in mind. There is a culture of art, music and cuisine that is more than a pleasure to explore.

movement

MOVEMENT FESTIVAL – PHOTO: DOUG W.

Each person that has a connection to the festival has a special meaning in their heart for Detroit. For Smith, “I like the fact that Detroit is shown in a good light around the world. The guys at Paxahau have a top notch production in the U.S.A., we need this here, and it’s done in my hometown where techno was born.”

Movement, produced by Paxahau since 2006, will be celebrating 10 years this May and has grown to become one of the largest electronic festivals. “It’s a positive thing all the way around exposing people from Detroit – and worldwide – to electronic music from Detroit and abroad,” Talley says.

Talley will be returning to Rochester, N.Y. along with Smith on Saturday, April 23 for the seventh installation of Signal > Noise who have previously presented The Black Madonna, Claude Young and Eric Cloutier. This event has also been selected as an official Movement Pre-party.

Both artists have been friends and DJing with one another for decades. Smith says that he and Norm are like family. “I’ve known Norm for many, many years and we’re very close friends, like family,” Smith said.

“Great friend of mine for many years, and we have held residencies together here in Detroit for over 20 years,” Talley says. “[He is] very passionate about music and pays close attention to detail which is right up my alley. Great DJ and label owner of MixMode recordings which we have done records together in the past and more coming in the near future!”

 

 

 

RSVP to Movement on the Facebook event page. For more information on Movement or to buy tickets visit http://movement.us/.

Signal > Noise 2.1: Norm Talley and Delano Smith
Saturday, April 23
45 Euclid (45 Euclid St., Rochester)
Presale $20
See the Facebook event page for more details.