FABRICE LIG with SPIRIT CATCHER , KENNY GLASGOW , DOUGLAS CARTER and more at Crosstown (178 Bathurst), Saturday (May 26). $10 before 11:30 pm, more after. 416-362-7677. Rating: NNNNN
Belgian techno DJ/producer Fabrice Lig's electronic music obsession began the first time he heard Inner City's Detroit techno anthem Big Fun at a nightclub in the late 80s.
Since that fateful night, he's channelled his love of that cold, soulful machine funk into a respectable career, with a long string of releases under various aliases that have garnered praise from the Detroit pioneers who originally inspired him.
Given his attraction to Detroit on a musical level, it's surprising that Lig waited nearly two decades after his initial Big Fun epiphany before he finally visited the techno mecca. He made it there in 2005, when he played a set at that year's Detroit Electronic Music Festival. His show was voted Best DJ Set from the Detroit Free Press - strong praise for a European who's an outsider in that community.
"I played with DJ S2 from Underground Resistance in my hometown [Charleroi, Belgium] a month ago, and the guy said, 'Hey man, your hometown looks a lot like Detroit,'" Lig recalls, on the line from his rural home. "Maybe that's why I do this kind of music, because it is that kind of post-industrial city. But while that may be a point in common, I didn't feel like I needed to be from Detroit to make this kind of music."
While there isn't a huge Belgian fan base for Lig's particular brand of moody, emotional electronic music, he's found kindred souls across the rest of the world, and that keeps him busy most weekends with DJ gigs and live performances.
Both forms hold their own appeal for Lig, but it's the way that he approaches live performance that sets him apart from so many of his contemporaries. Laptops and software have come to dominate the live techno arena, but Lig still relies on the hardware synths and samplers that he cut his teeth on back in the day, even if the technology isn't exactly user-friendly.
"In the old days, it wasn't so easy to find out how to produce this music. I bought a lot of gear I never ended up using and made a lot of mistakes.
"It's funny," he continues, "people are a bit surprised when they don't see a computer on stage. Especially young people - they usually ask, 'Where's the computer?'"