Dancing Astronaut’s Guide to Movement Festival
This weekend, Detroit will be home to Movement Festival, a 3 day celebration of house and techno music in one of the birthplaces of modern dance music. Residing in the historic Hart Plaza for over a decade, the festival has grown into a mecca for old school dance music fans with over 100,000 attending the festival last year. Though many deem it underground, this brand of music is slowly expanding into the mainstream, standing its own against the commercial fare at Mysteryland and EDC New York.
Here, we take a look at the top acts to see this weekend at the festival.
The 9 PM slot on this day is endlessly frustrating. Tale of Us, Green Velvet, and Chris Liebing share the same slot, all bringing their different musical tastes to this Saturday evening. The lesser-known Berlin-based duo of Carmine Conte and Matteo Milleri released a strong EP at the end of 2013, and their mastery of gorgeous sets are matched by Liebing’s legendary ones. Here at Movement, Liebing is poised for a complete three hour affair, one of the few at the festival. Meanwhile, Green Velvet’s album late last year has been on our radar and music library rotation for half a year now. His performance at the same time caps a painful decision on Day 1.
Stacey Pullen: under the tutelage of Derrick May, this Detroit native has developed into his own brand of techno. His fusion of garage and house music has captivated listeners this past decade, and his performance at last year’s festival was nothing short of spectacular. You never pass up a chance to see an artist perform in his hometown, which seals this decision for me.
Underrated Act to See:
Benoit and Sergio: Sliding into the 4:30 slot, this duo production team crafts sets of gorgeous melodies sweeping over luscious sensual beats. At their set time, Benoit and Sergio may be overlooked by attendees for the more popular Justin Martin, but fans should make an effort to stumble over and see this live show. If the set below is any indication, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Top Scheduling Dilemma:
Dixon vs. Marco Carola vs. Shaun Reeves. Shaun Reeves’ subtle musicality and sound is unlike any other – placing heavy bass drops only in the most strategic of locations, his sets are true shows of musicianship on display at Hart Plaza. However, he gets the unfortunate time slot against Marco Carola and his ‘Music On’ brand. With residencies abroad in Ibiza, Carola’s intoxicating sets (this is a sample of his genius) were built for warm summer evenings. Not to be forgotten, Dixon is flat out incredible. While another legend Eric Prydz won the coveted Essential Mix of the Year title, Dixon’s masterpiece flew under the radar, a shame considering it was potentially just as good, if not better.
Editor’s Pick: Maceo Plex.
Yes, we know that Richie Hawtin and John Digweed are both playing. But off the main stage, Maceo Plex’s deep house melodies will drift into the night immediately following Dixon’s show. HIs neat collection of tracks within his sets fit like intricate puzzle pieces. You need to listen to the complete set in full to appreciate his work. The longer and more intricate it is, the more lush the experience becomes. While the Red Bull main stage has a lineup that simply amazes, don’t forget the Beatport one. Especially at 9 PM.
Underrated Act to See:
Jimmy Edgar: Another one of Detroit’s own, Jimmy Edgar does not have the recognition as many of his hometown contemporaries, but those well-versed in the scene all identify him as a special talent. A reputed photographer as well, Edgar has a true eye for experimental concepts, and his sets reflect his love for the arts. We are so impressed that featured him on an Axis mix – take a listen to judge for yourself.
Top Scheduling Dilemma: In the early evening, Jamie Jones, Pete Tong, Bonobo, and Kevin Saunderson will battle for festival attendees’ attention, While the first two are household names, Kevin Saunderson presents the most unique show, with his second half highlighted by a special b2b set with fellow veteran Seth Troxler. Together, they may very well spin one of the more unforgettable sets of the year.
Bonobo deserves a special mention. Not your usual dance music act (think Photek and Four Tet more than Loco Dice), the British Simon Green stands alone in his sound, though he opens for DJ Snake and Flosstradamus, a curious booking decision. With his album The North Borders last year, Bonobo showcased his brilliance as a producer and ear for the most subtle nuances in modern production. How does he fare as a DJ? His Essential Mix should answer those questions.
Editor’s Pick: Boys Noize. I raved about his two show performance last year, and look forward to his sets again. How many artists can play on Ultra mainstage and at Movement? It’s a handful, and an enviable status. Don’t miss it.
Underrated Act to See: Moon Boots will represent the indie dance movement well at the festival. A part of the prolific and respected French Express entourage, he gets a chance to shine early in the afternoon. With his trademark bouncy tunes and penchant for delivering the perfect balance of house and pop, Moon Boots is worth getting to the festival early to see.