Want to get pumped for the famed Detroit Electronic Music Festival later this month? This Fri., May 1, there are two local events for lovers of electronic beats: the free Adult. show, and a "lock-in" later at 10 p.m. in the Machine Age Studios warehouse on Bigelow Boulevard near the Bloomfield Bridge.
What's a "lock-in"?
"It means there's no in and out," explains Machine Age co-proprietor Shawn Rudiman, who will play a live set, along with Technoir Audio operatives Jwan Allen and Chris O'Connor. "It's to make sure people get there on time. You show up and you stay, hang out, enjoy the music, however you want to do it."
The main attraction is a super-rare appearance by Berlin-based techno pioneer Stewart Walker. His resume in electronic dance music is impeccable, and he'll be doing something seldom seen in a world otherwise comprised of rave DJs: Walker performs with just an Akai MPC2000 sampler and a mixer.
Rudiman, however, is more into an elaborate technical setup when he unleashes his electronics. "I'm very much into gear," he says. "I would call myself an enthusiast, because everything's good -- not just hardware, but anything that makes sounds work." On Friday, "It'll be melodic, kind of driving, probably a little housey, going between Chicago and Detroit and a bit of London and Berlin. A lot of it is improvised on my end."
And new sounds are what Rudiman, a respected techno producer, has been generating with a double-vinyl album called Machine Soul Terminal, released on Sweden's Finest Blends label. "It's definitely soulful Detroit techno, but with a slight sprinkling of EBM, industrial and synthpop."
Rudiman's even been reviving his original baby, THD, an EBM-oriented affair which in years past released four albums, three EPs and a basketful of remixes on some famous industrial labels. Two new THD albums will be coming out, Rudiman says, in download format. "A lot of people knew our first album because Cleopatra [Records] licensed it. We were a Frontline Assembly rip-off when that sound was real hot. But everyone makes their freshman mistakes. The more you evolve, the more you keep losing [peripheral] fans, but the fans who do stick around are loyal, repeat customers."
With more European jaunts in the works (he visited Dublin in November) and an increased release schedule, Rudiman looks forward to the near-future of his techno career. "I haven't really been pushing too much on touring. Other things in life keep consuming me. But it seems it's happening again, all by itself."
Tickets to the Stewart Walker lock-in are available at www.humanaut.net.