To celebrate their second anniversary, Parameter brings us four cutting-edge techno artists, each playing their first ever performance in San Francisco.
Headlining are the Zenker Brothers: Two boys from Munich whose record label, Ilian Tape, has made techno rave again. Ten years on, Ilian Tape has amassed a 60-strong catalogue of flawless, genre-bending breakbeat techno records — not the typical four-to-the-floor throbbing business, but richly melodic, complexly percussive works that seamlessly transpose the blueprint of ’90s jungle and rave into the 21st century.
Also on deck are some of the U.K.’s finest electronic technicians, like Bruce, a humbly-monikered artist whose small discography has made an outsize impact by affixing the corpse of dubstep to the body of contemporary British techno. Beneath, who blends techno with grime, and Clouds, a Scottish duo whose work weighs heavier than their name suggests, also appear.
There’s also local live shredders Diem, acid techno extraordinaires. Too much is never enough.
UPDATE: This party has been moved from The Midway to Club Six (60 6th St.); see facebook.com/ParameterSF for more information.
Other Worthy Parties This Week
Lights Down Low presents Matrixxman and Honey Dijon at The Great Northern, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30. $10-$20; thegreatnorthernSF.com
Our prodigal techno son returns. OK, prodigal, he may not be, but Matrixxman is definitely San Francisco’s premier techno export. The former Bay resident, who now resides in Berlin (of course), has ascended to the highest rank of the global techno order by releasing one devastatingly fine record after another. DJ-wise, he takes no prisoners. Prepare for techno onslaught. Joining him is Honey Dijon, a brilliant disco-house selector with deep roots in Chicago and New York.
FACE presents Thomas Bullock at Public Works Loft, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30. $10-$20; publicsf.com
Thomas Bullock has been around the block. The veteran British DJ is probably best known as one half of the NYC duo Rub ‘n Tug, but he goes way back. As a founding member of San Francisco’s Wicked Soundsystem (launched in 1991), he was instrumental in birthing Bay Area rave culture. As a DJ, he takes disco as a baseline and extends outward from there. Joining him is Pacific Rhythm’s DJ D.Dee from Vancouver’s burgeoning scene.
Brouhaha presents Urulu, Cromie, and Cherushii at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30. $10-$15; feightsf.com
Brouhaha celebrates three years of posi-vibe parties showcasing playfully weird house music and beyond by bringing L.A.-based producer and DJ Urulu up to San Francisco. It’s a very keen pairing: Urulu’s sound is a little bit disco, a little bit house, and very California, emanating sun-kissed SoCal vibes. Joining him is Cromie, a fellow Angeleno who reps similar contemporary deep house sounds. Representing San Francisco is Cherushii, the kaleidoscopic rave-inspired producer and DJ.
As You Like It presents Session Victim at Monarch, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. $20; monarchsf.com
It’s no secret — live electronic music usually isn’t very fun to watch. Four out of five times, artists focus hard on twisting knobs, oblivious to the concept of “performance.” Session Victim, a funky German duo, are the outlier. Their performances, which include playing others’ tracks while they play live bass guitar and synthesizer, are incredible to watch. They turn the “energy” knob up to 11. Portland cosmic disco DJ Sappho joins them.
Notable Local Records
415-PR10 by Various Artists; Public Release
Public Release, a record label associated with the party crew FACE (covered above), releases its tenth record on Sept. 30, assembling four San Francisco producers whose works differ in timbre, but make a great deal of sense all paired together.
Public Release (and FACE, for that matter) mostly traffics in what I would call “post-disco” — think dance music rooted in disco of yesteryear, but employing a broader, more diverse sound palette.
The cheekily named Anonstop opens the record with the brief “Seaside.” It’s only three minutes long and changes little over the course of its runtime, but it’s a hypnotic, lurid listen, sounding like an excerpt from the soundtrack to an ’80s movie that never was.
Next comes “Lower Haighter,” from the otherwise straightforwardly disco outfit 40 Thieves, remixed by U.K. duo Cage & Aviary. What a delight this track is: It’s murky, dark, weird, and funky. It’s propelled by its tight, repeating bassline, and an intermittent violin sample generates tense, nervous energy.
Honey Soundsystem’s Bézier contributes “Domination,” proving once again that he is truly one of a kind. It’s an undulating Italo-disco jam in the trademark Bézier style, primed for club use.
Last but certainly not least is The Beat Broker’s “Trade Secrets,” a gorgeous disco-house number featuring glimmering kosmische-style synths and warm, inviting bass tones.
All four tracks are superb, and the record sleeve, by Barry McGee, is the icing on the cake.
Marbled Eyeby Marbled Eye; Melters
Recently, I experienced a delightful (and woefully old-fashioned) surprise: I stopped by 1-2-3-4 Go! on my way home and asked a friend working at the shop if he had anything new I might like. He suggested a $4 cassette tape by Marbled Eye, thinking it was up my alley. Turns out he was right on the mark.
Marbled Eye are a new band from Oakland who skillfully tread familiar post-punk territory — yes, this tape will absolutely appeal to fans of Joy Division. The sharp, angular guitar tone, the discordant vocals, the quick, staccato drumming — it’s all here.
Where they depart from their forebears is in mood. Marbled Eye sounds distinctly Californian: This is jagged post-punk played with stoned languor, with an unconcerned irreverence that feels markedly different from the anxiousness and self-seriousness that characterizes so much other music in this vein.
At five songs and just over 15 minutes long, Marbled Eye’s debut release doesn’t overstay its welcome. Each song is just poppy enough to make them eminently re-listenable, but not so poppy that you’d be embarrassed to share them with your punk friends. In other words, it hits the sweet spot.
Marbled Eye breaks no new ground, but sometimes, a certain kind of wheel works so well it doesn’t need to be reinvented.