Christian Löffler makes heartbreakingly beautiful music. It's tempting to try to pigeonhole him, but his music — lush, emotive, rich in melody and atmosphere, often featuring vocal accompaniment — resists easy categorization. An easy starting point might be “deep house,” given the steady, throbbing minimal beats that backbone Löffler's productions. But that doesn't nearly do it justice, and the fact that he produces dance music sometimes seems secondary — for Löffler, dance music happens to be the palette he's chosen to serve his creative vision, not the other way around.
Make no mistake, however — Löffler makes excellent music for dancing. Unlike the great majority of house and techno productions, his music is unique in that the kick — the bass drum — is positioned quite far back in the mix and sounds relatively muted; it's not the star of the show. His willingness to not push the beat front and center, combined with the beautiful, lush melodies draped like finely woven silk over all of his tracks, lends his music a dreamlike, introspective quality. There's a certain ineffable ethereal feeling to everything Löffler creates that makes listening to his music feel like floating on air.
Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Löffler's productions never take the easy way out. His minimal tendencies never feel like bandwagoning, and the vocals and acoustic flourishes in his tracks feel earnest and natural, never forced. It's not easy to make something truly beautiful happen on the dancefloor, but Christian Löffler knows exactly what he's doing.
Anton Tumas, an L.A.-based DJ and producer, joins Black Magic Disko's Bob Campbell to provide DJ support throughout the evening.
Other Worthy Parties This Week
Public Works and As You Like It present James Murphy and more at Public Works, 9 p.m-3 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 16. $25-$30; publicsf.com
This one needs no introduction, really. If you're over the age of 14 and under the age of 40, you probably know James Murphy — or, at least, his band, LCD Soundsystem. LCD called it quits in 2011, but since then, Murphy has ramped up his DJ career, lugging records around the world and even developing his own massive, globe-trotting sound system called “Despacio.” As a veteran of the New York scene, Murphy has a record collection that's bursting at the seams, but you can be sure his DJ set will focus on the disco-flavored post-punk (and post-punk-flavored disco) that made his band and record label one of the most-loved of the mid-2000s.
120 Minutes, Public Works, and Swagger Like Us present Mike Q, Cakes Da Killa, and Rye Rye at Public Works, 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 17. $10-$15; publicsf.com
Combine two rappers, one New Jersey ballroom/vogue DJ and two San Francisco party crews — one queer hip-hop (Swagger Like Us), the other post-health-goth (120 Minutes) — and you have yourself a situation. This party is a living testament to the way the internet has dissolved borders of all kinds: between music genres, between genders, between styles, fashions, scenes, and sexualities. Musically, the highlight here is Mike Q, the aforementioned ballroom DJ (if you're unfamiliar: “Ballroom” is a fast-paced, highly sexed, highly stylized take on house music, developed in conjunction with vogue dancing) whose productions, edits, and remixes have been making waves over the past several years. Make sure you come to this party equipped with a strong look — you're gonna need it.
Discipline presents Profligate and Encapsulate at Riddim (Oakland), 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. $7; riddimdancehall.com
If you're looking for something darker on Saturday evening, head east to Oakland's newest club, Riddim, near Jack London Square. Discipline, an irregularly occurring club night focusing on post-industrial music, plays host to Profligate, aka Noah Anthony, a Philadelphia-based artist who creates bleak, murky grayscale techno — dance music with a thousand-yard stare. Profligate's sound owes a great deal to old-school industrial and minimal synth music, but his closest brethren seem to be those young American producers who craft so-called “outsider house,” i.e. off-kilter dance music that, on its face, bears little resemblance to classic house or techno. Encapsulate, a mysterious affiliate of Arizona's industrial/experimental artist collective Ascetic House, shares the bill with Profligate.
Direct To Earth's Three-Year Anniversary Party with [a]pendics.shuffle, Bryan Zentz, and more at Audio San Francisco, noon-2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. $10-$20; audiosf.com
Direct To Earth celebrates three years of Bay Area techno parties by throwing a 14-hour blowout, beginning Sunday at noontime and ending in the wee hours of Monday morning. Headlining is [a]pendics.shuffle, the latest pseudonym of Kenneth James Gibson, a long-active L.A.-based producer. As [a]pendics.shuffle, he produces minimal techno with a playful, kinetic, slip-n-slide groove. Co-headlining is Bryan Zentz, another veteran producer whose recent releases are of a similarly minimal, rubbery bent. Local DJ Nikita joins Direct To Earth residents Bob Campbell, Brian Knarfield, Patrick Gil, and Max Gardner for support all night long.