If you're going to go out, go out on a high note. After five years of throwing parties and two years of putting out records by Bay Area electronic musicians, Icee Hot is calling it quits. To celebrate the occasion, organizers are throwing a party quite unlike anything the Bay Area has ever seen before — a 28-hour nonstop affair that is, by rights, more accurately a miniaturized music festival than a mere “party.”
The man headlining this whole thing is one of techno music's founding fathers: Robert Hood, one of the original members of Detroit's Underground Resistance record label and artist collective (alongside Jeff Mills and Mike Banks). Describing Hood's contributions to techno and electronic music in general is impossible in such a small space, but suffice it to say that, over a career spanning some 25 years, he has never been more well-regarded than in the present moment. Hood's minimal, hard-driving, melodic, and deeply spiritual techno has been all over club dancefloors for the past couple of years, driven by his anthemic “Never Grow Old,” in which an insistent synth melody chimes on over a sample of Aretha Franklin's crystalline, searing voice. It's an electric tune, encapsulating all of the transcendental power of techno in a single eight-minute piece. When Hood plays it — and he almost assuredly will — be warned, because the roof of Public Works might just come down.
Co-headlining is Andy Stott, a Brit who has been quietly producing some of the world's most innovative electronic music for the past decade or so. He turned heads with We Stay Together/Passed Me By, a sludgy, moody double EP, but his 2012 album, Luxury Problems, launched him to international stardom. It's a masterpiece, leavening the darkness of the EPs with warmer melodies, female vocals, and the occasional breakbeat. His just-released album, Faith In Strangers, is more obviously rooted in the house-techno continuum but is no less experimental. He's a superb live performer, presenting new tracks alongside reworked older ones with an eye on the dancefloor.
He's joined by an array of superb DJs, one of whom (Kowton) will be making his debut San Francisco appearance. Gerd Janson leads the pack; as head of one of the world's best and most diverse record labels (Running Back), his taste knows no bounds. Kowton is one of England's most mind-bending producers, channeling the raw, gritty spirit of dubstep and grime into a techno paradigm. There's a whole parade of New Yorkers: Joey Anderson, one of the city's finest deep house practitioners; Anthony Parasole, who produces and DJs no-holds-barred techno; Galcher Lustwerk, a dubbed-out deep house producer with a mesmerizing voice; Young Male, who produces “working-man's techno,” simple, heavy and melodic; and Contakt, resident DJ at NYC monthly party Turbotax. Up-and-coming Canadians Pender Street Steppers and Hashman Deejay will be deploying their woozy, new-age house and disco, and similarly-minded compatriot Maxmillion Dunbar, from D.C., will join them. Last but not least are Bostonians John Barera and Will Martin, two new producers making a splash with their sample-heavy deep house, who will be performing live.
Then there are the locals: Icee Hot residents DJ Will, Shawn Reynaldo, Low Limit and Ghosts on Tape are joined by Honey Soundsystem's Jason Kendig and Jackie House, and Matrixxman & Vin Sol will be making an appearance as well. Set times will be announced shortly before the party begins on Saturday so partygoers can plan accordingly. Stay hydrated, stay caffeinated, and stay till the bitter end. Goodbye, Icee Hot.
Other worthy parties this week
120 Minutes presents Brenmar and Sasha Go Hard at Elbo Room, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Jan. 23. $15; elbo.com
For the uninitiated, Brenmar creates hip-hop for the internet generation: fast, bass-heavy, and filled with snare rolls. Many of his most popular tunes are remixes or edits of R&B songs, but whereas mainstream hip-hop and R&B seem increasingly designed to conquer the pop charts, Brenmar's productions are aimed squarely at the club, designed for the dancefloor. Joining him are vocalist Sasha Go Hard and 120 Minutes' resident DJs, ChaunceyCC and S4nta_Mu3rte, who'll be spinning tunes at the intersection of rap and goth — yes, that's a thing — all night.
FACE and Public Works presents Psychemagik, Eric Duncan and Eug at Public Works, 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 23. $13-$20; publicsf.com
Psychemagik is a British duo known for its disco and psychedelic edits — it first made waves with a series of Fleetwood Mac edits, retooled into cosmic disco cuts for the dancefloor. As selectors, they go for all things cosmic: disco, Krautrock, deep house, anything melodic and spaced out. Eric Duncan, aka Dr. Dunks, is a veteran New York DJ, famed for his Rub 'n Tug afterhours disco parties in Manhattan and is part of the DFA Records family to boot; expect a DJ set of indie-flavored nu-disco from the past couple decades. FACE resident Eug opens up the night.
Mighty presents Tony Humphries with David Harness and Tyrel Williams at Mighty, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday, Jan. 23. $10-$20; mighty119.com
Old-school house legend Tony Humphries makes a rare appearance at Mighty this weekend. Humphries came up in the clubs of Manhattan and New Jersey in the early '80s, earning residencies at a number of early mega-clubs and making a name for himself with steady remix work. He's still at it today, spinning soulful, vintage house music, with a heavy dose of disco for good measure. He's joined by David Harness and Tyrel Williams, two local selectors with probably the finest collections of old-school house music in the Bay Area.
Direct To Earth Family Night at F8, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday, Jan. 23. Free with Facebook RSVP, $5 without; feightsf.com
Direct To Earth has been hosting techno events in the Bay Area for several years now, bringing out harder-edged European producers and DJs to our fine city. There's no guest this time around, just the residents: Max Gardner, Brian Knarfield, Bob 5, Patrick Gil, and Trev Campbell, along with Robot Ears' resident DJ John Kaberna. They're throwing a free-ish party (RSVP on the Facebook event page for free entry) to celebrate and grow their techno family — if you like your techno tough and rugged, this is an excellent way to be introduced to the Direct To Earth sound and vibe.