Mighty is dead — sort of. The storied Design District club is shuttering for renovations and will reopen later in the year under new ownership and a new name. To celebrate its final evening in this iteration, As You Like It, Modular, and Mighty are coming together to throw a blowout of massive proportions.
Headlining the whole affair is Robag Wruhme, a clumsily-named German producer and DJ and one-half of the duo Wighnomy Brothers. Robag is a dancefloor chameleon who's produced warehouse techno, deep house, heavy breakbeats, smooth tech-house, and more over a 20-year career. He's also a fantastic DJ whose selections range as widely as his own productions. He's got something for everyone, and he brings the party no matter what.
Joining him is Kolombo, a Belgian artist with a poppier, punchier sensibility. He'll provide a lighter touch to balance out Wruhme's left-field picks. Chicago's Sassmouth and an array of locals, including Solar, round out the celebrations.
Update (July 28, 2016): Robag Wruhme has canceled his entire U.S. tour for health-related reasons. In his place, Darshan Jesrani (Metro Area) will be performing.
Other worthy parties this week
Parameter and Surface Tension present Lucy at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, July 29. $20; feightsf.com
(Full disclosure: Your humble party columnist is one of this party's co-hosts.) Lucy is an Italian techno producer and DJ best known for his record label, Stroboscopic Artefacts, an uncompromising operation responsible for some of the finest experimental techno of the past decade. Stroboscopic's calling card — and Lucy's, too — is deep, dark industrial techno and club music for a dystopian future that accurately mirrors our hellish present. He's on deck for an extended four-hour set Friday night.
4 Play featuring Jasmine Infiniti, Jordee Akerley, and Siobhan Aluvalot at El Rio, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, July 30. $5 after 3 p.m.; elriosf.com
Is there any patio in San Francisco finer than El Rio's? (The answer: Nope!) 4 Play is a one-off shindig featuring some of the Bay Area's finest queer DJs, a warm-up to celebrate Dore Alley (itself a warm-up to the much larger Folsom Street Fair). Jasmine Infiniti, Jordee Akerley, and Siobhan Aluvalot will all play different shades of daytime-appropriate underground house and techno.
The Detroiter featuring Matthew Dear, Shigeto, Lusine, and more at Heron Arts, 4 p.m.-midnight Saturday, July 30. $35; heronarts.com
The Detroiter is an eight-hour block party celebrating all things Detroit, featuring a slew of visual artists from the Motor City plus a wide-ranging musical showcase produced by Ghostly International. Matthew Dear is a Ghostly co-founder, a minimal techno producer, a synthpop bandleader, and DJ extraordinaire; Shigeto produces playful, multi-instrumental hip-hop; and Lusine makes gorgeous, spectral, melodic techno-pop. Beyond the art and tunes there will be an assortment of food trucks and a full bar. Come hungry, thirsty, and ready to dance.
Lights Down Low featuring Jackmaster at Monarch, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, July 30. $20; monarchsf.com
Some DJs make their name by playing great music. Some DJs make their name with an outsize party personality. The rarest — and, oftentimes, the best — DJs put these two pieces together, and Scottish madman Jackmaster is one such DJ. Jackmaster built his global career on DJing alone and, in fact, has never produced a single track. In other words, he doesn't just bring the party — he is the party. Witness him in action.
Notable Local Records
Indigo by Bryan Gibbs; Zettabyte Records
It's no secret that audio engineers often lead double lives as techno producers. Skills from Column A translate very well into Column B. Bryan Gibbs is a skilled Bay Area audio engineer, a foundational former member of local synthpop act Inhalt, and now, with Indigo, a techno producer.
Indigo is a single, featuring an eponymous track with a remix courtesy of fellow local producer David Last. The title track is an eight-minute long techno joint aimed squarely at DJs. Its primary focal point is a tight, rubbery bassline that slinks its way throughout the entire track. There's a few melodic synthesizer elements that creep in throughout, but they don't grab my attention like the bassline does. It's a solid listen, but the melodic elements seem to muddle up the bassline groove somewhat.
Remixes, more often than not, tend to be forgettable, mere restatements of their source material. Last's remix is anything but: He uses the original's source elements, including the melodic synth that I found cloudy in the original tune in a new way, cutting it up and fragmenting it. He retools the bassline, too, swapping out the viscous liquidity of the original for a sparser, more minimal concern. The result clearly contains the original's DNA, but feels like a different beast altogether. Minimal techno DJs take note: Indigo will likely appeal to you.
Taste of India by Beast Nest; Ratskin Records
The evocatively named Beast Nest is the solo project of Sharmi Basu, an East Bay musician and performer with roots in the local DIY experimental music community. Taste of India is her newest endeavour, a 40-minute long album released on cassette, split on two sides. It's a beautiful, visionary listen, one of the finest ambient albums I've heard this year.
Side A, titled “Tired AF / Pluto,” opens gently, with quiet, placid modular synthesizer squiggles gently giving way to a coruscating melody. Eventually, a warm, soothing tone slinks out of the background, warbling throughout the composition's 18-minute runtime, serving as its backbone. Warning: Chances are high that you'll be lulled into a trance.
Side B, “Ganga,” builds on Side A's motifs, and is a bit more active, but only slightly so. It seamlessly blends into Side A, opening with its healing, calming tone. Chimes eventually make their way into the mix, but its foundation is the same squiggly, chirping synth and gentle background tones.
Blink and you'll miss it. Over the course of multiple listens, the album's 40-minute runtime passed by with barely any notice. For me personally, that's about as fine a listening experience as I could ask for. Next time you have trouble sleeping, give this album a listen. You'll have magnificent dreams.
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