Over the Memorial Day weekend, Detroit’s Hart Plaza turned into a massive techno party. While it’s impossible to be “pure”, the overwhelming presence of the early Detroit sound, the current Detroit scene, the towers of General Motors, and the friendly wave of the maple leaf across the water made clear that this was not an EDM, House, Industrial, or Electro festival, but Techno, and all that respects it. Representing the original Detroit scene were Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Juan Atkins, Octave One, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, and more. Over 200 performers took the stage over a weekend that ranged from sunny and hot, to drenching downpour, and even some worrisome winds. But nothing could stop the show for long, and the impressive production of Paxahau kept people moving and grooving.
It was an overwhelming three days of high-volume music, spread over six stages, in a concrete park that had architectural whiffs of archaic industrialism, perhaps a hint of soviet brutalism). It’s in this expansive park that the Movement Festival takes on an insular atmosphere of fun; a safe bubble where people are friendly, open, and ready to smile and dance.
While many fans of music may find techno repetitive or abrasive, there is one point of the culture that was striking. Unlike many musicians who came up in the late 80’s and early 90’s that play in 2017, none of the scene’s originals (Hawtin, Craig, Atkins etc) relied on their old hits, image, or even much reference to their past. All tried new things, all pushed their art forward, incorporating new technology, sounds, and modern ideas. The newer DJs and performers found new beats, new bands, and new threads to chase from the funky band of Soul Clap, to the Deadmau5 techno alter-ego Testpilot, to the bouncing melodies of Kate Simko.
Sensel was proud to be a technology sponsor of Movement, as a way of introducing our own new contribution to creative work to the artists of Movement. We look forward to being a part of all music in the coming years, pushing (pressuring?) it into new directions and new sounds.
all photos © 2017 Peter Nyboer