For two such ostensibly progressive takes on the global dance music phenomenon - nearly
20 years after England's infamous Summer Of Love, when all these electronic shenanigans really began - the upcoming Metamorphose
and Wire dance parties have one surprising element in common: History.
Take, for instance, Gabe Gonzalez.
He's one of the great unknowns to today's club enthusiasts - but that won't stop him heading up the Sonar
Stage at Metamorphose.
Gonzalez cut his teeth as a drummer in George Clinton's P-Funk All Stars in the latter half of the 1980s,
and has worked since with seminal funk and soul-fueled ensembles such as 420 Funk Mob (again with Clinton), Enemy Squad, and
The fact that he hails from Detroit should make even the most jaded clubber sit up and take notice.
Also from Detroit, joining Gonzalez under their joint alias O.D.D., will be former Parliament session player
"Mad" Mike Banks.
He's better known for his pivotal role in setting up the highly politicized Underground Resistance posse in
1990 with fellow musicians Jeff Mills and Robert Hood - which completely redefined techno, as we know it today.
Mills himself, who broke from UR in 1992 to pursue (and achieve) international success as a deejay, producer,
label entrepreneur, and occasional soundtrack scorer, will be headlining at Wire.
His stripped-down, relentless tech style, with its erratic-yet-catchy rhythm structures, has endeared itself
to dance floors across the world, influencing cities from Berlin to Melbourne - and Mills' track "The Bells" has rounded off
nearly every recent techno compilation from here to Belfast.
The same year Mills left UR, Japanese producer Ken Ishii signed with Belgium's R&S, and by the following
year had featured on other vital labels like Force Inc. and Richie Hawtin's Plus 8.
Ishii, who'll also feature at Wire, is the man who proved the collaborative nature between Japanese culture
and techno music - not just via the sound production gear he used, but by getting Koji Morimoto (the key animator on Akira
and Fist Of The North Star) to do the memorable video clip for his single "Extra," back in 1995.
Metamorphose, meanwhile, imparts a nod to Chicago's past glories with the presence of DJ Sneak, aka Carlos
Discovered in 1994 by Curtis "Green Velvet" Jones, Sneak's first singles appeared on groundbreaking house
imprint Relief Records.
Fast-forward two years, and there he was tandem-deejaying with fellow Chicago luminary Derrick Carter across
a world stage all too willing to embrace their take on filtered disco house.
Wire takes the dusty historical layer-cake, however, by unveiling a performance from Nitzer Ebb.
Formed back in the mid-'80s, and heavily influenced by German techno-pop outfit D.A.F., Douglas McCarthy and
Bon Harris led the now-defunct electronic body music craze 20-odd years ago, alongside Front 242, and pumped out a swathe
of memorable synth-and-angst anthems like "Murderous" (1986) and "Join In The Chant" ('87).
Mills and other Detroit peers have cited the style as a direct influence on their own nascent techno tinkerings
- about the same time that Nitzer Ebb started to lose creative steam.
But Metamorphose and Wire aren't just set to replay the past, they're also focused on contemporary directions,
with a swath of younger deejays and live acts at both events, the harbingers of possible future dance floor trends.
"At the Metamorphose party I plan to play a lot of my own stuff, mixed with other music I love - and, as always,
when I'm playing, I will bring unreleased tracks especially made for the gig," John Dahlback told us last week.
Dahlback is a talented, 21-year-old Swedish deejay and producer who just so happens to have been born the
year Nitzer Ebb released their first record.
Metamorphose featuring Manuel Gottsching, Sleep Walker, O.D.D., Mark
Farina, DJ Sneak, DJ Patife, Luciano, Idjut Boys, Fumiya Tanaka, John Dahlback and others will take place Aug. 26, 6 p.m.
at Japan Cycle Sports Center in Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, (03)5721-6805.
Wire 06 featuring Richie Hawtin, Jeff Mills, Hardfloor, Nitzer Ebb, Westbam,
Alter Ego, Ken Ishii, Takkyu Ishino, Ryukyu Disko, Secret Cinema and others will take place Sept. 2 at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama,
(Aug. 19, 2006)
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