This Sunday, Honey Soundsystem celebrates its ninth year in operation — an eon in the party realm. To date, they’ve managed a five-year run of weekly Sunday night parties that reconnected underground dance music with its queer roots while building an international network of like-minded DJs and artists. In doing so, they became internationally renowned DJs themselves, bringing the Honey sound — a San Francisco-inspired blend of techno, house, and disco — all around the world.
Sunday’s guests are particularly inspired choices, each representing a different facet of the Honey vibe. Leading the pack is Midland, the U.K. producer and DJ whose tunes recontextualize deep house in light of British bass music. Then there’s Erika, one of the co-founders of Detroit’s Interdimensional Transmissions record label, who will be performing a live set of space-age techno and electro. Joining them is Doc Sleep, the former San Franciscan whose DJ sets span genres, sounds, and styles — and whose record label, Jacktone Records, consistently highlights Bay Area artists.
And, in case you needed an extra reason to celebrate, Monday is Columbus Day. Party without penance.
Honey Soundsystem’s Ninth Anniversary featuring Midland, Erika, and Doc Sleep at Public Works, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. $15-$20; publicsf.com
Other worthy parties this week
Other Voices present Paranoid London at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7. $15-$20; monarchsf.com
The original recipe for acid house and acid techno is devastatingly simple: one part Roland TR-808 (percussion); one part Roland TB-303 (the rubbery bassline squelch that became known metonymically as “acid”); and one part disembodied vocal. That recipe has been tweaked endlessly in the three decades since its conception, but nobody does it like Paranoid London. Their music, unabashedly retro and stripped down, nails the elemental grooves that characterized early acid house. Sometimes a beat, a bassline, and a soliloquy are all you need.
Late Night Tonite with M.A.N.D.Y. and Atish at Public Works, 9:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7. $17-$25; publicsf.com
Burning Man is not a music festival, but a certain kind of dreamy, delicately melodic house music — contentiously dubbed “playa tech” — recently became the Burning Man soundtrack writ large, spreading around the globe in the process. San Francisco’s Atish is one of the premier purveyors of this new sound. Late Night Tonite is his own talk show-themed party — complete with interview! — featuring German house DJ extraordinaire Philipp Jung.
DJ Dials and 15Utah present Pomo at The Phoenix Hotel, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. $20; facebook.com/PhoenixHotelSF
As any self-respecting San Franciscan knows, summer begins in late September and ends in early October — which means Sunday’s pool party will likely be the last of the season. The soundtrack comes courtesy of Pomo — whose moniker seems like an unlikely reference to postmodernity — a young, born-on-Soundcloud beatmaker whose slick, sexy blend of fluorescent hip-hop beats and pop music have brought him international success.
Machinedrum and Cherushii at The Independent, 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12. $20; theindependentsf.com
Few electronic musicians out there are as chameleonic as Travis Stewart, better known as Machinedrum. The North Carolina-born, Berlin-based producer has run through a gamut of styles since his first album, Now You Know, came out in 2001 — including cut-up glitchy breakbeats, abstract IDM, jungle, dubstep, footwork, and good ol’ house music. Human Energy, his newest record, sees him delving deep into the kind of maximalist, poppy hip-hop pioneered by Rustie and Hudson Mohawke.
Notable Local Records
Line Cook Music by Odi Me; Jacktone Records
Oakland producer Odi Me’s Line Cook Music is a fascinating exploration of dance music that isn’t particularly about dancing. (Quoth the artist: “Line Cook Music isn’t designed for the club. It’s designed for the restaurant.”) It mines drum ‘n’ bass, industrial techno, and ambient music in equal measure, never doing with them what the listener expects. It seems, in fact, in the midst of an identity crisis — its greatest strength and its greatest weakness.
Line Cook Music‘s first six tracks manage to be both highly percussive and totally weightless at once. The lush, beautiful “6am” sets the stage, pairing a touching synthesizer melody with a swell of bass that soon becomes a bass drum. “Open” and “Call In” flirt with breakbeats, but use them texturally. “Hollow” features an unexpected, brilliantly placed guitar sample. Then comes “Knewiwoulddothis,” a breathtaking work that melds percussive, emotive synths with a disembodied Amen break. Tunes like this come once in a blue moon.
Then comes “Accounting,” a total shift in pace and atmosphere — it’s straight-up techno, bubbling over with corrosive energy. Hereafter, Line Cook Music becomes drum-focused, surfacing the beats that were only teased at earlier.
Less is more here, however. The drums overwhelm the delicate textures of the first half, and I’m lost until “Clocked Out,” a return to subtlety. Nevertheless, Line Cook Music defies expectations at every turn.
Analog Dub Foundation by Nackt; self-released
In many ways, dub music — that is, the mostly instrumental edits and versions of reggae songs awash in echo and reverb — preceded what we now know as “electronic music.” Foundational to dub’s construction, more than bass and drums, is the mixing desk — the studio itself. Here, producers cut and pasted while adding effects, reworking reggae tunes into functional dub versions ripe for DJs.
Nackt, an Oakland-based artist whose debut album came last year on L.A.’s 100% Silk, just released six stripped-down analog hardware jams, appropriately titled Analog Dub Foundation, a tribute to dub’s original spirit and sound.
What makes Analog Dub Foundation so fine is how closely it hews to the sound of actual, proper dub. Dub techno — i.e., club music awash in reverb — this is not; rather, these six tracks are contemplative, languorous, and mystical, like their antecedents.
Mirroring dub’s bare bones nature, these tunes were written with minimal hardware, utilizing a Roland TR-606 for drums and a vintage modular synthesizer. The slippery, adrift tone of the modular is particularly well-suited to this record, lending it an unsettled touch that feels decidedly “analog.”
The icing on the cake is “Acid Sleng,” an acid-drenched version of the classic Sleng Teng riddim. It’s everything you’d hope it to be.