Archives For ghostly international

It was my first time at the Whiskey Disco the night of Thursday, September 25th, 2014. I took the discreet side entrance off John R, downstairs, beneath a new bar on Woodward called the Cornerstone Barrel House. It had been a year (give or take) since I had been in the basement of the former Oslo, a sushi restaurant and popular Detroit electronic music venue which had met a gritty end and closed permanently in November, 2011. Familiar feelings came to me suddenly – those memories, emotions and sensations of dancing in a chill, underground, dark and acoustically superb setting. I was struck by a feeling of surreal-ity: I was entering this place that appeared the same as how I’d seen it last, though I knew it had changed. And I, seemingly the same as I had been, was there as a changed person.

“We are not the same person this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.” – W. Somerset Maugham

It’s hard to imagine how different we become over time – we change so slowly and our changing is slight. We experience life on a small scale. Those slight variations in character and being are nearly invisible. One may never notice the difference between the past and present self… until one night in an old place with a new name, with old friends and a new brain. That Thursday night at the Whiskey Disco, I was surrounded by those friends (and plenty of strangers) and the sound that brought us there. We were gradually changing people in a gradually changing place.

I did a B-line to the small stage in the back corner of the venue, sandwiched by tall stacks of speakers. Resident artist, DJ Form, was on deck spinning heavy trip-hop, beats and breaks. My craving for quality electronic was immediately soothed as I made my space on the dance floor. I hadn’t been on many since Movement, perhaps just one or two. I missed the all-encompassing rhythm and bass of electronic music, rattling my body, pushing my heart to pound faster, pulling me blindly into a dance trance. I was a rippling surface absorbed by the porous speakers in that room.

Soon other energies gathered and began to flow and disperse in the pool of sound around me. This liquid broth of vibe and pleasure and laughter, swelling and shaking into droplets and circles over the floor and walls of this place we could feel was still alive with the same feelings we had left in it. We were supported by that place. Loud and low music supported by speakers and wires, sound equipment fed by a needle vibrating over grooves in a record, fingers nudging one track into the next. This supported by soul, by passion for the music that makes one hungry to hear it again – a desire supported by energy, vibe, smiles, dancing and booze. All this cyclic, supported by one another, like an arch, curves pressed inward and holding tall pillars against a solid keystone of sound.

I went to the Whiskey Disco to support my friends, Jyarsch and Teej, former members and founders (2/3) of Comfort Food. The two have this insatiable, uncontainable need to share the music they love with the people they love and they do so by throwing shows at the Whiskey Disco. I went to the show that night to support my friends and the quality music they brought: DJ Form, SuperDre, and the talented producer, Michna. Though as soon as I was overcome by the music and the atmosphere, I realized that what I wanted most was the support it gave me. Each friendly social reunion reminds me that we, as changed people, still love a particular kind of music. And that music will always be there for us – whether it’s in a venue or in our headphones, we always have that foundation to stand on.

DJ Form handed the reins to SuperDre, a former Grand Rapids icon turned Detroiter. I’ve admired this woman for years. I first met her while working with the Wub Tribe in GR, late 2009. Months later, I grabbed a copy of Revue when her picture on the cover caught my eye – big curly hair and a fist raised high in her Superwoman costume. She’s been all over the map, playing countless shows and festivals throughout Michigan. Early this year, I began to notice her unmistakable face around the city of Detroit. At the Whiskey Disco, I saw that face fixed and lit by a laptop in the back corner of the venue, bass-infused minimal breaking the air between us.

Check out SuperDre’s mix “Detroitosphere” on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/superdre/sets/superdre-detroitosphere-ep

On the dance floor, bodies, rocking and bouncing to deep house beats, leaked a liquid energy. In that pool of energy, like little waves lapping at the shore, I danced against my boyfriend’s side. Our hips locked against and supporting one another, least we fall to the floor together. Movement ebbed and flowed from me to mine, from note to body, shifting – this shifting, an act of change, yet held upright we remained. The spell was broken when SuperDre turned our ears over to the headliner, Michna. Much to my surprise, Michna, who I’ve known for mostly playing electronic hip-hop, pulled out the booty. This was the club DJ from NYC I had never seen nor heard before. You’d probably recognize this one:

Michna “Swiss Glide”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ss2mPH2Cw

The Ghostly International producer’s latest release, an EP called “Moving Mountains,” is a sort of dark instrumental hip hop meets happy house-y jam. The word “futuristic” has been used accurately to describe it (http://www.ghostly.com/releases/moving-mountains), though I’d make the argument that most electronic music sounds “futuristic”. I believe the impression that Ghostly is trying to make with that message can be taken in the form of an image (also a web reference): “soundtracking a ride through a city in some distant unknowable future”.

The show ended around two, though I didn’t want it to. My friends and I collected our senses and left our good-byes, leisurely returning to our personal realities. Riding through dark city streets towards some distant unknowable future, I felt, for once, that I would always have the ground beneath my feet.  That one night at the Whiskey Disco, I was reminded that one thing would never change: the human urge to hold on tight to whatever feels right.

lanewayfestivaldetroitI’m no indie music fan, but I must admit I’m a little geeked about St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival coming to Metro-Detroit this Saturday, September 14th. I’ll spare you the impressive history of this Australian-born, worldwide festival, but suffice it too say the organizers were cool enough to choose the Detroit area for the festival’s first year in North American.

At its heart Laneway is kind of an indie pop music festival of up-and-coming acts that may shed light on the trajectory of global popular music over the next few years. So what the hell does this have to do with Detroit Techno House? Well I should mention there’s an entire stage curated by Movement Electronic Music Festival / Ghostly International featuring Matthew Dear, Shigeto and several other must-see Ghostly artists. It’s nice to see Ghostly repping hard at this event. And you already know how we feel about the Movement festival. Being an artist from the Detroit area myself, however, I’m curious to see performances by young, foreign, electro-pop groups such as CHVRCHES, AlunaGeorge and the like. They may be great, they may suck ass, but that’s the fun of going to a festival like this with a lot of acts who are on the rise. I’m hoping more than a few of them will be inspiring.

More info can be found at http://detroit.lanewayfestival.com

NIGHT 1
UX untitled party recap 3-1-13

The UX Untitled party with Tadd Mullinix, Derek Plaslaiko, Matthew Dear, and Mike Servito was something to be remembered. Something that was a memorial of sorts also… It was an ode to the times when Detroit began it’s journey with celebrating electronic music. It was a very dark, dingy warehouse, with sonic vibrations that enveloped your body. It was beautiful how much the music really felt like the focus. The pure sensory deprivation of the whole experience truly forced you to feel the music. And the music was good. All the DJs came with a determination and dedication that was inspiring to see. They were having fun with the 4 person tag team, but you could tell they took each mix very seriously. Tadd Mullinix (aka JTC) was playing acid tracks that would make an Amish person give up religion and buy Technics. He also dropped some new gems of his own, which seemed to fit quite nicely. Matthew Dear was equally as precise as his Ghostly label-mate. Dear wove in and out of some solid deep hard stuff, with that old school vibe that I don’t normally hear, and it was right on point for this event. Derek Plaslaiko worked the speakers out something fierce. His track selection was impeccable and his mixes were hot, as were the speakers after he finished. It was epic. Servito kept it funky and quirky with his unique blends, often entering to screams from the crowd at his turn on the decks…

The party had that intanginble “energy” that the classic parties always seemed to have. Not quite something you can put your finger on, but it just felt like, if you weren’t here, you were missing out. It felt underground, it felt real, and it felt proper. It was a mesh of old school and new school, and a genuine respect flowed throughout. One thing of note that fellow colleague of Detroit Techno House, Alex Calhoun noticed, was the utter lack of cell phone use. Hardly anyone was seen staring down at their phones texting or facebooking. It was one of the nights where you just seemed content to be where you were, with who you were with. Tangent gallery provided a beautiful backdrop for this event, and all the people involved made the night run smoother than I could have imagined, based on the shear number of people in such a distinct “party mode”. Well done. Check out the videos and photos below. There is even a video of Plaslaiko dropping “End Of The Road” by Boys 2 Men at the very end of the night. Enjoy.



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NIGHT 2
Come Feel The Acid : Interdimensional Transmissions party recap 3-2-13

Whoa. As I sit at the 5 o’clock hour inside the old music institute with 100 other nocturnal art seekers, I am in awe of the spirit and appreciation represented here. The last two nights have been something Detroit can be proud it hosted, and the people can be proud to have witnessed… We have a lot of talent and even more true soul than many regions will ever know, and it was on full display this weekend.

The acid party was about as true to the underground and artistically unique as possible. The sound was near mind scrambling, with Jim Gibbons rig on display (AVS audio). The Tin Man live was nothing short of amazing. Live acid. Done seamlessly and with an awesome control of the vibe. Watching a 303 tweaked properly is truly a blessing. BMG closed the night with some of the hardest thump I have ever heard in an acid set… With the 303 line running in and out with eeery and heart-stopping occurrences. The bass was seriously insane. Like rattle your whole body insane. Like when you thought it couldn’t get deeper, it did, a lot deeper. Ha. Knowing that that Sound came from an Ableton controller is even more testament to the evolution of digital sound. And I later found out that the sound man, Jim Gibbons, added some overdrive compression which really added some punch. Carlos Souffront went on at 5am, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. His musical selections were some of the best acid tracks I have ever heard, and the order in which they were played was as well thought out as possible at 5am searching through crate after crate of vinyl. He pulled out all the stops and made no exceptions on his homecoming to Detroit. This was an experience I am happy to say I was alive for. A strong crowd of 100’s stayed well past 5am, and when I finally called it quits about 5:45, there was still half the party raging, and a completely full dancefloor. The artistic theme was held together with a trapeze of flowing tapestry draped from all corners. It sort of felt like you were in, dare I say… another dimension? Warped by sound vibrations and further manipulated by the energy of the lifeforms inside it. Well done Interdimensional Transmissions. Well done. If I could get my brain back at some point that would be sweet. Some more pics and a video of BMG rippping apart your brain with acid below. Enjoy. Thank you for reading, I am Walter Glasshouse and this has been fun Detroit.