Los Angeles on a Friday evening can provide such an amazing variation of discrete musical events to choose from, meaning that dance lovers looking for a late-night techno party don’t have to go very far to find one. This situation is due to the work of many L.A .promoters who are currently banding together to create new alliances, helping to curate events that satisfy even the most discerning of techno enthusiasts—and the techno community in L.A. is reaping the rewards. Spend a night on the dance floors of techno advocates such as Droid Behavior or Mount Analog, and you will quickly see how dedicated the dance music community in L.A . continues to be.
Mount Analog does a couple of things really well, and one of them is carefully craft forward-thinking label nights that mix performances and impressive DJ sets at their Nuit Noire series. Droid Behavior is no stranger to large-scale international techno productions as well, with legendary lineups joining them during their long-running event series, PRIME. Das Bunker also contributes to the techno landscape in L.A., and all three of these promoters teamed up to create a supergroup—this past Friday, May 15, at Lot 613, they presented an incredible evening featuring the L.A. film debut of Industrial Soundtrack To The Urban Decay, DJ sets by Raiz and Rev. John, a live performance by Youth Code, and a Jealous God label lineup featuring Broken English Club, Silent Servant, Terence Fixmer, and James Ruskin.
The night started out with a special "history of industrial" DJ set from Raiz, showcasing some of the seminal tracks that took industrial music out of the manufacturing plants and factories and onto the stage. This mix of the familiar and the historic was a great way to get attendees prepared for the screening of the film. Industrial Soundtrack To The Urban Decay is a documentary about the creation of the industrial-music scene, and speaks about the industrial and Dada art movements that surrounded and inspired a new wave of creativity. Directed by Amélie Ravalec and Travis Collins, and starring industrial music stalwarts such as Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, NON and Clock DVA, the film serves as a history lesson on how they created and nurtured the industrial-music revolution. By the time the credits were rolling, we were quickly welcomed by yet another transitional DJ set, this one by Das Bunker’s own Rev. John. Soon after that, the crowd moved back as a large standing metal rack of drum machines and keyboards was quickly wheeled to the front of the dance floor for performance by Youth Code.
Youth Code members Ryan William George and Sara Taylor put on an energetic live show that featured fast post-punk industrial beats, along with screaming vocals from both members. Ryan operated a three-tier hardware rack with a microphone cord wrapped around his neck, while Sara engaged the crowd, getting everyone to move closer while she screamed and climbed speaker stacks with aggressive bliss. After Youth Code finished up with their punishing set, it was time for the Jealous God label members to take over.
Jealous God is run by former Sandwell District members Karl O’Connor (a.k.a. Regis) and Juan Mendez (a.k.a. Silent Servant), along with Blueprint label boss James Ruskin. True to the night, Silent Servant presented a mix of genres and selections that showed his love for all things punk and industrial—Broken English Club, who also goes by his given name of Oliver Ho, then took us on a trip that included droning percussion with live vocals sprinkled over high hats and minimal loops that slow-boiled into drum crashes. While Ho swayed and snapped his one-word vocals, Terence Fixmer set up his hardware for a live performance. With a release coming out on Ostgut Ton on June 8th, and with a plethora of label releases under his belt that includse CLR, Prologue, and Electric Deluxe. Fixmer has built a reputation as a versatile producer and a master of blistering live sets. He built the energy up by adding layer upon layer of drums while slowly introducing new elements that brought the tempo up to a fever pitch, finally handing the controls off to the long awaited Los Angeles debut of James Ruskin.
The Blueprint label head has been producing music for over 15 years, and with releases on Tresor, Ostgut Ton, and Coda, Ruskin is the only person to share a release on Surgeon’s label, Dynamic Tension. Within a couple of tracks, Ruskin proceeded to put on a clinic, demonstrating how a Funktion-One sound system can make a crowd who stayed past 3 in the morning turn into a complete frenzy. Aggressive backspins, masterful mixing, and old school pitch shifting tricks were all applied with a renaissance touch reminiscent of Ben Sims with a gentler hand. At one point Ruskin moved from relentless techno into breaks layered over a 4/4 beat, then shifted the entire tempo into half time before closing the circle and bringing the tempo back to it’s original pace. James is never at the mercy of a track, and his mixing style suggests that he can make a song do whatever he wants, whenever he feels the time is ready.
While the venue could certainly scale down on the flashlight wandering security staff on the dance floor, the bartenders and the staff outside create an inviting place where a full scale music production and a film premier can come together and have a cohesive night. The crowd stuck around well past the end of the music to give the promoters and the artists their gratitude and well wishes. All of the promoters and artists involved really put on a special night for the techno community, and that is why those in that community continue to support them passionately.