Hot weather in San Francisco is about as rare as snowballs in hell -- cherish this unseasonably warm climate while it lasts. To assist you in your cherishing, we suggest you head out to the following parties sans-jacket (foreign concept, we know). It's just as well, as this week's edition is all about the monolithic and sweat-inducing sound of contemporary purist's techno. Things are about to get heavy. Read on -- your weekend awaits.
DVS1 at Monarch
9 p.m. Friday, May 2. $15-$25
Prince, Michelle Bachman, lakes, and that round accent -- these are the kinds of things that Minnesota tends to connote to an outsider. But dig deeper and there's a whole lot more regional flair to the upper Midwest than stereotypes would have you believe. For example: The metropolitan area that encompasses Saint Paul and Minneapolis is home to a thriving underground techno community. The area's undisputed star is DVS1 (aka Zak Khutoretsky), a veteran Minneapolis DJ and producer whose raw sets and gritty, old-school-informed productions have made him a favorite on the European touring circuit, particularly in Germany, where he's become a regular spinner at Berghain.
Khutoretsky's sound is big. His dance music is constructed as much from aspects of Chicago house as from the minimal, science fiction-y works of Detroit artists like Jeff Mills and Robert Hood. "In Minneapolis, we take influence from everywhere," Khutoretsky explained to Resident Advisor. "In New York, you start to realize how many people are doing what you do. In Chicago, you have this weird underlying pressure to live up to what the city has meant and has become. There's no pressure in Minneapolis. You manipulate all of these influences into your own thing." Yet in synthesizing his influences, Khutoretsky has created something that sounds techno-like in character. It's hypnotic music, designed to put the listener into a trance and carry them to some mental plane far, far away.
Something about this aesthetic clicked with Berghain resident Ben Klock, who first met Khutoretsky after a gig of his own in the Twin Cities. Klock liked what he heard, and later released Klocksworks 05, the first DVS1 EP, on his own Klockworks imprint. That release -- "Running," in particular -- has proven an enduring anthem for modern techno dancefloors, with a paranoia-inducing bass line overlayed with straight-played hi-hats that occasionally stumble into a mess of triplets. It's strikingly minimal, but the way Khutoretsky chooses and arranges his sounds creates a monolithic effect in which everything just hits harder. Subsequent records, like 2010's Love Under Pressure, pushed toward a more openly somber and contemplative direction. "Pressure," the A-side single, is a simple organ riff that repeats to infinity with the precision of an automated assembly line. "Lost Myself", Khutoretsky's latest, conjures similar images of precision and futurity. Expect him to carry that aesthetic into his DJ set when he plays As You Like It this Friday, at Monarch, as a part of the promotional outfit's pre-party celebration for Detroit's Movement Electronic Music Festival.
9:30 p.m. Friday, May 2. $10-$15
In an unfortunate turn of events, Late Nite Tuff Guy will be unable to make it to Isis this weekend. That's hardly a damper on the party though, as Honey Soundsystem's Jackie House will be stepping in to supply the evening's soundtrack. Expect an expert blend of techno and house in the vein of
10 p.m. Friday, May 2. $8-$20
This past year has seen No Way Back move its soundtrack from disco and house into the comparatively bleaker territory of techno and industrial. Its latest guests followed a similar progression: U.K. DJs Timothy J Fairplay and Scott Fraser both produced lighter material in the past, but their latest label venture, Crimes of the Future, is all hard-edged techno.
9 p.m. Saturday, May 3. $6
There's something about dance music from Los Angeles: It's laid-back, sunny, and often feels indebted to the '80s. That might not describe the entirety of the L.A. music scene, but it certainly applies to Chrome Canyon, a Stones Throw-affiliated DJ whose music paints '80s landscapes with Moroder-esque arpeggios and disco basslines. Listen to "Generations."
10 p.m. Saturday, May 3. $12-$15
If this were a tabloid, an appropriate headline might be, "Is Surface Tension the Best Party in San Francisco to Experience Contemporary Techno?" Usually there's no answer, of course, but in this case we'd say yes, probably. This month it welcomes U.K. luminary Perc, who in the past decade has become a figure for totally uncompromising, raw-as-hell underground techno. Check out his Fact mix.