With the final lineup announced last week and about a month and a half to go until Movement Festival (formerly known as DEMF) lands in Detroit's Hart Plaza, we're counting down the days until one of the best techno festivals in North America.
Spanning May 24 through May 26, Movement's scope goes far beyond the 115 performers on the festival grounds during the day. Venues all around Detroit are lit up by debaucherous afterparties that rival the best lineups you've encountered, guaranteed to keep you moving past dawn until Memorial Day weekend comes to a close. Expecting over 100,000 attendees, we expect a significant percent of the festivals guests to be DJs and producers themselves, making their annual journey to the techno mecca.
To prepare you for the festival, here's some homework: a selection of required listening from Movement artists. Keep an eye out for more DEMF coverage!
Every project from Berlin-based experimental producer Shackleton garners wicked accolades. 2014’s poly-rhythmic Freezing Opening Thawing, 2012’s 60-minute dystopian composition Music for the Quiet Hour, and his lauded Fabric 55 mix all seep with a disfigured, latticed dread. Don’t expect to Shazam any tracks here; Shackleton is not a traditional DJ, but instead plays a live set of intense, loud constructions. It’s a vigorously original and stirring take on psychedelia, and there’s no one we’re more intrigued to see. His mixes are hard to track down on Soundcloud, but here's a BBC Radio 1 Experimental mix from 2009. -Steph
Daniel Avery & James Holden on Rinse FM
Fabric resident Daniel Avery's name was at the tip of just about every techno-savvy tongue last year, with the release of his debut LP Drone Logic (released on Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound imprint) encapsulating his signature spacey walls-of-sound with perfectly placed vocal samples. This year, he's making the rounds on the festival circuit, and I couldn't be more excited to finally see him in the flesh. While his guest on this mix, James Holden, isn't an official member of this year's Movement lineup, he did play my favorite afterparty set of last year's festival, so this felt like an appropriate melding of past and future. -Alyce
UR Presents: Timeline Live
The basic foundation theory behind Detroit techno collective Underground Resistance (UR) is facelessness. Music is for changing the community, not serving the industry, and they’ve achieved iconic (though not commercial) success for fiercely independent innovation. UR inspires with futurism, meaning technology, experimentation, and no-boundaries music. A mind-opening synthesis of soul and machine, known as hi tech jazz, is in the making for UR’s Saturday headline, "Timeline Live." Spawned by Jeff Mills (another must see) and “Mad” Mike Banks in the late ‘80s, UR is a true champ to the underground, which, by un-commercialized definition, means you probably didn’t know them. Now you should. -Steph
Galaxy 2 Galaxy – Hi Tech Jazz **not a set, but they will be playing this live.
Touching Bass with Max Cooper
If you've attended Movement before, you know that there's a lot of pounding techno. Not that I'm complaining - I'm coming back for my second year for a reason. However, there's something to be said for deviating from the norm, and I'm super excited to catch Max Cooper's set on Sunday. For all the same reasons I sung the praises of his LP Human (released via London's Fields Recordings) in my review, I'm ready to be taken on a soothing and reflective journey amidst several days of chaos. Cooper's most recent mix, released via Noisey, is a lovely representation of his nuanced, blissed-out style of electronica. If you need even more Max Cooper, his Boiler Room Berlin set from yesterday, kicking off around 3-hour-15-minute mark in this YouTube recording, is pretty much mindblowing. -Alyce
Move D enchants at Panorama Bar
In 1995, Heidelberg’s Move D (aka David Moufang) released his KUNSTSTOFF debut, a wafting exploration through ambient textures that continues to enchant as much as ever. He’s revered for his niche sound. It’s slowed down and surrounding, surrendering and deep, and tilts further towards meditative rhythm as part of recent project, Magic Mountain High, alongside Juju & Jordash. Move D has little taste for big stage stardom. Smaller parties, looser vibes, and dedicated listeners are where his music zones best. -Steph
Skream turns over a new leaf at Sub Club
It's hard to predict where Skream will take his Movement set on Monday, but we hope it sounds something like the mix below from Glasgow's Sub Club. I've seen Skream live once, at Terminal 5 in New York City, back in his hard-and-heavy dubstep days. I'll always respect his penchant for unapologetically heavy bass, but I must say, his afterparty disco set may have been even better, and as I've matured, I'm glad to see that Skream's tastes have evolved to embrace a more eclectic techno and house selection. -Alyce
Speedy J & Lucy combine as Zeitgeber
Zeitgeber, which translates to “synchronizer,” is a conceptual techno collaboration between label heads Lucy, of Stroboscopic Artefacts, and Speedy J, of Electric Deluxe. Think design, then darkness. Their 2013 self-titled release is an architectural experiment in sound, the former known for his beautifully disturbing soundscapes, and the latter, thrill. It’s an unpredictable one for Sunday night that’ll fall somewhere in between pummeling and profound.
Black Asteroid's warehouse afterparty vibes
Recorded at Club Mute in Seoul, Korea, this We Love Techno mix from Black Asteroid (Bryan Black) promises to appease those whose appetites are only satiated by the darkest, heaviest of techno. Featuring tracks from Black Asteroid and his band MOTOR, Perc, Monoloc, and more, this is the mix to prepare you for the smokiest, dankest Movement afterparties at The Works. We'll be surprised if Black isn't playing the Underground Stage, most frequented by leather-jacket-clad techno dudes fearful of the sun (and sometimes me and you). -Alyce
Keep it Deep with Mike Huckaby
One of the deeper roots to Motor City’s music scene is Mike Huckaby. With ten years of music theory, and fifteen as head buyer to the late (though momentous) Record Time, Huckaby continues to evolve Detroit’s music scene as a production instructor at community program, Youthville. He’s an exceptional programmer when it comes to spinning sets, and his sound, not surprisingly, is a no-frill, soulful, super deep house. Huckaby’s tour schedule is still in heavy international rotation, but there’s nowhere more fortuitous to catch him than on his home turf Sunday night.