The MMiXdown Goes to Motown for the DEMF (Updated)

Post DEMF Update:

What a time that was. According to reports, over 83,000 people came down last weekend to Hart Plaza in Detroit to take part in the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Truly, the best artists in this genre were there, representing many countries and continents besides those from Techno’s birthplace, Detroit.

The view from the hotel room at the Greektown Casino-Hotel. Canada can be seen across the river behind the Renaissance Center (left).

Two observations: the performers that were the most successful (in our opinion), that connected with the audience on a performative level, we’re those that actually had people on stage playing an instrument in addition to the laptop and turntable-driven music. The other was that many groups, no matter where they were from, incorporated many microtonal elements, that is, riffs and patterns that did not adhere to any equal-tempered scale. In fact, many of these were retro analog timbres that grunted and groaned in between the notes, sounding very vocal-like (in all octaves) and sometimes imitative of a guitarist’s bending of the strings.

It should be said too that, even though dance music was to the fore at night, that, during the day, the main stage was reserved for ambient artists and experimenters from all over who, with their dedicated followers in attendance, were so grateful, as was I, to hear their work on such a massive and very clean sound system.

The "Made in Detroit" logo created by Robert Stanzler in 1981.

We had to miss the third and final day to get back to our work and concerts here, BUT, the techniques and great vibes we brought back are going to last for some time. What a musical city, no matter the decade, no matter the style. Inclusive as hell. Everyone is welcome. We look forward to returning in the coming year.

May 29, 2010, Hart Plaza, Detroit – Evening performance excerpts by Josh Wink (USA), Claude VonStroke (USA), A-Trak (Canada), and Richie Hawtin a.k.a. PLASTIKMAN (UK).

Excerpts of the evening’s performances by Derrick Carter (Chicago), Kraak & Smaak (Netherlands), Rolando (Detroit), Robert Hood (Detroit), Ricardo Villalobos (Chile), and finishing the night on the Main Stage, hometown hero Kevin Saunderson’s INNER CITY (Detroit).


The Detroit Electronic Music Festival a.k.a. MOVEMENT 2010

The MMiXdown goes to Motown this coming May 29-31 for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, also known as Movement, for its 2010 edition.

Time Out New York‘s Bruce Tantum described the festival in a recent article:

Detroit: It’s a prime example of urban decay; it’s the poster child for the failings of the capitalist system. But whatever its shortcomings, the city has one very big thing going for it: Its musical history is as rich as it comes. From the jazz and blues of its Black Bottom neighborhood, through the emotion-soaked soul of Motown and the cosmic grooves of Parliament-Funkadelic, to the jam-kicking punch of the MC5 and the Stooges, Detroit has long shown a sonic sensibility that outshines 99 percent of other towns its size. Since the mid-’80s (a quarter century—can you believe it?), one of the sounds that’s had the world cocking an ear toward Detroit is Techno, so it shouldn’t be surprising that one of the world’s leading celebrations of electronic dance music takes place in the Motor City. This coming Memorial Day weekend, that blowout—the annual Movement festival—takes over downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza, with scores of after-parties helping to spread the techno gospel.

The three-day event attracts the top echelon of techno’s artists and DJs. This year’s headliners are hometown heroes Richie Hawtin (in his Plastikman guise), Juan Atkins (in Model 500 mode) and Kevin Saunderson (performing with his classic Inner City combo, the group responsible for late-’80s technopop hits like “Good Life” and “Big Fun”). And the rest of the scene’s elites will be on hand as well, with American stars such as Claude VonStroke and the Martinez Brothers mingling with international superstars like Ricardo Villalobos and Michael Mayer. (That’s not to mention wild cards along the lines of funk fiend Mr. Scruff and dubstep doyen Martyn, nor the dozens of other big names playing at unofficial ancillary events.) But despite the scope of the festival, Movement executive director Jason Huvaere sounded remarkably calm … “I only panic when I look at the calendar,” he jokes. “But it is a massive amount of work. When this festival began in 2000, I think a lot of people tried to treat it as a part-time job, and I can tell you, it is not. This is a 365-day-a-year job. We don’t have a couple of artists; we have 100 artists. We don’t have one stage; we have five. We don’t have 2,500 people every day; we have 25,000. The scale is immense.”

Read the full article HERE.

PLASTIK FANTASTIC Richie Hawtin’s set of brooding techno, performed in his Plastikman guise, is among the weekend’s highlights.

The Greektown Casino Hotel will be MMiXdown HQ while we attend the festival. Expect pictures, video, and other content when we get back (as long as we can stay away from those damn slot machines).

Detroit’s Movement festival runs May 29–31. Go to for more info.

Patrick Grant