The choice was between sleep and techno on Sunday, and I think I chose wisely.
The party, put on by Blkmarket Membership, was originally supposed to be a warehouse affair the night before, but because of concerns following some issues with police over Halloween, they moved it to Sunday night and to a licensed venue in Highline Ballroom. Although the time was unfortunate, the venue happily accommodated the around 1,000 fans who showed up for Richie Hawtin, his labelmate Gaiser, and Droog.
I arrived shortly before midnight, thankfully with tickets still available, and arrived as Droog was finishing up. The spirit of minimalism was alive and well, austere beats with limited accompaniment vibrating through the room. Gaiser threw in some build-ups and breakdowns, enticing the crowd to move harder. The tension between restraint and movement is key to this sort of music, and the best DJs are the ones who can create dynamic arrangements with a limited palette. Gaiser demonstrated as much with a creative set.
Richie Hawtin brought the thunder. With relentless, consistently danceable selection, Hawtin melded the ambient leanings of his early days with a fluid modernism. Although ostensibly a tour supporting the release of the Plastikman Arkives, his set was informed by the decades since those releases.
"People want to feel a part of something," Hawtin says at the beginning an interview with Spinner, and despite the coldness of the music, there's an intense sense of community that seems largely absent in the guitar world. Hearing music is one thing - responding is another. Apparently Hawtin was feeling the crowd so much that he extended his set until 4:30, which definitely beats the canned three-song encore.
Here's some live footage from the event. More on YouTube, and check out some Hawtin mixes here. But as the man says, nothing replaces being there. Speaking of which, Blkmarket has some stellar stuff coming up, including Magda and Marc Houle at District 36 on Dec. 3, and DJ Koze, Isolée and Cassy at Santos Party House on Dec. 4.
Rest of the photos after the jump.