The fifth annual Decibel Festival promises to be amazing—much like the preceding four editions. This isn't mere boosterism, but rather a sober analysis of the talent- laden showcases dB director Sean Horton and company consistently book with epicurean acumen. Let's assess the daily highlights for this year's glut of electronic-music/digital-media excellence. Note: Often it's the unknown (to you) artists who deliver the most stunning sets; acts overlooked here could be awesome. Alas, Decibel merits a booklet, not 800 words.

Thursday 9/25


Deconstructing Pop @ Neumos

Japanese producer Tujiko Noriko lends a skewed sensuality to electro pop's oft- pristine, asexual veneer. Polyglot trio Jahcoozi rinse out slinky, dubsteppy triphop, featuring Sri Lankan singer Sasha Perera. Teutonic electro-pop maven Barbara Morgenstern extrapolates upon Neue Deutsche Welle and Cluster's pastoral mid-'70s output.

Peloton Release Party @ Sole Repair

Aron Schoppert's Seattle label Peloton christens its first release, Bicycles Are Your Friends, with a killer bill. American techno magus Stewart Walker jets in from Berlin to lay down the PhD-level minimal science, and [a]pendics.shuffle (one of Ken Gibson's many monikers) uses madcap techniques to deflate techno's seriousness while keeping the sonic palette very odd. One of Seattle's most-slept-on tech-house producers, Mister Leisure (Matt Corwine) combines ingenious sound design with acute dance-floor-igniting knowledge. INCITE!, dB founder Sean Horton's latest persona, has been generating positive buzz with his live dance-centric sets.

Friday 9/26


2008 Dirty Dancing @ Neumos

Toronto electro-trance-house phenom Deadmau5 is Beatport's most-downloaded artist, but I'm not really feeling his fluffy/plinkety tracks. Italy's Luca Bacchetti (Wagon Repair) and Portland's Let's Go Outside (Soma Recordings) both bring a harder, weirder vibe to tech-house than the hyped headliner. YMMV. Chicago duo Santiago and Bushido exude that archetypal, unhinged Dirty Dancing dynamic.

The Trinity @ Sole Repair

Thirtysomething Midwestern techno muthas Jeff Samuel (formerly of Cleveland and Seattle, now living large in Berlin), Derek Plaslaiko (now in NYC), and Jerry Abstract (now in Tukwila) can bang you senseless or finesse you into swoons with their deep crates of 4/4 DJ tools.

See The Score for more info on the Optical 1 audio/video showcase at Northwest Film Forum. Data Breaker highly recommends William Basinski, whose decaying drones waft like a sacred kind of Muzak.

Saturday 9/27


dB in the Park @ Volunteer Park

Seattle house subversives Jacob London, local electro-funk jesters Truckasauras, and L.A. bassbin mobsters Glitch Mob are sure to make this a raucous romp in nature, punishing the fresh air with relentless beats.

Detroit Techno: Past, Present & Future @ Neumos

Donte Parks details Carl Craig's magnificence in this week's music section (page 33); check it! Craig's DJ set is destined to be scrutinized (and danced to) with maniacal zeal. Audion—Matthew Dear's severely acidic techno alias—shows no mercy with his sawtooth synth textures and hiNRG rhythms that conjure op-art maelstroms of sound. Seattle/Detroit/Amsterdam producer Orlando Voorn channels Underground Resistance's rugged yet emotional brand of techno.

See The Score for more info on today's Optical 2 showcase at Northwest Film Forum. Data Breaker highly recommends microsound-manipulator supreme Kamran Sadeghi.

Ghostly International @ Baltic Room

A night of nuanced, melodic electronic music from the celebrated Michigan label, led by Seattle's Lusine (rigorously sculpted IDM and ambient) and the Sight Below (Gas-powered, pop-ambient bliss). Californians Deru and Tycho round out the bill with exquisitely crafted, dreamy, post–Boards of Canada head-nodders.

bRave New World @ Chop Suey

Decibel has a rep for highbrow fare, but this nü-rave blast from the Shameless/Antarctic Records camp featuring headliners LA Riots offers a slightly lower-browed get-down to lift your spirits to a neon-bright fever pitch. Expect more sweat than you'll find on liberals during presidential election night.

Sunday 9/28


dB BBQ @ Havana

Get souled out while you chow down to broken-beat/nü-soul-jazz troupe SunTzu Sound's sweet bill, which includes KEXP's reggae/dub savant Kid Hops, hedonistic brainiac DJ Caro (Seattle's Randy Jones), and one-mensch Detroit electro-soul band Jeremy Ellis, who gives you a little bit more, a little bit more.

2008 Ambient @ Triple Door

Bask in the (mostly) beatless beatitude of Helios, Deaf Center, Eluvium, and Stars of the Lid's Brian McBride (the last of whom is accompanied by a string section). Their compositions hover at the compelling juncture between tranquility and trepidation. If there's a heaven, these sensitive musicians' expansive, moving tracks spin in heavy rotation there.

2008 Decibel Festival Finale @ Neumos

Support The Stranger

Going out with the proverbial bang, as usual, Decibel puts the cherry on your Sunday with Fax, one of Mexico's top experimental-techno producers; XLR8R cover-star and L.A. future-jazz/hiphop beatmaker Flying Lotus; and London grime/dancehall extremist the Bug (featuring toaster Warrior Queen). Expect Germany's Supermayer (Kompakt Records linchpins Superpitcher and Michael Mayer) to deliver the climactic techno/house KO with a DJ set that will likely leave festival-goers as spent as the U.S. economy. recommended

Visit www.dbfestival.com for more information.