Dub techno is perhaps the most idiosyncratic subgenre of techno. It was invented from whole cloth by a pair of Germans, Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, known for their work as Basic Channel and Maurizio. Longtime fans of reggae and dub, the pair discovered that typical dub recording techniques — i.e., using the recording studio to inject space, echo, and reverb into reggae tunes, transforming them into “dub versions” — translated perfectly to techno. And so dub techno was born, inspiring leagues of imitators.
Enter Deadbeat: Of all the producers borrowing pages from the Oswald/Ernestus playbook, Deadbeat is one of the most prolific — and talented. He's slowly developed his sound over the course of 15 years, starting from a straightforward dub-influenced minimal techno blueprint, ending up with last year's “Infinity Dub Sessions,” a collaboration with Basic Channel-affiliated vocalist Paul St. Hilaire. It's his most accomplished work yet; Hilaire's voice works perfectly in tandem with Deadbeat's production, and it's stylistically diverse, too, featuring a number of laid-back dubwise tracks alongside some up-tempo floor burners.
As a DJ, expect Deadbeat to pull from his own sizable catalogue as well as reaching deep into the archives of minimal- and dub-techno history. Direct To Earth residents Max Gardner and Patrick Gil will be opening up the night, both of them dub techno fanatics (and excellent producers to boot). If you're unfamiliar with the depth and intricacies of dub techno, there's no better place to start than here.
Other worthy parties this week
Giant NightLife with Braille, Different Sleep, Ital and Aurora Halal at California Academy of Sciences, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursday, April 16. $12; calacademy.org
The wildly successful weekly party at the Academy of Sciences, NightLife, isn't really about music, to be honest: It's about people-watching, checking out the aquarium and the tropical rainforest sans children, and drinking alcohol in a setting where it's otherwise impermissible to do so. And yet the museum regularly books top-notch musical acts, like Braille, Ital, Aurora Halal, and Different Sleep. Braille, aka Praveen Sharma, is an NYC-based electronic musician responsible for a swath of killer house (as Braille) and for futuristic rhythmic beat experiments (as Praveen and half of Sepalcure); Ital, formerly of San Francisco, is a deep, dubby techno practitioner; Aurora Halal runs one of New York's most forward-thinking left-field techno parties, Mutual Dreaming, and recently started producing music of her own; and Different Sleep produces relentlessly catchy R&B edits and remixes. Excellent music, lots to see and drink, a planetarium and a fully-functioning rainforest make for pretty fine Thursday evening entertainment.
As You Like It presents Tiger & Woods, Morgan Geist, and Hunee at Public Works, 9 p.m.-4:30 a.m. Friday, April 17. $20-$25; publicsf.com
Disco, the original club music, was born in the '70s but never really died. It fell out of favor in the '80s and took a backseat once Chicago and Detroit invented house and techno, but the sound and spirit of disco remain timeless. As You Like It celebrates disco by bringing together three artists who use the genre as a jumping-off point, each pushing it in a unique direction. Tiger & Woods craft disco edits, starting with slo-mo (115 bpm or so) beats and filling them in with samples taken from vintage disco cuts; the result is cozy, sexy, and groovy. Morgan Geist is a producer from New Jersey, one-half of duo Metro Area, who makes devastatingly funky house and techno with a substantial disco pedigree. Last but certainly not least is Hunee, a DJ with decades of experience whose signature style blurs the lines between hard-hitting vintage disco and modern space-age deep house. Local selectors Solar and Conor go back-to-back to open up the night.
Robot Ears presents Oscar Mulero at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday, April 17. $15-$20; monarchsf.com
Oscar Mulero is one of techno's quiet legends — he has been DJing for almost 30 years now, beginning in small goth clubs in Madrid in 1988 and becoming a global fixture in the mid-'90s. He's been producing his own music since 2000, shortly thereafter launching his first record label, Warm Up Recordings, and later started a sister label, Pole Recordings. For most of his career, Mulero has been dedicated to a particular breed of techno that has gone in and out of fashion over the years — hard, heavyweight, no-nonsense loop-based techno, fast and devastating, a sound pioneered by Jeff Mills and then later championed by British producers like Surgeon and Regis. These days, hard-edged techno is back in the spotlight, and Oscar Mulero is, too. He's slowed down the pace a little (gone are the breakneck 140 bpm techno DJ sets of the mid-'90s) but still remains as vital and heavy as ever. Joining him are a handful of locals, including John Kaberna, Loui Vanhard, and Amber Cox.
Surface Tension presents Orphx and Sutures at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, April 17. $15-$20; feightsf.com
After releasing a series of deep, dubwise EPs on stalwart Adam X's record label Sonic Groove beginning in 2009, Orphx quickly became a favorite in underground techno circles, known especially for its mind-bending live sets. However, Orphx has also been a fixture in industrial and experimental music for decades, steadily producing music since 1994. In this way, the duo serves as a link between two closely related music scenes (techno and industrial) that often don't intermingle. When performing live, Orphx distills its music to its essence, joining together the different worlds it occupies, pairing atmospheric passages with throbbing, mesmerizing beats. Opening up for Orphx are Sutures, a bi-coastal duo who makes moody, synth-heavy techno, celebrating its inaugural release on Arizona's psychedelic-electronics tape label Ascetic House. Additionally, the Surface Tension resident DJs (full disclosure: your humble party columnist is one of them) will be playing left-field dance music until the wee hours.