All photos copyright and courtesy of Matthew Reyer & Black Tuesday

Detroit’s fabled Movement Electronic Music Festival (formerly DEMF) was a visceral experience to say the least. From the sternum throttling bass kicks of the world’s loudest soundsystems designed exactly for all facets of dance music, the artificial crunch of plastic bottles and beer cans condensing beneath our feet in a warehouse basement at 5:00 a.m., to the general amounts of love from nearly every corner of the industry; we had an engaging and wonderful time. And with new owners Paxahau doing most everything in their ability to ensure a great Memorial Day Weekend, for the most part, the shows went off without a hitch.

Our team arrived late Friday night, and with still at least a couple of hours left in the evening to party before Movement’s official kick off the following afternoon, we headed to Detroit’s gritty warehouse district for an incredibly deep and storied lineup featuring both Moodyman and Theo Parrish taking us all to the Church of House through a vinyl only, eclectic set fusing neo-jazz, classic disco and plenty of contemporary house and techno without well… too much mixing really. It was certainly a throwback night in every sense, even an ode to Paradise Garage maestro Larry Levan style mixing. It was great to get back to our roots, stop being so damn critical, just enjoy a couple of dance music legends and set the stage for our weekend.

Read our entire Movement review after the jump!

Saturday Songs of the Day

’Midland – Duster’
’Rachel Row – L Square (KiNK Mix)’
’Henrik Schwarz – Black Rose. SKY’
’Thee Cool Cats – Man Of The Year (Original Mix)’
’Gaiser – Backyard’
’Recondite – Pass Up’

Bright and early Saturday morning (at the crack of 2:00 p.m.!), we’d arrived at Detroit’s fabled Hart Plaza for six stages and three days of the best underground (and very overground) dance music a multitude of genres had to offer. Of course, not without a few first day snafus however. Apparently, a very large ticketing malfunction within Paxahau’s internal system caused many a headache for loads of our friends. Attendees who had gone the pre-sale route and already had their weekend bracelets in hand had nearly three hours less wait time than those buying at the door. Obviously not the start you’d want to a music festival, and with Paxahau promising to be much more staffed next year, we can only hope it was the last time something like that would happen. Luckily for us, media check-in was about as painless an experience we’ve encountered through our many years of festival coverage, and we were inside within 2 minutes, taking in all of London based House producer Midland’s raucously tasteful set at our friends with Beatport’s waterfront stage.


After a solid hour warmup, Bulgarian techno wiz Kink followed suit with a live set which, despite its overall Berlin-dark-techno-tone, fit perfectly against a sunny and warm day in Detroit. The proverbial bar was set pretty damn high after our first two sets, and unfortunately for us, Recondite and what would be a finely tuned low-end by the end of the weekend, were clashing heavily with the sound system encased within Movement’s Main stage. The next few hours saw us bounce from THUMP’s ‘Made in Detroit’ stage and the Red Bull Music Academy Stage, consuming performances from the likes of House pioneer Keri Chandler, Gaiser, and a hip-hop interlude from Method Man performing almost exclusively Wu-Tang cuts, before finishing the first day of Movement with one of dance music’s true stars of the moment, Dixon. With the largest spot in terms of time on the entire Movement bill, Dizon delivered what we’d been hoping for, yet so much more. Dixon truly displayed the modern craft of mixing, taking his listeners on a complete journey and satisfying our need for booming dance music to cap things off. But of course in the Motor City, that wouldn’t be the end of the night, as it was off to a couple more parties.

First we met our friends behind some of the hottest singles in all of House music for INSVNE’s afterparty featuring Sleazy Deep & Sleazy G label boss Rob Made, an interview with our newest BFF’s Thee Cool Cats and opening work from a slew of rising sons including Need & Necessity, Ross Regs, Heartlybeats, Futurpoets and more. By then, it was high time to get over to what affectionately became known as the ‘Techno Dungeon’ by our friends over the week (City Club technically, but we like our christening a bit more) to take in the almighty Innervisions afterparty ‘Motor City Madness’. City Club played host to many of the weekend’s most sought after parties in addition to Movement and just a few hours losing oneself inside its sweltering walls let us know why. Basically somewhere between an abandoned venue and a squat, the ‘Techno Dungeon’ certainly earned its reputation on Night One. With at least 1,000+ people crammed into City Club, there was a musty, humid and ultimately inhuman quality to the air we breathed every night. Indoor cigarette smoke permeated most every room and when it was coupled with the frenetic body heat being expended; we hadn’t felt a party like that since our teenage rave days. And what a glorious return it was; as well as a sign of things to come for the rest of the weekend. Henrik Schwarz played a brilliantly led set of 4:00 a.m. house and techno upstairs in City Club while Dixon put forth yet another three hours of incredible dancefloor curation in the basement… which also featured a makeshift bathroom a couple of partygoers managed to break into to literally relieve themselves in holes where at one time toilets were. Yes, it was that kind of Detroit Techno party. Finally though, around 6:00 a.m., we’d have to adjourn to our room at the Greektown Casino for a brief respite from the dancefloor…



Sunday Songs of the Day

’Claude von Stroke – Who’s Afraid of Detroit’
’Lindstrom – Home Tonight (Fort Romeau Remix)’
’Art Department – The Hunt’
’Hudson Mohawke – Very First Breath (feat. Irfane)’
’Danny Brown – 25 Bucks feat. Purity Ring’

Sunday began with a heavy dose of groove, taking in the Ghostly International Showcase on the THUMP stage, with an irresistible smattering of deep-disco and house from former La Roux keyboardist turned fast rising dance producer, Fort Romeau, followed by some utterly tasteful genre-blurring from Rone before taking in a bouncy slate of House tunes from Oliver Dollar. A brief ince-cream break ensued before we took in some early era Acid and Tech bent by Josh Wink. With warm, humid air, overcast skies and plenty of Stella Artois from the hipster approved Biergarten, it seemed all was calm before the 7:00 hour struck. That hour commenced perhaps one of the most stacked and busiest stretched of artists we’d get to experience over the weekend at Hart Plaza. Luckily for us, Movement’s six-stage setup required no longer than a 5-10 minute walk from any one stage to another, so we managed to take in a 20 minute taste each of the two-step, bass fueled stylings of Hudson Mohawke (who, much to this writer’s delight, played much less trap than we’d expected), a melodic and tech-house tipping Maya Jane Coles experience, and an unfortunately uninterested end to one of Art Department’s last ever shows from both Kenny Glasgow & Jonny White. While it was sad to see the door close on one of dance music’s greatest ever gifts, it was quite easy to see the lack of passion felt for each other at this tage. At least we were there though to close the book with them. We knew following that particular trio of performances would be tough from anyone, but luckily Detroit’s most recognizable rap child Danny Brown was just slinking on stage at the RBMA tent to turn in our favorite lyrically driven show of the entire experience. The hits were there; “Growing Up” and the Purity Ring collaboration “25 Bucks”, yet Brown’s most powerful work manifested on the more ratchet side of his persona. That screeching, inimitable flow sounded even better than on most of Old even, and over the course of our trip, proved to be an absolute shining point. As most of the younger crowd could be found whomping the night away on Movement’s Main Stage for the Skrillex & Boys Noize team known as Dog Blood, while the realest of techno heads were ramping things up with Berghain’s hottest export, Ben Klock, on the Underground Stage; we chose to end our night behind a moving hour and a half of tasteful House and Techno from the Ghostly International founder himself Matthew Dear. There were a number of beautiful sets on Saturday, but none could have held our sometimes overly critical attention like Dear. We were moved from minimal & melodic to buoyant bounce and all the way back, again heralding the New York native’s fluid ability to take on any number of aural aesthetics. After such an engaging finish to Movement Day 2, there was nowhere to go but up, and it was time for our Dirtybird friends’ 10 year anniversary show at Detroit’s legendary Fillmore Theater.


From the moment we waltzed into that legendary space, (which helped build acts like Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips and The Isley Brothers in its infancy) an incredibly inviting air, fueled by loads of energy, pumped through every inch of space. While we unfortunately missed Ardalan and J.Phlip pace the D10 showcase, we arrived in the nick of time for label bosses Justin Martin and Claude Von Stroke who more than satiated our appetite for Dirtybird’s rough and tumble Tech-House. Both entities blazed through most every imprint staple including Shiba San’s “Okay”, Von Stroke & Justin Jay’s joint effort “Sugar and Cinnamon” and a perfect closing tune for the night, “Who’s Afraid of Detroit”. While most of our friends returned to City Club for a few hours before Seth Troxler’s ‘Old Miami’ party started around 7:00 a.m.; it was about 5:00 a.m. and we had another day to take in. Hotel beds never felt so good.



Monday Songs of the Day

’Pleasure Principle (Classixx Recovery Mix)’
’Patrick Topping – Strights Up’
’Route 94 – Shards Of Glass’
’Ten Walls – Sparta’
’Storm Queen – Look Right Through (MK Dub III)’
’Chelsea Wolfe “The Warden” (Maceo Plex Remix)’

Alas, and with a twinge of melancholy, we’d made it to the final day of Movement’s incredible three-day run. And with only the fraction of energy we would’ve preferred, we soldiered on using the backdrop of our favorite dance artists as gasoline. 4:00 p.m. may have been a little later than usual for our arrival, but after making our usual pit-stops at the media tent for a few beers, which had become the source of many a fun interaction over the days; it was right back to it with Patrick Topping setting the tone. In just an hour the Newcastle native made one of the biggest stamps on our weekend with a diverse range of House and Techno, proving why his name is being uttered along with some of the heavyweights out of those aforementioned musical corners. With so many great acts calling for our attention however, we began what had now become a very normal mid-day shuffle between all six stages to take in the likes of Jimmy Edgar & Machinedrum’s JETS duo, the feelgood club-house of Route 94, and Detroit natives The Saunderson brothers lacing up a contemporary take on their city while proud papa Kevin looked on before settling back into the Main Stage for some much needed soulful House and Disco from L.A. tastemakers Classixx. Long one of our favorite all-around projects in any musical capacity as both a live troupe and as disc-jockeys, Classixx dispensed one of the more refreshing slots of Movement. The pair stayed true to the curation-centric aspect of the weekend, dropping everything from MK’s chart topping remix of Storm Queen’s “Look Right Through” to the original mix of Prince’s “Wanna Be Your Lover”, but only offered up one Classixx original in the form of the Nancy Whang featuring “All You’re Waiting For”. With the sun beginning to set, and the singalong vibes behind us, it was time to shift gears towards slightly weightier fare in the form of Lithuanian superstar Ten Walls. Ten Walls’ set read like a playbook of his most notable, bassoon led singles. Tunes that cast him into the mainstream were all played in full  including “Walking With Elephants” and latest offering “Sparta”, but those gear shifting spaces in which we were led to a number of listening realms really held our focus. We’ve come to realize through Ten Walls’ sound, that there’s something about a classical bassoon layed over a 4/4 kick that we’ve not been able to shake since our first listen, and this performance at Movement served to only keep that fire burning. After that performance, it was yet another blur of of friends and tracks, while half of our team split for Maceo Plex and Brodinski. This writer however, managed to catch both. Brodinski’s evolution into hip-hop DJ though, has been somewhat of a letdown for his earliest supporters (myself included) who wanted a bit more of an industrial house edge than a trap-infused fist-pumper… How the times have changed. Maceo Plex of course picked up right where we’d fallen off however. It was a pretty simple decision for us to close out the festivities with two of techno’s most credited pioneers: first with MK then also with 2/3 of the ‘Belleville Three’: Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, as ‘Hi-Tech Soul’ on THUMP’s excellent stage -rather than listen to a 50 year old Snoop Dogg deliver a ‘DJ Set’ (think high-school prom DJ) on the Main, but much of Movement’s crowd didn’t quite share the same zeal. Instead, we were treated to quite an intimate set from a couple of our biggest idols. Not a bad way to end our journey in Hart Plaza.



Of course, our last night couldn’t have ended there? You’re absolutely correct, we had two more absolutely stacked afterparties calling our name, and we weren’t going to disappoint on the last day. First, we joined one of our favorite labels, Black Butter Records for their top-to-bottom stacked night at Populux featuring MK, Lee Foss, Gorgon City and Kidnap Kid. Unfortunately, while only going until 2:00 a.m., we missed a fair share of the entire event before closing with a typically well put-together groovy house set from Kidnap Kid. BBR’s party housed one of the best party vibes of the entire experience, and best looking attendees of any party at that. Just In case you came this far down our review and needed that affirmation. But, with only a few more hours left on our journey, we hightailed it over to TheHundred Presents & Country Club Disco’s closing show to take in sets with option4, Golf Clap, Christian Martin & Moon Boots. While not quite as full as expected, the intimate party was exactly what the doctor ordered for the last day: a family. Hugs were being doled out left and right, full rounds of drinks were being bought for strangers and every artist more than brought their A-Game to the DJ booth. We couldn’t have lost our Movement Festival V-Cards with anyone else than the group we were with. After a drunken stumble for Chili-Dogs, fries and ‘Loose-Burgers’ the only thought on our mind as we pumped the remainder of our money into a cruel Blackjack table was: “We made it”!


Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival set the bar for what an all-around music festival based around dance music should be. And we can’t think of a better way to sum it up than with a direct quote from our friend Benjamin Giordano: “Somewhat of a forgotten city, what you can get away with in this beautiful metropolis you really can’t anywhere else. Every city has its unique qualities. In a day and age when everything is so sanitized, Detroit has a grit that cities like New York polished out decades ago. The vibe is dank, industrial, sometimes dungeonous, and always unpretentious, relentless, and hedonistic. I was so glad to have shared such a fantastic trip with the likes of some of my favorite people in the world. New friends were made and an unexpectedly intense romance was formed with a very special city.” We’ve echoed those same sentiments since our return and are looking forward to many more years of Movement under Paxahau’s direction. Until 2016…

This has been 4 Days In the Life of a Ninja at Movement.

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