TASK with ADAM DUKE , ELIOT LAZOR , ERIC DOWNER , GERALD MATRIX and ODDMYTH at Surface (12 Brant), Friday (September 24). $5 before 11 pm, $10 after, free before 11 pm if you join the Pusher mailing list before 2 pm Friday at www.pusher.foundationmusic.com.
HARVEST FESTIVAL with TASK, THE DUKES, ADAM MARSHALL, NONPAREIL, TIM PATRICK, THE TOQUES, GREG GOW, MARIO J and more, near Cobourg (see www.harvestfestival.org for directions), Saturday-Sunday (September 24-25). $38 advance.
Collectives can be a mixed blessing. Multiple hands can get more work done, but it's hard to stand out as an individual when you're always associated with a group.
DJ Task (aka Tom Kuo) is known to most as part of the IDM-focused Wabi collective, a long-running production team who bring many left-field electronic artists to Toronto.
When you hear him playing outside of Wabi events, though, he channels a more dance-floor-oriented sound, bringing together aspects not only of Detroit and German techno, but a bit of a New York flavour as well. Now he's got another collective called Pusher, in which he can showcase that side of his personality.
"We wanted to link up together and shake off some of the attachments we carry with us all the time," Kuo explains as we sit in his backyard. "We noticed that we were buying a lot of the same records, so we wanted a place to showcase this sound.
"We're all pushers of techno in some way - we're record store buyers, we promote and organize events and we do Internet broadcasts. We're pushing one another to produce tracks, and we get together and critique one another. Eventually, we want to collect the best ones and see if we can get them out there."
At the Pusher party Friday, the boys will be giving away a bunch of mix CDs encoded as MP3s so they can fit an 80-minute mix from each of the six DJs on one CD, along with a CD-ROM portion containing bios and other extras. We've sure come a long way from the days of 90-minute mix tapes; this is enough music to last most of your work day.
Expect to hear the full spectrum of forward-thinking techno, from six very different perspectives. Kuo's unique take on the electronic thump is coloured most by the fact he grew up in New York, where techno contributions have been overshadowed by German and Detroit influences.
"I was brought up by the New York underground culture, guys like Adam X and Frankie Bones," Kuo recalls. "I remember them throwing a party under the Brooklyn Bridge with Christian Vogel. It was just amazing - so abstract, but there was still a flow. I started buying records, but it wasn't until much later that I really got the DJ bug.
"I have these three tangents - New York, Detroit and Germany - and I always try to gel them into one. We're at a place now where different patterns and different music are coming together into a full picture. You get the soul of Detroit and the attitude of New York and that German sarcastic approach to darkness."
What better place to mix these elements than Toronto, a city often portrayed as a midway point between Europe and America.