You're doing all right for yourself when your new project's first release on a fledgling label becomes a defining track for the year. You're doing better when you've not only had the opportunity to collaborate with a legend like Carl Craig, but are then handpicked to be a resident on one of his tours. Given just those bullet points, Monty Luke would seem privileged, but Luke's charmed musical existence goes even deeper.
Luke's profile has risen in recent months with the release of "Paranoid," a dark, catchy techno collaboration with fellow San Francisco scene veteran Tasho that's defined by the repeated, chopped, stretched, and filtered vocal, "I think I'm paranoid." The second release on Claude VonStroke's Mothership label, it's grown to be a hit even outside of techno circles.
Even before the attention for "Paranoid," Luke was well known in the Bay Area, where he's been DJing for over a decade as part of the collective DHP (Deep House Project) after helping found California's renowned Justice League Sound System while in college. His status as an insider favorite eventually extended to Carl Craig, who tapped Luke as a resident for his Demon Days tour, hardly faint praise. It probably doesn't hurt that Luke writes Bubble Metropolis, XLR8R's techno column, keeping him awash in the latest and greatest.
Résumé details aside, Luke has earned his Seattle praise with his appearance at 2007's Decibel Festival, where he managed to get the crowd moving despite an early timeslot and a still-sober, festival-weary audience.
It's an interesting exercise to listen to the latest releases from Autechre (playing Neumo's Monday, April 7) and Meat Beat Manifesto (ditto, but Wednesday, April 9) within a short duration. Both artists have long legacies and dedicated fan bases, but while the Autechre album is challenging enough to give a headache to the uninitiated, an exercise in nuance and production intricacy, too much of the new MBM can be dismissed thusly: "So, Jack Dangers likes dubstep." Autechre's vision is immediately discernible, if not comprehensible, while MBM are reserved almost to the point of irrelevance.
Slipping under the radar in comparison to those high-profile artists is Soot Records' Maga Bo, playing Nectar on Tuesday, April 8. Touring in support of his debut album, Archipelagoes, Maga Bo draws from all points on the globe, but the result is hardly "world music." Instead it's a world tour through low end, with Bo intuitively collecting the tracks that inspire the urban masses to move on his travels. As with labelmates DJ /rupture and Filastine, it's a fool's errand to pin a genre on the resulting sonic mélange, but Maga Bo's studied approach maintains momentum even when the beats accelerate into madness or dissolve into noise.
Monty Luke plays Thurs April 3 at the Baltic Room, 9 pm–2 am, $7, 21+.
Autechre play Mon April 7 at Neumo's, 8 pm–2 am, $15 adv, 21+. With Massonix and Rob Hall.
Maga Bo plays Tues April 8 at Nectar Lounge, 9 pm–2 am, $7, 21+.
Meat Beat Manifesto play Wed April 9 at Neumo's, 8 pm–2 am, $15 adv, 21+.