The British are coming!
Well, no: just one Brit. But what a Brit he is. Andrew Weatherall, the quintessential “DJ’s DJ,” a lifelong crate digger with a penchant for weird and hazy disco, punkish electro, and dreamy acid house and whose list of contributions to dance music writ large seems neverending, is coming to the Bay.
Weatherall’s a guru of all things “Balearic” — an ill-defined, hazy sound which blends disco, house, funk, and new age at languid tempos. Moreover, Weatherall is the missing link between the “Madchester” sound — New Order, Happy Mondays, and the first ecstasy generation — and the U.K.’s techno-rave acts of the ’90s.
In 1996, he formed the cult electro-IDM act Two Lone Swordsmen with partner-in-crime Keith Tenniswood. Later, they launched Rotters Golf Club, a record label dedicated to dirty, raunchy electro.
During his set at The Great Northern, what he’ll play is anyone’s guess — trainspotters, take note — but rest assured it will be very, very fine.
An Evening With Andrew Weatherall at The Great Northern, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14. $20+; thegreatnorthernsf.com
Other Worthy Parties:
Rave for Fabric featuring Sepehr, more at F8, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 13. $5-$10; feightsf.com
Those following the travails of international nightclub culture will surely know the fate of Fabric, the London super-club recently shuttered by the government ostensibly for “encouraging a culture of drugs” — a load of bollocks (to use the vernacular) if ever there were one. The club launched a fundraising campaign to support their legal appeal, and all proceeds from this party go to the #savefabric fund. Local techno-funk specialist Sepehr headlines, with promoters Parameter taking over the back room.
Blasthaus presents Audion, Mozhgan, Jackie House at Gray Area, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14. $15-$20; grayarea.org
Detroit’s Matthew Dear wears many guises. Throughout his nearly two-decade career, Dear co-founded a seminal record label (Ghostly International) and produced ethereal minimal techno, catchy synth-pop, and — my personal favorite — swirling, psychedelic techno, as Audion. Audion melds the svelte funk of Dear’s eponymous work with big-room maximalist club music. The result goes hard on the dancefloor as expected, but maintains the textural nuance that is Dear’s calling card. Local selectors Mozhgan, Jackie House, and Matt Hubert support.
Public Works and Deep Blue present Sasha at Public Works, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14. $30-$40; publicsf.com
Few DJs are as pedigreed as Britain’s Sasha. In the ’90s, he became the world’s first “superstar DJ,” based mostly on the strength of his partnership with fellow progressive house hero John Digweed. Their Northern Exposure double-CD DJ mix launched a cottage industry of DJ-mixes-as-albums. Before that, he was DJing the Haçienda in the late ’80s, birthing acid house. Today, he’s still at it, commanding dancefloors with razor-sharp mixing skills and melodic, emotional selections. He’s legendary for a reason.
Lights Down Low presents Josh Wink and Willie Burns at Monarch, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. $20; monarchsf.com
For ravers of a certain age, Josh Wink’s “Higher State of Consciousness” is as close to anthemic as you could get. Back when electronic music in America was mostly considered a punchline for jokes — the exception being small regional scenes, like the Midwestern one Wink hails from — “Higher State” achieved massive breakout success, spreading the gospel of acid far and wide. Two decades later, not much has changed. Brooklyn’s dusty house purveyor Willie Burns joins him.
Notable Local Records
Every Riseby Joel St. Julien; self-released
Joel St. Julien is a San Francisco sound designer and composer of film and dance scores who moonlights as a singer-songwriter. Every Rise, his solo debut, is a lush, brief listen, a vision of left-field pop music overlaid with filmic textural nuance.
The record opens with “How I Process the City of the Future,” a potpourri of sounds and styles that heralds what’s to come. There’s a chunky, churning breakbeat, a rapturous synthesizer scarred by a digital whir, and a murky, monotone vocal. If that sounds like an odd agglomeration, it is. But to St. Julien’s credit, it works well. Alas, at three minutes long, it ends barely after it begins.
Then comes “60 Days,” a straightforward tune featuring St. Julien strumming and jangling his guitar while singing harmonically. It’s simple, breezy, and catchy: a cozy pop ditty.
The record’s namesake, its last track, is its finest and most memorable listen, a brooding and melancholy work that’s solemn without feeling sappy. St. Julien synthesizes all the tonal and textural elements that come before into one cohesive whole, and it works marvelously.
St. Julien is a remarkably talented sound designer. Every Rise is filled with superlative textures and atmospheres. It’s also filled with ideas, songwriting-wise — and perhaps too many. Not until “Every Rise” do they cohere. With narrowed focus, St. Julien will be onto something special.
Instinctby Vin Sol; Ultramajic
It’s Vin Sol’s year. In 2016, the San Francisco producer and DJ celebrated the one-year anniversary of his steamy party Club Lonely, launched his own Club Lonely record label, and released four records. The latest, Instinct, was just released on Jimmy Edgar’s Ultramajic imprint. It’s my favorite Sol record yet, a techno-centric four-tracker invigorated by the spirit of ghetto house.
Instinct hews closely to the ghetto house blueprint: intermittent bursts of claps on every beat, call-and-response synths, vocal samples imploring one to work. But Sol contemporizes the sound with rubbery, technoid sound design, a futuristic twist to match the record’s vaporous artwork.
The title track’s insistent, needling synthesizer pulses are deceptively simple, drilling into your head while raucous kick drums and battering handclaps keep time. “1314” is just as simple and effective as “Instinct,” featuring brassy sound design. The steadily building drum fills of “Can’t Cope” make it the record’s highest-energy offering.
Sol’s compatriot (and former San Franciscan) Matrixxman offers up a remix of “Instinct.” It’s slightly faster and more subdued than the original, but maintains its nervous energy. A digital-only bonus track, “DTLW,” features the iconic “work” incantation and raw, corroded textures.
Home listeners might find this record wanting in complexity, but for DJs, Instinct is just right for elevating and maintaining dancefloor tension.