Saturday, October 28, 2006

Play Mini Golf Not Minimal


Akufen spinning at RX Gallery.

Last weekend Montreal minimal techno artist Akufen threw down at Rx Gallery in San Francisco's charming Tenderloin district. Oddly (or not), there's been a wave of rediscovery of Akufen's 2002 track "Skidoos" from the album "My Way" on Force Tracks by, uh, shal we say "progressive" house DJs. That's right, Sasha and Ferry Corsten are down with glitch now. More power to the man known to his friends as Marc Leclair.

Opening up for Akufen was Sutekh, who's set was eclectic, moving from disjointed Latin rhythms through pumping techno. It was an expansive, confidently delivered array of inventive electronic music motifs from this veteran. Great to hear Sutekh's sound expanding, diversifying and remaining unpredictable.

Which is more than I can say for Leclair whose by-the-numbers dancefloor techno was heavy on the moderately mininmal bump and grind, properly "up" for a Saturday night crowd. Twas not a "listeners" set--and why should it have been? People came to dance.

But the problem is DJs can lapse into safety zones of "impact" beats--records who's only purpose is to work the dynamics of the speaker boxes, not paint colors on the inside of one's brain. As such myself and others could basically predict every track's bass drop or highhat addiction/subtraction.

That's not to say Akufen was on autopilot--hardly. He knows his techno. But he could have taken more risks and kept the crowd, SF goes for the moody and different, even on a Saturday. All told, minigolf might have been the more satisfying option...

*photos, Robin Russell.