Despite being active for a long time, Barcelona's mysterious producer John Talabot has been releasing records for only about six years. Under which name, specifically, he won't say. That's his way of encouraging people to focus on his music as Talabot. That's a task which has proved no challenge at all: Talabot is the rare producer who has managed to effortlessly capture the hearts of the electronic music underground while simultaneously reaching across the aisle, receiving critical acclaim from indie-rock and pop gatekeepers like Pitchfork.
Listening to Talabot's music, it's easy to hear why. Underpinning his productions are thick, powerful, dynamic basslines, the kind that share genetics with New York deep house and Dixon's Innervisions camp. On top Talabot lays down samples from funk, disco, and flamenco records — in itself not an innovative tactic, but in Talabot's hands they become something outside of the norm. Rather than sampling hooks, Talabot goes for snippets of percussion and vocals, looping and overdriving them, which make his productions feel distinct from the usual crop of “nu-disco” producers, who tend to mimic the records they sample rather than use them to create something new.
He's joined by Pional, a fellow Spaniard who releases mainly on Talabot's label, Hivern Discs. Like Talabot, Pional's tunes have a deep house foundation, but where Talabot skews languid and slow, Pional skews upbeat and romantic. Finally, the Icee Hot DJ crew (DJ Will, Ghosts on Tape, and Shawn Reynaldo) will be on DJ support throughout the evening, warming up the room.
Other worthy parties this week
UnReaL presents Aether with Abandoned Footwear, Lauren Bousfield, and more at SF Eagle, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, April 9. $8; sf-eagle.com
One of San Francisco's longest-running and most storied gay bars, The Eagle, hosts a weekly Thursday night event for live bands of all kinds and persuasions — genre restrictions be damned. This week they're playing host to Oakland's Abandoned Footwear, a duo affiliated with the long-running East Bay electronic music collective Katabatik, who craft analog acid techno and electro, all performed live. Their shifting live sets go from rippling, psychedelic textures to tightly programmed beats and back again. Joining them is L.A.'s Lauren Bousfield, who creates what might best be described as highly dissonant, experimental pop music. Using sounds, patterns, and palettes borrowed from chiptunes, breakcore, and other kinds of post-rave detritus, she creates short, catchy twisted-pop ditties, anchored by her cut-up vocals. On the DJ tip, Nihar Bhatt (of post-techno crew Surface Tension) and Tom Ass (who runs the industrial leather party Device) will be playing dark techno and wave beats all night.
Face & Honey Soundsystem presents Daniele Baldelli at Mighty, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, April 10. $20; mighty119.com
For the first time, one of disco's most influential legends comes to San Francisco. Face, the disco-centric party known for regularly bringing DJ Harvey to San Francisco, teams up with Honey Soundsystem, the city's most forward-thinking queer party, to bring out Daniele Baldelli, the father of cosmic disco. Although “cosmic disco” is so-called because of Cosmic Club, the legendary Italian club where Baldelli was resident DJ, it accurately describes the sound of his DJ sets, too — soaring, psychedelic, and space-age, Baldelli commonly paired Afrobeat records with shimmering synthesizer records, perhaps with an added drum machine keeping time on top. He would often slow records down, playing 45s at 33, keeping the pace somewhere around 100 bpm, adding to the surreal, tripped-out sound of his DJ sets. Supporting Baldelli are Eug, Face resident DJ, who has an enormous collection of both modern and vintage disco, and the Honey Soundsystem resident disco queens (Josh Cheon, Jackie House, Jason Kendig, and Robot Hustle).
As You Like It presents Tale of Us with The Bunker Showcase featuring Neel and Bryan Kasenic at Public Works, 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, April 10. $25; publicsf.com
In 2009, a pair of Italian expatriates (one of whom is Canadian by birth, the other from New York) moved from Milan to Berlin to pursue their dream of producing electronic music. In 2011, they released their first record as Tale of Us on Ryan Crosson's Visionquest label. Within four short years, they achieved meteoric success, conquering the globe with their emotional, heartfelt take on tech-house. Their appeal lies in being accessible without sacrificing complexity; Tale of Us is easy to love, but not saccharine. For those looking for something rougher around the edges, New York deep-space techno institution The Bunker sets up shop in the Loft upstairs, featuring headlining sets from head honcho Bryan Kasenic alongside Italian atmospheric techno wizard Neel, known as half of renowned duo Voices from the Lake. They're joined by As You Like It resident Christina Chatfield, a San Francisco local who produces beautifully searing acid techno, performed live, that's as pleasing to the ear as it is to the feet.
Lights Down Low presents Erol Alkan All Night Long at Monarch, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, April 11. $25; monarchsf.com
London-based producer and DJ Erol Alkan occupies a singular niche in British electronic music, well-known for having his foot in almost every part of the scene. His first claim to fame was during the early-mid 2000s, as electroclash took root around the world; that subgenre's mashup of traditional electro sounds with brash indie-pop vocals exposed a whole new generation of listeners to electronic music. These days, he's known for exposing the world to the brilliant crossover sounds of Daniel Avery via his record label, Phantasy, and has broadened his DJ chops, incorporating acid techno and deep house into his repertoire. Alkan hasn't dropped his pop sensibilities, though, and that's what makes him such a successful DJ: He is all-inclusive, as easy for someone totally new to electronic music to enjoy as he is for seasoned heads. He's playing an all-night set for Lights Down Low, from open to close, so expect a proper journey through genres and sounds alike.