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Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Top Five Parties in San Francisco This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

  • Sf Weekly
This St. Patrick's Day weekend, we encourage you to drink responsibly and practice moderation in the greenness of your attire. Actually, we recommend you ditch the green Mardi Gras beads altogether; there's much better things to do in the next few days than black out on Guinness and Jameson. This week's preview has everything you need to avoid the crowds, with such idiosyncratic choices as South African minimal techno, Richmond district R&B, and ultra-futuristic techno. Read on -- your weekend awaits.

Honey Soundsystem with Portable at F8

9 p.m. Saturday, March 15. $10-$15

Communication has always been the driving force behind the evolution of electronic dance music. In the '80s, Detroit techno and Chicago house -- the starting points for much of contemporary club music -- were born from a complex exchange between black American disco, European synth-pop, and Japanese drum machines. Since then, similar cultural meetings have taken place, each time resulting in new splinters and subgenres. The present moment, with its extreme Internet bandwidth and ease of air travel, has intensified this process, bringing the conversation to areas that previously lacked a global voice. One product of this is Alan Abrahams (aka Portable and Bodycode), a South African-born producer whose musical career has been guided by cultural exchange.

Though he's lived in Europe for the past decade (he currently resides in Lisbon), Abrahams grew up in Cape Town. There he went to parties and developed an affinity for the now-canonical sounds of Chicago's early period, like Mr. Fingers and Master C&J. But his music does not reflect this fascination alone. "I feel that house music, especially in the beginning, and traditional African music, are really one and the same, the starting point is the same," he explained in an interview with Electronic Beats. "My ideal is that my music might be regarded as a document of contemporary Afro-European music and culture."

This ideal has been with him since his first work, Patterns and Signals. It emerged in 2001, at a time when German-style minimal techno, with its clean sound design and extreme attention to acoustic space, was the dominant force in global electronic dance music. Abrahams used this framework, but connected it with a sensibility rooted in both the ruggedness of early house and the indigenous sounds of Africa, incorporating loose, polyrhythmic tribal drumming, and raspy flute melodies. Later, he went one step further and began singing over his tracks, often incorporating lyrical content that refers back to Africa, like "Life Magically Is" (which quotes "To An English Friend in Africa," a poem by Nigerian poet Ben Okri). His recent music has continued in this direction while introducing sounds that recall the contemporary retro house revival as well as his current hometown in Portugal. Listen to him evoke the ongoing cultural dialogue this Saturday, when he performs live at F8 for Honey Soundsystem's latest late-night rager. Check out his Boiler Room performance.

As You Like It with Martyn, Midland, and Paul Woolford at Mighty

9 p.m. Friday, March 14. $15-$20

As You Like It has been on quite a roll lately, and it's showing no signs of stopping. This month it's headed to Mighty for an evening of dubstep-influenced techno. The headliner is Martyn, a Dutch DJ whose 3024 label has long been known for its nuanced approach to big-room dance music. Check out his Little White Earbuds podcast. Support comes by way of U.K. house-via-bass DJ Midland. Listen to his track "Checkbob." Paul Woolford was originally scheduled to play this party, but will not be able to make it due to visa issues.

Pulse Generator featuring Jonah Sharp at Underground SF

10 p.m. Friday, March 14. Free

There's a new sound system at Underground SF, and a whole bunch of parties are taking advantage of it. One of them is Pulse Generator, a free monthly avant-house and techno event that recently rebooted at the Lower Haight nightclub. This month the guest is Jonah Sharp, a longtime S.F. resident whose works -- under his own name and his alias Spacetime Continuum -- are both trippy and ambient in the best way possible. Check out his "The Ambient Book Club Mix."

The Get Down with DJ Yusai at Abbey Tavern

9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15. Free

Most San Franciscans associate the Richmond District with foggy gloom and residential sleepiness -- but they're only partly correct, as the Avenues also harbor a developing and unpretentious nightlife scene. One example is the Get Down, a free party that specializes in hip-hop and soul classics. This month's edition features the jazzy boom-bap of DJ Yusai, the head of the Bay Area's Mellow Orange label. Listen to this mix for a preview of his style.

Isis with Tom Trago at Public Works

9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15. $10-$15

Tom Trago is a Dutch DJ whose sound is representative of Amsterdam's long love affair with the earthy and soulful house sounds of New York and Chicago. His biggest hit was 2010's "Use Me Again (And Again)," a monstrous disco-sampling cut with soaring strings and funky bass lines reminiscent of Daft Punk's Discovery. His recent work has gone deeper, but it's still just as fun. Watch his Boiler Room performance from last year's ADE festival.

-- @derekopperman

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Derek Opperman


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