I’m all for the whole concept of saving the best for last, but the third day of Detroit’s Movement festival may have overdone it with the it’s final line-up. Beyond the stacked bill that included some of the true greats in techno, from Germany and the U.S., waves of unfriendly storm clouds drastically reduced the turnout and even prevented some performers, like Radioslave, who’s set many were very much looking forward to, from appearing at all. Rain and my inability to be in multiple places at one time aside, those—artists and fans alike—that did get past the gloom were treated to an easy-going last day of records and revelry.
Walking around the festival mid-Monday afternoon, most stages boasted laidback programming, but none more so than the Red Bull stage where four of dance music’s greatest innovators joined forces as the Moritz Von Oswald trio (the Detroit edition). I call it the Detroit edition because Oswald, of Basic Channel fame, was joined by his usual collaborators in the trio, Finland’s Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Luomo and Vladislav Delay) on drums and fellow Berliner Max Loderbauer on synths and programming, but also by Detroit legend Carl Craig, who worked a mysterious box, connecting and reconnecting various wires to manipulate sounds. The group, which makes epic atmospheric techno soundscapes, delved into one song after another, strung together as one long tapestry of sound. The melodies and rhythms grew and built as texture upon texture were added to one another, working up a hypnotizing groove that had everyone in the audience completely mesmerized. Unfortunately, at about the half hour mark, a power chord gave out, cutting sound for 15 minutes and setting back the performance’s momentum. But all returned to the stage after the break and were right back at it, lifting people’s spirits yet again.
Oswald and company were followed by Hamburg-based sensation DJ Koze, whose deep and left-field pop take on techno and house has been attracting new fans by the dozens in recent years. Thanks to a background as a hip-hop DJ and a brief stint in the pop world as Fischmob, Koze has an unorthodox performance style that switches gears and vibes frequently, keeping all on their toes and taking their mind off the rain which picked up again during his set.
Following up one of his label’s star artists, Kompakt’s Michael Mayer, kicked up the intensity for his sunset set. Unfortunately the sun was nowhere to be found, but that didn’t stop him from rolling out one euphoric stomper after another. His set bordered more on the ravey side of things, but he rounded it out with the emotive techno that he’s most known for.
Heading over to the Beatport stage I was saddened to find that Radioslave was unable to make the festival, but, back at the Red Bull stage—which had my undivided attention on this final day—a closing set from Get Physical’s Booka Shade, who are just off a new studio album, redeemed all disappointment with a light and sound spectacle that was as all-encompassing and impressive as anyone could have dreamed of. The tent was jammed and everyone was jamming. Hats off to Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier for sending us out on as high a note as possible. See you next year.