You may have missed this, but Call Super's Suzi Ecto was the best album of 2014. Released just over a year ago on the tightly curated record label Houndstooth (owned by London mega-club fabric and managed by Internet radio mastermind Rob Booth), Suzi Ecto is a masterpiece, the rare record that really pushes the limits of what electronic music can be. It updates the dreamy, moody sounds of mid-'90s Warp Records-style IDM for the modern era, pairing them with trippy, psychedelic vibes that make the whole thing sound a little bit like what might have happened if The Beach Boys had owned a bunch of synthesizers. And unlike many techno records, this one feels like a proper journey — it's an album in every sense of the word. But that's not why you should go see Call Super this Friday. You should go see Call Super because he's a fantastic DJ.
In fact, Call Super is that rare breed of electronic music producer that is just as good at DJing as he is at making music. He's only been at it for a couple of years — his first record came out in 2011, and DJ gigs came soon after — but raised as he was in London, one of the world's capitals for forward-thinking electronic music, the good stuff has seeped into his bones. Techno, deep house, and electro make up the bulk of his selections, but all the tunes he plays are just a little bit left of center, the kind of records that please the brain as much as they please the body. But make no mistake — Call Super isn't playing for the chin-scratchers. He knows how to work the dancefloor.
So does everyone else on this bill, too. Opener Cherushii is one of the Bay Area's finest producers and best live performers — she produces deliriously fun, neon-tinted house music that harks back to the rave era of the '90s while managing to feel fresh and exciting. Jeremy Castillo is an up-and-comer, part of the Club Lonely crew, the “safe place to play house” that goes off at Club OMG once a month. In the back room, San Francisco stalwart Conor will share DJ duties with Outpost resident Woo, bringing deeper, dubby vibes.
Other worthy parties this week
Passage featuring Carlos Souffront, Mozhgan, Topazu and Nihar Bhatt at F8, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5. $5; feightsf.com
Passage is a new, irregularly occurring Thursday night party that highlights homegrown talent, focusing on DJs who pair moody, psychedelic tunes with dancefloor burners. Carlos Souffront leads the pack; the Detroit transplant has been DJing for decades, building up an unmatched collection of acid techno and house, which he often pairs with punky, synth-heavy industrial records. Mozhgan, part of the We Are Monsters crew, has been at it for several years now, and her DJ style, mixing cosmic disco, electro, and EBM in equal measure, stands alone in this city. Topazu helms her own show on Radio Valencia, Infinite Beat, while Nihar Bhatt explores the bleeding edge of techno as part of Surface Tension (disclaimer: I work with him on this project). While local DJs often take a backseat in this column, this party is an excellent way to explore some of the endless reserves of talent in this city.
IN•SIGHT presents Barnt at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7. $10-$15; monarchsf.com
If there's one thing that underground techno and pop music have in common, it's that a single track (or song) can make your career. In this case it was two: Barnt's “Chappell” and his remix of C.P.I.'s “Proceso.” Together, these two tracks ruled clubs around the world in 2014, and for good reason: “Chappell” is everything techno could and should be. It is at once elegant in its minimalism while also possessing the intensity of a thousand jackhammers run amok outside your window. The “Proceso” remix, meanwhile, is psychedelic and groovy, built around a veritable orchestra of handclaps. Barnt had only released a handful of records prior to these, each one treasured among the DJ set, but ever since he's had the world's attention. This marks his San Francisco debut, playing an extended set of the trippy, melodic Cologne-school techno he's known for. On warm-up duty is Mozhgan, praised previously.
Push The Feeling featuring Mike Bee and Loren Steele at Underground SF, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7. Free before 10 p.m. with RSVP, $5 after; undergroundsf.com
Push The Feeling has been doing its thing at Underground SF for several years now, featuring a surprisingly diverse list of guests that cuts across a lot of genre delineations. “Indie dance” is its main thrust, but it has also featured a number of straightforward techno and house producers, and a bevy of locals — like in this iteration here. Mike Bee is a fixture of the Bay Area electronic music scene: A long-time electronic music buyer for Amoeba Music, he now owns his own record shop (Vinyl Dreams, across the street from Underground SF), and he is, of course, a veteran DJ. He's got range, as most proper DJs do (he released treasured drum & bass mixtapes in the '90s), but these days he focuses on a Balearic spacey disco sound. Loren Steele, a local newcomer to the scene, will perform an all-hardware live set of cozy, hook-focused house music.