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Swayzak's techno ain't what it used to be, but Matthew Dear is picking up the slack; the Nortec Collective brings beats from Tijuana.

Who knew that Baja California would turn into a noteworthy hotbed of electronic music? Nortec Collective did, that's who. (Well, maybe it's not that surprising, seeing as how throngs of vulgar, underage Southern Californians who fancy Tijuana their private hedonistic nightclub crash the town's doors on the weekends to practice the delicate ceremonial rites of tequila body shots and dance-floor blow jobs.) Over the past five years the Collective -- a rotating cast of DJs that includes Bostich, Fussible, and Plankton Man, among others -- has created a dance-music aesthetic that has helped put the dingy town on the electronica map. Mixing the sounds of red-light district norteño street musicians, lively rhythms, and laptop techno, Nortec Collective's music comes off like breakbeat house played by a Mexican wedding band. Having filled raves in Latin America, Japan, Europe, and the United States for years with their beats, the DJs bring their record bags to the Elbo Room on Friday, Dec. 10; call 552-7788 or visit for more info.
-- Brock Keeling

Fatboy Slim (aka Norman Cook) has been the Lord of the Dance for some time, delivering cheeky and infectious singalong booty-shakers to clubland, as well as to movie and TV soundtracks, for a decade. Recently, though, he's started to chill out. Cook's fourth album, Palookaville, trades the bombast for subtler, yet still catchy, ditties, performed with the help of guests like Blur's Damon Albarn, almighty funkateer Bootsy Collins, and Quannum Projects MC Gift of Gab. Still, our spider sense tells us that Fatboy Slim the DJ won't be giving the dance floor too much of a breather when he comes to town to throw down on Friday, Dec. 10, at Mezzanine; call 625-8880 or visit for more info.
-- Tamara Palmer

If you're a fan of minimal techno, you're familiar with Swayzak 's Snowboarding in Argentina, the 1998 full-length from the London-based duo that blew a breath of 72-degree air into a genre then dominated by the cold sounds of Detroiters like Richie Hawtin and Kevin Saunderson. Swayzak's beats were lithe and sexy; they slurred and purred where those before them clanked and whirred. The group's new release, Loops From Bergerie, is something of a letdown, Swayzak's signature sound sullied by annoying vocals and pop arrangements. But don't worry: The Londoners are bringing Ann Arbor's Matthew Dear on tour with them. Dear currently holds the position that Swayzak did in '98, having grabbed, nay, mercilessly yanked, our attention with Leave Luck to Heaven, his 2003 debut, which fits like a pair of those dirty Diesel jeans -- sleek and filthy -- with its squirts and blurps burbling over surgically slick 4/4 kicks. And with the insta-classic "Dog Days," Dear shows his tourmates how to use vocals to complement the beats, not undermine them. Find out who schools whom when Swayzak and Matthew Dear DJ the Rickshaw Stop on Monday, Dec. 13; call 861-2011 or go to for more info.
-- Garrett Kamps


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