Six years ago, As You Like It launched with a mission to bring the finest in underground house and techno music to San Francisco. They’ve accomplished their mission, and then some: The roster of artists they’ve brought to our fine city reads like a who’s who of forward-thinking dance music technicians.
On Friday night, they host an anniversary party with a stacked lineup led by Kerri Chandler, patron saint of East Coast deep house. Chandler has 26 years of superb, genre-defining releases to his name, and his DJ sets are like paeans to house music writ large, featuring old classics set against newer, contemporary sounds.
Bicep, meanwhile, represent house music’s future. A duo from Belfast, Bicep began as a blog (feelmybicep.com) dedicated to digging and sharing vintage disco and house cuts. After it exploded in popularity, they began DJing around the world and are now working on an all-original album.
Upstairs features rough-edged sounds from L.I.E.S. artists Gunnar Haslam and Greg Beato, both of whom turn techno in on itself.
Other worthy parties this week
DJ Dials, Noisepop, and blasthaus present Floating Points, Jacques Greene, more at 1015 Folsom, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 25. $20; 1015.com
Floating Points’ recent album, Elaenia, was rightfully lauded for its sublime, effortless fusion of electronic textures with jazzy rigor and structure. Early Floating Points singles are deep house par excellence, and it’s likely Sam Shepherd will be packing a few of these — plus similar minimal house cuts — into his headlining DJ set. Joining him are Montreal jazz-house wunderkind Jacques Greene, Kenton Slash Demon performing live, and more.
Modular and The Midway present Once In A Lifetime featuring Monolink, Robert Babicz, more at The San Francisco Mint, 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26. $20; facebook.com/TheMidwaySF
Ain’t no party like a party at the Old Mint. It’s not too often that you get to party in a 143-year-old building, one which survived the earthquake of 1906. The party starts at 5 p.m., with a happy hour on the open air patio featuring Germany’s Monolink, a melodic techno producer, plus others. At 9 p.m., it moves downstairs into the treasury basement, with acid techno legend Robert Babicz taking over with additional performers in the vaults.
Parameter presents All Caps Showcase with Bake, more at Monarch, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. $10-$15; monarchsf.com
Parameter has brought some of Europe’s most cutting-edge sounds to San Francisco, and, on Saturday, they do it again with a showcase from Glasgow’s All Caps Records. All Caps isn’t a particularly prolific label — eight records in five years — but its sound and aesthetic have always been ahead of the game, presenting deconstructed grime experiments early on with hallucinogenic, left-field house and techno coming recently. Label owner Bake headlines, with Neuroshima and Florist supporting.
Tri Works presents Patricia Hall at Underground SF, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. $5; undergroundsf.com
Tri Works is an irregularly occurring club night featuring artists from throughout the fringes of the new American underground. Sunday’s party features Patricia Hall, one half of the former duo Soft Metals, whose two albums for Captured Tracks placed them firmly within the ranks of the contemporaneous minimal wave resurgence. Hall now records solo, producing elegant techno, and Sunday is her live solo debut in San Francisco. She’s joined by Sweaterfunk’s Chungtech and Chasms’ Jess Labrador, both DJing.
Notable Local Records
Lighten Your Horizons by Death On The Balcony; Das Sind Wir
You’d be forgiven for expecting a moody, pensive sound from Death On The Balcony, a two-man disco-house act from the U.K. But no: Lighten Your Horizons, their new three-track EP for local digital label Das Sind Wir, is full of posi vibes. Built from insistent, sampled loops, this EP is designed to do exactly what its name indicates.
The EP opens with “Best Foot Forward,” a confident tune whose backbone is a repeating melodic phrase paired with a squirrelly, funky guitar sample. How you’ll feel about this track depends entirely on how you feel about these samples; they’re catchy and playful, but they wear their influences on their sleeve, as they seem plucked straight from a disco sample pack.
“Few & Far Between” is the EP’s standout. It’s structurally similar to “Best Foot Forward,” repeating sampled melodies with a bassline groove to drive it forward. But here, the looped samples (a layered melange of ethereal female vocals) feel much less overt and more cerebral, and the smart, tight bassline doesn’t get old. It’s properly hypnotic, and its 10-minute runtime passed by with barely any notice.
Lastly, “Good Things Are Gonna Come” centers on a vocal phrase, ceaselessly declaring its titular refrain. The vocal doubles as a unique percussive element, adding an additional rhythmic layer to the tune.
Building A Place Of Surrender by Roche; Mathematics Recordings
The first release from Roche, a local DJ and producer, came out in 2012. Called A Night At The Hac, it showcased his melodic, analog, hardware-driven take on house music. With each subsequent release, Roche’s sound palette drifted further toward the fringes, becoming steadily more psychedelic and tripped-out. Building A Place Of Surrender is his second release on Chicago’s Mathematics Recordings (owned and operated by cosmic acid house freak Hieroglyphic Being), and it’s his most out-there yet — to its benefit.
Each track on this EP features a notably different mood. “Lost For All I See” is a dub-techno bass-heavy jam with syncopated, off-kilter drums. It has got a dancefloor groove, but it’s an odd one — unsettled, uncertain techno.
The EP’s eponymous track is its most conventional, the most traditionally “Roche” track on the record, full of sweeping synthesizer melodies and a chugging bassline.
Things get weirder on the B-side. It opens with “Extending Peace Beyond The Stars,” a beautiful, soothing ambient journey. It’s a lovely, enjoyable diversion, but I wish it were longer — in less than five minutes, it’s over.
The EP closes with “Therapy 4 The Modern Mind,” a 12-minute steadily building jam with heavy, distorted kicks and an undulating melodic motif. Add sampled tribal percussion and you have Roche at his freest and wildest yet. It’s a trip.