Top Five Parties This Week, Plus Local Record Reviews

Richie Hawtin

As an acid techno legend, digital DJ pioneer, Ibiza superstar, and sake connoisseur/entrepreneur, few artists in electronic music have proven as influential (or as controversial) as Richie Hawtin.

Hawtin's career began in the early '90s in Detroit, during the city's nascent techno scene. His breakout moment came soon after when he began releasing records as Plastikman. Those records — sparse, minimal, punctuated with heavy Roland percussion and carried by little else besides mesmeric TB-303 synthesizer melodies — are still mythical in stature, 20-plus years after the fact, and for good reason: Early-mid period Plastikman is about as good as techno can possibly get.

Later, he (and his record label, Minus) became global ambassadors of minimal techno, and he took up residency in Ibiza, launching his own club night called ENTER. (which doubles as a sake tasting bar, for some reason). Cries of “sell-out” soon followed, but honestly, his success is well- and hard-earned. Here, he brings ENTER. to Public Works, replete with sake and all.

Brouhaha featuring J.Phlip at Brix 581 (Oakland), 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15. $10-$15; facebook.com/BrouhahaSF.

Local producer and DJ J. Phlip has long stood out from the rest of her Dirtybird brethren. For one, she's the only woman in the Dirtybird crew. Secondly, while her own productions often carry that trademark “Dirtybird bounce” (the wobbly, rollicking style of bassline that pervades the label), her DJ sets have lately veered towards acid house and techno. She's headlining the open-format Brouhaha party across the Bay in Oakland, at a tiny, cozy venue, much smaller than her usual.

Church of the Super Serge presents Analog Ladies at Robotspeak, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16. Free; robotspeak.com.

What do you have planned for your Saturday afternoon? Not much? How about seeing a gaggle of talented ladies perform live experimental electronic music on an array of modular synthesizers? If that sounds pleasantly out of the ordinary, head to Robotspeak in the Lower Haight to catch Tania Chen, Amanda Chaudhary, Bleie, Bardo:Basho, and Sarah Thompson evince magic from their machines. And for something a little dancier, Vinyl Dreams next door is hosting an all-female DJ lineup until 9 p.m.

Honey Soundsystem featuring Prosumer and Young Marco at Mighty, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 17. $20; mightysf.club.

A federal holiday on Monday means Honey Soundsystem on Sunday, just like old times. Prosumer — former Panorama Bar resident, lovable bear, and one of the world's best house DJs — makes his triumphant return, although probably without the toga he wore on stage last time he played for Honey. Joining him is Young Marco, a rising selector from Amsterdam known for smooth, sexy, Balearic-flavored beats in a deep house and electro vein. Honey's residents will round out the bill.

Stamina presents Dub Phizix and Strategy at F8, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 17. Free; feightsf.com.

Two crucial names in modern drum & bass make a pitstop at Stamina's weekly party this Sunday — for free. If you have paid any attention to drum & bass over the last decade, you have surely heard “Marka,” the utterly mesmerizing half-step tune produced by Dub Phizix & Skeptical featuring Strategy's rubberized voice, more potent than any synthesizer, intoning on the stench of “Issey Miyake, dark rum, and the marijuana.” The future of d'n'b is right here, and it's potent.

Record Reviews

Nackt, Virex, LP, 100% Silk; available at listentosilk.com.

Nackt is the alias of one Johnny Igaz, an Oakland-based DJ and producer. For those who haven't been paying attention, the Bay Area is experiencing something of a renaissance in homegrown electronic music right now. Electronic music has been part and parcel of the Bay Area musical landscape since electronic music's inception, but within the past five-plus years, there has been an ever-growing new cohort of producers trying their hand at underground house, techno, and related sounds. Nackt stands at the front of the pack.

Virex is, in fact, a collaborative effort; indeed, five of the album's seven tracks were written in conjunction with other local artists. In light of this, the album's cohesive sound becomes all the more remarkable: From start to finish, Virex flows like water. Its eponymous opening track (one of two Nackt solo productions) sets the stage, with rollicking acid house vibes offset by melodic synthesizer pads that flesh it out, giving it emotional character. Simplicity is the name of the game here. Because the album was recorded entirely on hardware, the sound palette is reined in, allowing mood and feeling to become the album's focal points. “Black Widow” is playful and funky; “Husk” is plaintive and introspective; “Trash Brothers” is exultant and celebratory, despite its title. From start to finish, Virex is a joy to listen to, and a shining example of contemporary Bay Area house and techno.

Jackie House, Stydive, single, Honey Soundsystem Records; available at honeysoundsystem.bandcamp.com.

Jackie House is something like Honey Soundsystem Record's patriarch (er, matriarch?) and is certainly the label's most extravagant; it's rare to witness a Jackie House DJ set sans wig, shoulder pads, and mirrored sunglasses. Accordingly, “Stydive” is a big, bold, and brash slice of bassline house, built around an intermittent (and pleasurably unintelligible) vocal sample. It sounds, in fact, not unlike what Jackie House looks like. On the flip, Matrixxman kicks up the tempo and reworks “Stydive” into a jacking techno cut.

Bézier, Mina, EP, Honey Soundsystem Records; available at honeysoundsystem.bandcamp.com.

Bézier's release, transliterated as Mina, is simply one of the most sublime releases of 2015. Bézier has slowly but surely honed his own idiosyncratic sound, retro-inspired but not retro-derived. On “Mina,” he displays a newfound confidence, a synthesis of past influences that moves beyond his previous work. The title track certainly works fantastically on the dancefloor, but — courtesy of its grandiose, emotional, even epic overtones — works just as well for at-home listening. Ending as it does at eight-ish minutes, I'm immediately ready for eight more. Two other tracks, previously released on cassette, offer additional moods: “Serengeti Drive” and “Mysteries of the Deep,” both beautifully lurid cyberpunk slow-burners, sounding like the never-before-heard soundtrack to the NES game of your forgotten dreams.

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