Most people think of techno as simply dance music — that is to say, utilitarian music, music built for the dancefloor. Which in many cases it is, of course. But some techno is much more than “just” dance music — in fact, for some producers and artists, it is a way of seeing the world, an art form. For Rrose, techno is a means to an end, a way of exploring dichotomies between dance music and other music, between sound and noise, between art and function, and between the gender binary.
Readers who paid attention in art history classes will likely recognize Rrose as a reference to Rrose Sélavy, Marcel Duchamp's gender-bending alter ego. Duchamp's surrealism and refusal to play by the rules makes for a good primer on understanding Rrose as a musician, but it's only half the battle. The key is in Rrose's productions themselves, which are generally characterized by a steady, pulsing kick drum girded by slowly unfurling, hypnotic synths that build to an almost overwhelming level of intensity. Live, played in sequence, Rrose's tracks take on a physical quality that few other techno producers can match, as the synthesizer rhythms seem to burrow deep inside your mind and body. To put it another way, it's a trip.
This party is Icee Hot's second to last. To celebrate, the promoters have marshaled all four residents (Ghosts on Tape, Low Limit, Shawn Reynaldo, and DJ Will) for an all-hands-on-deck blowout. Between the four of them and Rrose, you can expect total dancefloor obliteration — just the way it should be.
Other worthy parties this week
Direct To Earth presents Jeff Samuel, Mikael Stavöstrand, Patrick Gil, and more at F8, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5. $10-$20; feightsf.com
For most of the 2000s, minimal techno ruled the roost as far as club dancefloors were concerned. A backlash against the fast, heavyweight techno of the early-mid '90s, minimal techno (and house) was, well, minimal: Grooves, loops, and rhythms were reduced to their smallest possible constituents, vocal samples were cut up and disembodied, and intensity gave way to subtlety. Jeff Samuel, from Seattle but based in Berlin, produces hypnotic minimal techno featuring understated melodies that zig and zag throughout his productions. Mikael Stavöstrand is a Swede who, in his earlier days, was a noted industrial and experimental musician — for the past decade or so, though, he's been producing throbbing, undulating minimal techno that puts syncopated percussion to very good use. Direct To Earth resident Patrick Gil joins William Wardlaw and ELi for supporting duties throughout the evening.
Push The Feeling presents Magic Touch and more at Underground SF, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. $5 before 11 p.m., $8 after; undergroundsf.com
Push The Feeling's first guest, way back in January of 2012, was Magic Touch, aka Damon Palermo — then a San Francisco resident who has since decamped for sunnier pastures down south. Just shy of the party's third anniversary, he's making a comeback, bringing his live, analog house music with him. After releasing several singles via L.A.'s 100% Silk record label, he put out his first album this year (with brilliant cat-themed artwork by SF's own DJ Primo) featuring eight cuts of warm, retro-inspired house music, styled after Chicago classics but with a particular Los Angeles flavor of its own. Live, he amps up the intensity of his tunes, stringing them one after another into a seamless mix, so come prepared to dance. Push The Feeling resident DJs YR SKULL and Kevin Meenan will be on opening and closing duties.
Go BANG! Turns Six featuring Robin Malone Simmons and Emily Coalson at The Stud, 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. Free before 10 p.m., $7 after; studsf.com
For six years running, Go BANG! has been throwing some of the best disco parties in San Francisco. Some people groan when they hear the word “disco” — it conjures up memories of roller rinks, terrible clothing, big hair, and laughable music produced by the numbers. (For most of my life, I included myself in this group.) What they don't know — and I've just recently learned—is that “disco” is not so much a genre as an approach, and that the rabbit hole goes far deeper than ever imagined. Go BANG! resident DJs, Steve Fabus and Sergio Fedasz, have been exploring the depths of that rabbit hole since their first party six years ago, opening up the dancefloor to a warm straight-and-LGBT-friendly crowd that loves to get down (the party motto is “dress to sweat” for a reason). To celebrate the anniversary they're inviting locals Robin Malone Simmons and Emily Coalson behind the decks, both seasoned disco selectors in their own right. Here's to six more years.
Outpost featuring Kit Clayton, Noetic, and more at Underground SF, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7. Free; undergroundsf.com
For six months now, Outpost has been pushing a strain of electronic music that's woefully underrepresented on San Francisco dancefloors: Colloquially referred to as “bass music,” it's the kind of music, hailing mainly from the U.K. and Germany, that blends the motifs and rhythms of British dubstep with the pace and atmosphere of techno and house — and it's some of the most exciting and creative dance music of the past several years. This time around they've invited veteran San Francisco DJ/producer Kit Clayton, who was at the forefront of San Francisco's minimal techno scene around the turn of the millennium. Clayton has a record collection spanning decades, and it'll be a real treat to hear his interpretation of the Outpost party sound. He's joined by Noetic, a newcomer to San Francisco associated with U.K. online techno publication Inverted Audio, with Outpost residents CM-4 and Nackt supporting.