My week in the clubs

Rating: NNNNN

pole energized

The Tequila Lounge played host last Sunday to a unique evening of dub reggae, experimental techno and jazz-influenced electronic music.

Arrived to hear DJ K. Nunes spinning a warm-up set of dancehall reggae, which set the stage nicely for a live performance by Archetype, who combined heavy dancehall rhythms with elements of avant-garde noise music and jazz. The core group of Todd Sines and Charles Noel were joined by Rosina of LAL on vocals and Gurpreet Chana on tabla. This challenging performance defies description. It wasn’t always accessible, but it was always interesting.

Following Archetype was Andrew Peckler, who carried on the spirit of experimentation with a solo laptop performance.

His set referenced reggae less than the other performers and drew more inspiration from free jazz. By layering dissonant melodies over crackle-and-pop rhythms, a nervous electronic jazz sensibility emerged.

Pole, aka Stefan Betke, was the reason most people came out, since it was his first Toronto appearance in three years. Betke’s stage presence was surprisingly energetic considering the sparseness and glacial pace of his glitch-driven techno dub.

This time around his sound referenced jazz as much as reggae and was more melodic than past outings. His trademark sound of bass lines underpinned by delicate crackle-and-pop rhythms is still very much intact, but it’s matured into something more musical, albeit still very experimental.

harvest moon

Made the trek for the first time up to Aldida Organic Farm in Bond Head for the fourth annual Harvest Festival on Saturday and was blown away by how enjoyable the experience was.

Testimonials by past attendees were all positive, but the actual party exceeded all expectations. The three dance floors started to fill up just as the sun set and they were still going strong by the time the sun rose again. The tech-house barn was the most popular spot, its multiple levels packed with partiers losing their shit to some of Toronto’s best-loved DJs, including Jeremy P. Caulfield, Adam Marshall and the Dukes.

It was amazing that a hay-filled barn could put most clubs to shame, although months of preparation for one night gave it a bit of an advantage over normal venues.

The most overwhelming aspect of the party was the crowd’s intense friendliness — so many strangers, so much hospitality. There was a sense usually lacking in normal club parties that everyone there had a personal stake in the event. All in all, it was a timely reminder that the scene is far from dead, and that optimistic idealism can still be a powerful motivator for creating a good party.

electric charge

The Electric Workers crew celebrated their first anniversary of electro parties at the Mockingbird last Friday.

The space was nicely done up using creative lighting and very professional projections. While all the EW crew are good DJs, most people were there for the live performances. Die Roboter’s Kraftwerk tribute was lots of fun and fairly authentic, but unfortunately most stopped dancing and adopted the rock concert stand-and-watch attitude.

Orgue Electronique, from Holland’s Bunker Records, fared a bit better at inspiring ass-shaking, but after a while the crowd realized that watching somebody turn knobs isn’t really that interesting. Even so, it was a great set of funky but also very musical electro-influenced techno, proving that while many hyped-up electro projects aren’t more than elaborate conceptual jokes, some still make quality music.


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