Prep the tequila, Coronas, and kitschy Mexican apparel -- this Sunday is Cinco De Mayo! Unfortunately, it's a little awkwardly placed this year, so we imagine a lot of you will be "enjoying your beverages responsibly" during the middle of the day. Should that be the case, we recommend you keep this guy's number handy, you may need it. Not all of this week's parties are Cinco De Mayo-themed (in fact, none of our picks are, as far as we know), but that's okay considering how good this week's parties are shaping up to be. Whether you like it wild or moody, we've got you covered. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
Friday, May 3. 10 p.m. $10-$20
When it comes to murky dub-techno, Berlin and Detroit tend to dominate, given their respective powerhouse labels Basic Channel and Deepchord. But there are interesting contributions from outside those two cities. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has a rich history of club culture, but tends to fly under the radar when it comes to the world stage. One major exception, however, is the region's Gerard Hanson, aka Convextion and E.R.P. Though he's released only a handful of records in the past 20 years, Hanson remains a celebrated figure in the world of purist's techno.
Some of his appeal lies in an unconventional approach to the music, which is incredibly deep -- almost atmospheric -- while also geared towards the dancefloor. His early works in the mid-'90s, such as singles "Convextion" and "Convextion 2," both showed the influence of Basic Channel's heavy ambience, but quickly diverged towards something edgier and more indebted to the cacophonous assault of breakbeat electro. In his world, waves of moody gray synthesizer move like glaciers across fractured grids of melody and rhythm. His works often last in excess of 10 minutes, relying on length to develop weird landscapes as expansive as the Texas sky.
In one of the only interviews he's ever granted, he told the music blog Subsekt that his style comes from being fascinated by science fiction imagery as a child. "I used to study those images for hours, and I would imagine my own ships, worlds, and machines," he says, "But I could never express them visually. So now I try to do that with sounds."
That spaciousness comes out in just about everything Hanson does, but recently it's taken on a more alien edge. His excellent 2006 debut LP Convextion delivered some of the most enduring techno tracks of the past 10 years. The song "Solum Ferrum" is a masterpiece that builds itself up via crests of sinister intensity fashioned from jangling machine percussion and bursts of white noise. That tune, like many others (such as "Miranda"), is pure pleasure on a techno dancefloor, and one of several reasons why his live-with-hardware set at Acid Test this Friday should be very exciting.
Thursday, May 2. 9:30 p.m. $10-$15
The years since the collapse of UK dubstep have seen the rise of a new crop of producers dedicated to applying its razor-sharp aesthetic to a variety of different styles and genres. David Kennedy is one such practitioner, and his releases as Pearson Sound (as well as Ramadanman and Maurice Donovan) chart a new course through grimy UK garage, uptempo Chicago house, and bit-crushed techno, as well as what remains of dubstep itself. His DJ sets explore much of the same, as evinced by FabricLive.56, his entry into the London superclub's venerated mix series. Get a feel for his futuristic excursions by listening to the mind-warping "Quivver."
Friday, May 3. 10 p.m. $8-$20
The monopoly of the DJ in club culture may be drawing to a close. Recent years have seen the rise of live performances from producers who transport their hardware-heavy bedroom setups to the dancefloors of the world. This month, No Way Back honors this trend with headliner Daniel Maloso, a Barcelona-based purveyor of outsider house whose militant sound (check out "Discoteca Cavernícola" recalls the danceable electronic body music of industrial acts like Nitzer Ebb. Support comes from Hieroglyphic Being, the enigmatic old-school Chicagoan who trades in brutal rhythm tracks and bizarre ambient excursions such as "Shikaakwa" and the classic "Machines For Lovers."
Saturday, May 4. 10 p.m. $10-15.
The tail end of the aughts saw the emergence of a new and dark kind of electronic dance music. It was called "witch house" or "drag," and it was born at the improbable intersection of codeine-laced Southern rap, spaced-out shoegaze, and schizophrenic Tumblr culture. Local producer Chris Dexter Greenspan (aka oOoOO) is one of the style's most celebrated practitioners, with a ghostly take that's recently moved in a more melodic and poppy direction. His set at Future Perfect comes in anticipation of Without Your Love, his soon-to-drop LP debut. Listen to "Stay Here ft. ML" and prepare yourself as he'll be performing the whole album live.
Sunday, May 5. 5 p.m. $50-$55
Long-running rave crew Sunset will bid San Francisco "anchors aweigh" as it once again sets sail for a Sunday spent dancing on the San Francisco Bay. This time around the party brings The Oliverwho Factory, a Detroit duo who, for the past 10 years, have honed a sound that adds a touch of jazz-inspired house to a bedrock of gruff techno (check out "Galactic Transit"). And, as if a full day of this wasn't enough, things will continue later with an after-party at Monarch that should help straighten out those sea legs for what will inevitably be a very hungover Monday.