Blog: Walter Wasacz

This weekend a Euro-heavy crowd will descend on Movement, Detroit's electronica fest. And who better than laptop músico Walter Wasacz, who's also a techno writer and an editor for Issue Media Group, to give us the skinny on this world-famous fete.

Post 3: Techno Toots

Movement 2010, which hosted about 100,000 paying ravers, techno-hippies and assorted other party people, will go down as one of the best of the 11-year series. Having Carl Craig back as artistic director paid immediate dividends. All the headliners were perfectly chosen for maximum sundown shake appeal. Juan Atkins' Model 500 (whose Star Trek Next Generation outfits produced almost instantaneous and steady chatter on Twitter), Kevin Saunderson's Inner City, and Richie Hawtin's Plastikman were all as good as it gets in the electronic music universe.

But as important was the return of Berliners Scion and Mark Ernestus, who played unmixed (as is his custom) dub tracks. Ernestus performed arguably the festival's hottest, most emotive set while remaining largely expressionless wearing a T-Shirt that said "Playing it Cool." The Moritz von Oswald Trio, part of the same Kreuzberg from crew, was equally stellar.  

A host of others -- Theo Parrish, Anthony "Shake" Shakir, Recloose, Larry Heard, and Martyn -- also proved going deep, deeper, deepest was the direction most preferred.

Other highlights: Istanbul's Onur Ozer, Cassy and Claude Von Stroke rocked the Beatport Stage, as did Hawtin, who filled in for the visa-deprived Ricardo Villalobos, who was rumored to be at the festival anyway according to tweets I was following. That was never confirmed, and later exposed as a hoax.

Another highlight was the Beehive Project, a human-scale installation that declares the hive as a model for future Detroit community and resourcefulness. It was clean, green, and integrated neatly into one of only a few patches of trees and grass at over-cemented Hart Plaza. Wunderbar.
For me, highlights of the festival extend beyond the grounds. The winner is Detroit's early- to late-20th century urbanism, the impressive vertical granite canyons of downtown and its blend of 1920s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s high design architecture. There was a "wow" in every walk we took, from the riverfront to Grand Circus, up to Park Avenue for dinner at Cliff Bell's; over to Brush St. between Congress and E. Fort for more food at Jacoby's; up Broadway to Angelina's to meet friends from Amsterdam, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, and Detroit before going to the Music Hall and a program of films and a performance by Mike Banks and his band Timeline. Thanks to Planet E, and the Carl Craig and Detroit Techno Foundations for that beautiful idea.

This sustained buzz about the familiar is ultimately what it's all about for us who welcome the overflowing flock of techno tourists drawn to our powerful, groovy vibrations. We once again see a city as dynamic as the music it produces, something we can't experience often enough.