By some stroke of luck, Seattle plays host to two young, talented Detroit electronic musicians this week. I've waxed ecstatic about Matthew Dear (AKA Audion) in this space before, and will do so yet again. Jimmy Edgar, however, is a newcomer to Data Breaker; his Seattle debut should be highly anticipated by anyone into the fractured, futuristic hiphop purveyed by Timbaland, Prefuse 73, and Dabrye.
But first, let's check out what Dear's been up to lately in his Audion guise. Audion's 2005 album Suckfish dominated DJ charts like a world-class dominatrix, flaunting techno bangers ribbed with saw-toothed synth tones for everybody's pleasure. His recent live set at Austin's SXSW festival left the dance floor awash in bodily fluids, and his DJing in the Pitchfork-sponsored tent made it pitch and fork with relentlessly delirious, low-end propulsion. The assembled indie-rock hordes didn't really know what hit 'em.
Coming this summer is Audion's mix for the vaunted Fabric series. Fabric 27 finds Dear getting slightly more subliminal and sly on the decks than he does in the studio. The track selection actually recalls Richie Hawtin's on the Canadian master's DE9 CDs: Dear often weaves multiple tracks simultaneously into a sensual, pulsating procession of 130-bpm rhythms and vividly tactile textures. With starkly hedonistic cuts by Robag Wruhme, Ricardo Villalobos, Mikael Stavöstrand, Robert Babicz, Vienna Vegetable Orchestra (remixed by Luciano), and Audion himself (including a preview of his collab with Ellen Allien), Fabric 27 captures mid-'00s minimal techno at its alluring peak.
Edgar—who also records under the names Kristuit Salu, Morris Nightingale, and Michaux—signed to the world-renowned Warp Records while still in his teens. He dropped the Access Rhythm and Bounce Make Model EPs in 2004, establishing himself as a prodigious provider of gritty yet glittery and jittery underground-hiphop ready-mades. As mentioned above, these early tracks could segue sweetly in a set with Prefuse 73, Dabrye, and other neon-buzzy, IDM-leaning hiphop producers. You can tell that this self-taught prodigy wants to inspire dance-floor action, but he doesn't want to be too obvious with his intentions and methods.
Edgar's new debut album, Color Strip (Warp), further refines his avant-R&B approach. The rhythms here feint with even more complexity and derring-do than previously, and the melodies display a fondness for flamboyant, early-'80s Prince, electro's insouciant sauciness, and Detroit techno's spacy soulfulness. It's as if Edgar's mother were listening to Detroit radio legend Electrifyin' Mojo's broadcasts while he was in her womb, and he absorbed that jock's eclectic playlist through the umbilical cord. Whatever the source for Edgar's precocious talent, it's resulted in a catalog rife with vibrantly ambitious music that's as inventive as it is ravishingly seductive.
FRIDAY APRIL 14
BASHMENT DMD, Mos-Hi Records, and Rama bring the ragga-jungle thunder for this high-voltage monthly, which is becoming an essential node on the Seattle club circuit. Lo_Fi Performance Gallery, 429 Eastlake Ave E, www.lofiseattle.org, $5, 21+.
SATURDAY APRIL 15
JOHN BELTRAN This solid, unflashy Detroit producer makes another of his frequent Seattle visits, this time to help launch SunTzu Sound's new Safari night (these guys have a night for every freakin' day of the week, it seems; where do they find the energy?). Beltran's tracks traverse the slick spectrum from Latin-tinged soulful house to frictionless, melodic techno. His music has a light touch yet it has the ability to move listeners deeply. Baltic Room, 1207 E Pine St, 625-4444, 9 pm–2 am, $7 before 11 pm, 21+.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 19
MISTER LEISURE, DJ EDDIE, AUDION Mister Leisure (Seattle producer/writer Matt Corwine) emerges from his well-appointed lab for one of his rare live performances. His tech-house tracks strike a sweet balance between being cerebrally satisfying and pelvic-thrust provocative. Which, I guess, makes Mister Leisure's music ideal for Mensa group orgies. About his live show, Corwine says, "I spent all last month soaking up all the Spanish and African music coming out of every car and bodega in Brooklyn and Little Havana, so I'm really into polyrhythms and melodies at the moment. [Local world-music guru] Darek Mazzone and I have been working on a Cheb i Sabbah remix all month so a bit of that influence has seeped in. And I was totally reinspired listening to Derrick May play an all-house set at Francois K.'s Deep Space night." Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 8 pm–2 am, $10 adv, 21+.
ATTENTION DJS AND LAPTOP ARTISTS! The Stranger's Bands Page is not only for, uh, bands; it's also open to DJs and laptop musicians. So get in on this growing site of Seattle music makers, promoters, label honchos, and club bookers, and watch your contacts increase and your career prospects improve. Here's the link: www.thestranger.com/bands. Don't say we never did anything for you...