Movement was back for its eleventh installment at Detroit’s Hart Plaza and needless to say, it
was a techno lover’s dream.
Friday night at The Works featured the Blank Code + Communion + System party was a
great way to start the weekend. Sound designer Surachai orchestrated a brilliant masterpiece that
featured visuals with several types of intertwined content ranging from bondage to life and death.
Alessandro Cortini followed with a live Buchla performance that was much more like sound art than
something for the dancefloor. While his performance was certainly a synth enthusiasts dream, the
visuals paired with it very much added a level of empathy to the performance and felt very personable.
Black Asteroid offered up an abrasive form of dancefloor friendly techno. He finished his set by
playing a chopped up version of Room 506 “Drop Out” for his final song, paying homage to
techno-legend Ancient Methods.
The first day of Movement began with Luke Hess opening the Main Stage with a very hypnotic
repetitive machine like noise that slowly blended into user friendly minimal techno. Josh Wink
followed him and began his set by laying down some 80’s hip hop beats, giving us a brief history
lesson of dance music culture with bboy circles filling the right side of the stage near the Underground overhang. As he accelerated the pace of his set, one couldn’t help but appreciate his masterfulunderstanding of the djing craft. Hart Plaza slowly filled up in the early evening with music lovers from all walks of life. Truncate walked among the commoners at the pyramid stage. Grizzled techno veteran Frankie Bones was spotted grinning ear to ear throughout the festival.
Everyone in attendance would agree Movement 2017 was a special showcase for music.
International man of mystery Headless Horseman followed Rrose at the Resident Advisor
Underground Stage and offered up a thrilling interpretation of Dub-Industrial. His set began by slowly pumping out a single, noisy bassline that shook the concrete walls and ceiling of the bunker-like venue. The performance blended layer upon layer of masterfully sequenced rhythmic noise. With sounds ranging from the hooves of a horse to metal clanging, the Headless Horseman masterfully engaged acrowd full of “techno punks” into an hour of head-banging bass heavy rhythmic noise. Adam X and. Perc followed with a live 2 hour set. Sonic Groove and Perc Trax came to a colliding frenzy in this frenzy of maschine music. Strong distortion on synthline after synthline set the tone for the performance that hovered around 135 bpm (I was having so much fun I stopped counting). This performance was certainly the most intense of the weekend and certainly reflected the more noisy, faster side of techno which is growing in popularity.
The Belleville 3 took the main stage at 9PM and pieced together fragments ranging from the
Juno keyboard to the vintage TR808. While some of the mixes were a little rough at times, it was funwatching 3 pioneers of the genre jam out and mix up hits ranging from “Planet Rock” to Jeff Mill’s “The Bells”. Richie Hawtin followed with his Close performance that featured the hypnotic pace and most abstract sound blending we have grown to love so much from one of the original pioneers of Techno.
The first day wrapped up at the world famous T.V. Lounge. The party certainly lived up to its
legacy. Soul Clap started off the music outside with some jazzy high pitched horns and slowly blended in grooves basslines with a danceable beat that started the set off right. As the night moved on, sweet synths from Lil Louis had the party bouncing from wall to wall. With great music going on in 3 different areas and a back drop of the Detroit skyline the T.V. after party is a must see for both locals and out of towners in techno city. The fashion at this spot was quite a sight. Everything from snakeskin suits to full wrap over kimonos to body harnesses to the signature smoking baby T.V. Lounge logo sported by the loyal fanatics who have seen the club grow from its humble beginnings into the power house it is today.
Day two started with a live performace from industrial techno duo Orphx, hailing from
Hamilton, Ontario and oh boy did they deliver. In a live modular performance the sequenced both
thunderous low frequencies and almost squeaky high pitch noise and gave several glimpses of their
magnum opus “Pitch Black Mirror” in their live performance. It began to rain heavily about 45 minutes into their set and festival goers slowly packed the Underground stage. The set came to a peak possibly around the hour mark as Orphx blended fragments of “Severe the Signal” into strongly modulated synth lines layered so deeply it was difficult to dissect. Ryan Elliot followed Orphx and as the rain poured more heavily the venue grew more packed. Dance circles began popping up wherever room could be made. A crew of 10 or so from Miami all rocking matching “TRANCE DON’T MAKE ME DANCE” shirts had particularly good moves and as the Panorama Bar resident pumped out 135 broken beat laced with 303 and piano stabs, it almost felt too good to be real. Joseph Capriati took the main stage shortly after 7 and delivered a seamless techno blend that both paid homage to the origins of techno and gave the crowd a sense of direction techno is headed. Deadmau5 closed the day with his Testpilot project and while his performance experienced technical difficulties due to rain, listeners certainly got a sense of direction it may seem dance music collectively is headed.
The day two afterparty at El Club in Mexicantown headlined by DJ Stingray and Omar S was
an absolute barnburner. The night featured several live performances ranging from noise music to
techno to synth jams. Very early in the morning before DJ Stingray took to the decks the entire
dancefloor was seated with their heads down deep in meditation. As the noise performace came to a
close and DJ Stingray came on stage one could feel the tension growing. He began his set with a more
housey feel slowly worked the tempo up to the electro pace the crowd yearned for. He played
“Professor X” about 40 minutes into his set and brought the crowd to a frenzy, showing us all why he is
an absolute legend in the dance music world. Omar S. took to the decks and showed us that like his
recent album name Omar S. is The Best.
The final day of the festival was just as thrilling as the first two. The lineup at the Underground
Stage was a techno snobs dream. Rebekah delivered a hybrid set shat showed why she is one of the
most exciting names in the game right now. Drumcell brought his L.A. strain of techno to the motor
city and offering a seamless mix of different tracks interacting with each other to create something new.
I noticed Johannes Heil’s “By Night Part Two” mixed in at one point but only the offbeat abrasive part.
Bens Sims and Truncate closed out the night with a locomotive 135+ set illustrated why they are one of
the more exiting collaborators in the techno world.