It's been a while since the Baltic Room has hosted some world-class techno (Decibel 2008, to be specific), so let's praise the Knightriders crew for booking local treasure Orlando Voorn and Chicago DJ/ producer Angel Alanis at this excellent but underutilized venue for electronic music.
Voorn began DJing hiphop and electro at age 12 in the Netherlands and won a Dutch DMC DJ championship in 1986. In the late '80s, Voorn established ties with Detroit techno innovators via collaborations with Juan Atkins and Blake Baxter, as well as through releases on Kevin Saunderson's KMS and Derrick May's Fragile labels. Good luck trying to keep tabs on Voorn's discography; he has about 20 years' worth of recordings under nearly 30 aliases, including Nighttripper, Basic Bastard, Fix, No Guts No Glory, and Maniax Traxx. However, his new label—Voorn Kollectiv, in conjunction with Juno Download—has been launched in order to release old, hard-to-find classics and new works, which should make your search easier.
With impressive timeliness, Voorn has posted on his MySpace page a midtempo, inspirationally melodic track laced with President Obama speech samples titled "Yes We Can," which seems destined for anthem status—at least for Number 44's honeymoon period. Like much techno influenced by the original Motor City masters, Voorn's brand of the genre is both technically adroit and emotionally resonant, with Detroit-ian soul to burn.
One of the 2008 Decibel Festival's biggest disappointments occurred when Voorn's live set was thwarted due to technical problems. That setback will partially be rectified Saturday, as Voorn spins a set sure to be redolent of his own bold, thrusting tracks.
Angel Alanis has had artistic dalliances with an odd assortment of mainstream figures (Sinéad O'Connor), hiphop legends (Kool Moe Dee), and electro-house luminaries (Felix Da Housecat), revealing his knack for appealing to both casuals and true heads.
At his best, Alanis (who runs the A-Squared Muzik label) creates acidic, pounding tech-house that possesses a will-to-power vibe. This isn't your standard "let's all raise our hands when the diva wails and the piano riff cascades" dance music. Alanis's productions have ingested steroids and copious quantities of Sparks (RIP); they sound like the sort of thing that fills the DJ sets of our own high-energy bruiser, Jerry Abstract.
This Chicagoan's music may be short on subtlety and warm 'n' fuzzies, but it's long on invigorating bass frequencies and Richter-scale beats that rarely go below 138 per minute. Basically, Alanis pushes the opposite of chill-out music. It's kind of like how fellow Windy City DJ Bad Boy Bill would sound if he weren't such a doofus: It's perpetually peaking stuff. Alanis's 2001 sex bomb "Do You Like the Way You Feel When You Shake?" will be on a lot of people's minds—and asses—Saturday.
Angel Alanis and Orlando Voorn perform with Travis Baron, M'chateau, and Ctrl_Alt_Dlt on Sat Jan 31, Baltic Room, 9 pm, $10 before 11 pm/$15 after, 21+.