Damn, I love Broken Disco.
It was initially uncertain whether the participating crews would be able to cooperate when the monthly started, but they've managed to keep it going, and going hard. True to their intent, they've blazed across the party-oriented electronic-music map, bringing out more than fans of the headliners by building a brand that represents both incredible talent and crazed revelry (of the drunken variety for the 21+s). About time someone proved that techno nerds can party as hard as hipsters!
This month's edition is certain to defy expectations. If you've ever looked through the house bins at a record store, you know King Britt—the Philly remix machine's discography runs for pages. Through his career, Britt's done hiphop (he was the DJ for Digable Planets), deep house (sexy and deep, the soundtrack to makin' babies), soul (if you haven't heard those Sylk 130 CDs, stop sleepin'), and future funk (a future I can get down with). Even if you're completely ignorant of Britt's accomplishments, all you really need to know is that he's got something for you in his crates even if you've written him off as "just some house DJ." Manning the main stage at this year's Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Britt had ravers losing their minds to a mix of the O'Jays' soul classic "I Love Music" near the close of a set that spanned techno, acid house, and disco. The set was next level, arriving there through genuine reverence for the past.
Detroit's John Arnold rounds out the bill. Known best for his funked-up productions for Ubiquity, Arnold's sound can't be pinned down, fusing genres into a musical polyglot that works beyond expected genre trappings. No other "broken-beat producer" has been featured on a banging techno mix of Jeff Mills' Exhibitionist. Sure, you can give Mills credit for the breadth in his track listing, but it's a testament to Arnold's production versatility as well.
Arnold carries that same ambitious breadth to his performances. When DJing, Arnold goes kitchen-sink style, playing what he bluntly describes as "whatever the fuck I want," flipping up the party-jam script with techno, broken beat, old-school party jams, and anything else that comes to mind. He's won over techno innovator Derrick May with his style and played alongside hipster favorites Spank Rock—a disparate pair if ever there was one.
"It was all very segmented in Detroit," Arnold says. "You've got house here, techno there. So all these young kids have embraced me because I play everything. The parties I've played over the last year have been bananas." Seems like he'll fit right in at Broken Disco.
Live, he comes armed with a guitar, two keyboards, and his trusty MPC 1000, constructing sets that vary as much as his DJ gigs, creating loops and molding them into songs on the fly. A musical gambler, he's upped the intensity of his performances over the last few months by avoiding the advance preparation of samples. It's a calculated risk, bringing rewards worth the added uncertainty.
"It makes for crappy and great moments," he says, "but even the crappy moments are kinda cool."
John Arnold and King Britt play Broken Disco at Chop Suey (1325 E Madison St), Fri Aug 10, 9 pm, $10 adv.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10
It's a night of favorites at this month's edition of Artifakt. KEXP's Kid Hops will drop drum 'n' bass for his headlining slot in the Performance Gallery, while Marty Mar drops house in the Display Gallery. All the music provides the backdrop to the art, a combination of prepared pieces and live exhibitions. Lo_Fi Performance Gallery, 429 Eastlake Ave E, 254-2824, 8 pm—2 am, $7 cover, 21+.
BROKEN DISCO AFTERHOURS
Since Broken Disco has to cut out after Chop Suey's 2 am curfew, people have to look elsewhere for their late night fix. For this month's edition, there's a semi-affiliated party going on... somewhere. They aren't sharing all the details up front, but SunTzu Sound, Electrosect, and a super-secret special guest will provide the beats for those who want to keep the party going after Chop Suey security kicks them out. Location Announced at Aug 10 Broken Disco, 2 am—morning, $5 with Broken Disco stamp, $10 without.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11
Yes, this party's out in a neighborhood no-man's-land, but the combination of unconventional space, low cover charge, and late end time should place this high on your list of potential destinations if you're looking for house music all night long. It features the return of the BodyRock DJs, who got their start at NAF Studios parties before moving down to L.A. and building a name for themselves. "The Warehouse," 4029 13th Ave W, 10 pm—6 am, $5, 21+.
While Eric Estornel's "Mariel Ito" alias is often designated as his more electro/IDM-oriented guise, you can hear those elements at play even with his tech-house productions as Maetrik. The duality seems to be more of a shift along a personal spectrum than opposite sides of a coin. Regardless, the styles should all come together as nicely on a club sound system as they do in headphones. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873, 9 pm—2 am, $10, 21+.