Thursday, January 5, 2012

More of the same...

Tonight in Tokyo Jeff Mills will be debuting his latest project, 'The Messenger', at club Air. Will I be going? No. It's not because I am not interested, quite the opposite: I would really love to be there. But... tomorrow is a normal working day for me (and for basically everyone else). The party tonight doesn't open until 11pm and there is a support DJ, so I am guessing Mills would start at midnight at the very earliest, but probably a bit later. In addition, they haven't listed set times, which makes it difficult to decide whether to try going for a short time. I am presuming it is on a Thursday night because of scheduling issues for Air and/or Mills, and that is fine, I am totally ok with mid-week gigs. But... I don't understand why they have to schedule it at such a prohibitive time. Given it is a weeknight, why do they have to run it like a normal club night? Why can't they have it starting at a more reasonable time - say opening at 9pm, with Jeff starting at 10pm or something similar? And especially given this is a more of a conceptual event, an earlier time slot shouldn't matter. This is just yet another example of how difficult it is for us to think differently about presenting techno / electronic music. Why must it only take place in the middle of the night? We listen to the music during the day and evening on our ipods and at our homes etc., surely we can go dance to it at these times too? This is one of the things I like most about a place like Berghain, the fact that you can sleep through the night, wake up and go there in the morning or at lunchtime and have a dance. You needn't stay up all night long (even though many do). Admittedly, this is hardly a new frustration, but the reason I raise it here is because I have read in interviews with Jeff Mills where he calls for different forms of electronic music events and different ways of collectively engaging with the music. Yet here we have a new project of his, but presented in the exact format (in the middle of the night) on a workday. I am disappointed Mills and the club could not have been a bit more flexible or creative. And while the club might have had a preference for it being an all night event, the pulling power of Jeff Mills in Japan is such that I am sure it could have been at a different/earlier time, should he have desired. With tonight, so be it, I am sure Jeff will be great, and I will miss it because I have an early start at work tomorrow. But on a larger scale, I feel until we collectively start becoming more creative about trying to push electronic music out of the singular context of all night clubbing, it will continue to unnecessarily limit the way we engage with the music.


  1. It's an age-old problem but I agree entirely.

    I'm very much a morning person and actually very rarely go out to clubs at all now, you're talking maybe 3 or 4 times per year, the late-night aspect of it all is basically too much hassle, whereas I go to far more gigs that are on earlier in the evening.

    It's a real shame, but on a cost benefit analysis it just isn't worth it most of the time as I've got other stuff to get on with.

    It takes it back to the issue again of the purpose of "dance music" when in fact I listen to it almost exclusively at my computer or on headphones and very rarely hear tunes I like out which was obviously their primary purpose.

    To this particular example, it makes no sense at all to have Mills that late on a Thursday. Who is their target audience?

  2. well im not a late nighter also, but maybe this is THE concept, of a night on a normal day ? get a sleep before the party 3-4 hours and youre set.. ?

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  4. totally agree with you here, no jeff for me tonight, eventhough he is my ultimate hero...

    this sucks on multiple levels,
    wish it had been earlier, and at WWW...

  5. Can understand the frustration. Presumably though Tokyo is cosmopolitan enough to support an audience for Mills at that time of day midweek, so I guess it'll still be busy. Is it a test of faith? Belief and faith seem to be themes in his work recently, what with all the stuff about UFOs.

    "on a larger scale, I feel until we collectively start becoming more creative about trying to push electronic music out of the singular context of all night clubbing, it will continue to unnecessarily limit the way we engage with the music"

    well said. when Mills released Metropolis many moons ago he did a show at the Royal Festival Hall in London at a reasonable hour of the evening and it was a huge success. that was the first time i'd come across techno taken out of the context of the club (tho it wasn't long after he started DJing that seats were abandoned and everyone started dancing). i guess having those sort of events going on is a good outlet for experimentation. you might here something a bit more imaginative or evocative when DJs are freed from 3am Saturday night pressures.

    i agree that different contexts for the music should get more attention. there's already Dommune and Ustream, internet radio, Second Life and ResLive where regular performances are happening and reaching a global audience (nice if you live somewhere like New Zealand, as i do). i also like the social dimension that Twitter and chatrooms add - it's not isolated listening any more, it's communal. if only Mills would broadcast his performance on the internet! we could all talk shit on twitter and #TheBells would start trending! i wonder if these online outlets for live music will change anything about the music itself?

  6. We've got Legowelt and Sven Weisemann this month both on Thursday nights (in Boston).

    I understand when it happens in satellite towns and I can only hope that the parties are run with the working folk in mind...though I imagine the uni kids around here couldn't care less.

    Moving music forward works for so many reasons, way more likely to introduce new people to a gig with the main act at 9-10pm rather than 2am...I've never understood why so many new nights try and go from 11pm-6am from the get go with a crowd of maybe 50 across the whole night.

  7. ya earlier party times, no after-parties and bring back p.l.u.r. information stations!

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  9. totally on board with presenting this music in earlier and more accesible times. thats why day parties rules so much outdoors, but also...indoors.

  10. Totally agree.... i have the same wishes about electronic music events being held on evenings..... weekdays gigs at such a late time are just a hassle

  11. I am so into the Campaign For Daytime Dancing!!! promoters & club owners LISTEN UP!!!!!

  12. I work way early in the morning, often even during weekends. Daytime, or even early evening events would be fantastic. It'd certainly bring in new crowds. I might even be able to convince friends and coworkers to give it try.

    Seeing Vladislav Delay perform in an open courtyard of a renaissance church in Rome on a beautiful crisp day is one of my most cherished music memories.

  13. the only reason you can dance at lunch at Berghain is because they don't close after they open up on Saturday night. I guess that's stating the obvious -- sorry -- but my point is that the music is indeed presented during the middle of the night, in the very traditional way, just like it is pretty much anywhere else that caters to a bunch of aging ravers.

    Anyone who goes in at noon on a Sunday knows Panorama Bar is delightfully fucked up at this point -- it has nothing to do with throwing an early gig for the unfortunate chin strokers who have to get up the next mornings...they're hardly thinking outside the lines, they're simply pushing them beyond what is considered even remotely responsible.

    which makes them 100% berlin and 100% awesome.

    damn -- you guys totally team up and ruthlessly berate a poor chap a few weeks back for complaining about the bitrate of your podcasts, only to turn around and childishly chide some dudes for bringing JEFF MILLS mid- week?

    *rolls eyes*

  14. I think you have totally missed the point of the article...

    It acknowledges that most of the people at Berghain/Pbar have been up all night and are still going, but the fact that you can go in on a morning/afternoon after a good sleep is quite refreshing, and that perhaps promoters and DJs should take note of this fact. The large majority of people enjoy that "up all night" aspect of club life (myself included) but I imagine there are plenty of folks who love dance music that don't necessarily like this format, or have life commitments that hinder their ability to stay out all night long to see their favourite artists (such as Mr. Disco here).

    I think if you actually read the article you would also find that they are not berating Jeff Mills or the promoter for putting on an event mid-week but putting him on mid-week at an unreasonable hour for people with work or life commitments.

    This blog is all about pushing boundaries/doing things differently, I would imagine someone who reads it often enough to comment on it (and even bring up previous posts) would understand that and see where they are coming from.

  15. I totally agree with that. Barcelona might be the place where everything starts later...

    By the way, is there any possibility to get the tracklisting for the mnml ssgs mix23 by natural/electronic.system.?

    Thanks for the blog!

  16. Last summer I saw ricardo villalobos in paris. He didn't show up before 4 a.m., I fell asleep in the club around 4:30, and woke up 30 minutes before the end (and I love villalobos, though maybe the set was quite boring, but I didn't really saw it so ...).
    I love techno music, and I also love sleeping a lot. I don't think both things are opposite.
    Techno has certainly something to do with self-surpassing,beating the night, beating the death, but it certainly does not mean doing what you can't do. Taking substances just in order to stay awake, even just coffee, is sad and stupid (though I did it).
    I'm glad that I've read you're post, and glad to see that other people start to think differently.
    You're touching a more fundamental question about what is our consumption of music (and I use consumption on purpose).
    And day-dancing is certainly not the answer.
    Thank you.

  17. Vladislav Delay talks about something similar in this recent interview. Specifically about his time slot at Berghain at the Raster-Noton party.

  18. even though it's sucks sometimes, in america we have "last call". no drinks after 2:30am in oregon, meaning ALL shows end by that point, as the venue stops making money on drink sales. this usually puts the headliners on around 10p-12a. it'd be great to have bars open all night, but the only people that drink that late are destined for a painful next day.

    there is no last call in japan?

  19. SO TRUE CHRIS! For a weeknight gig there is no excuse - though my guess is the venue prefer later sets so that they can take heaps of money on the bar.

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  21. I'm a busy, married father of one child with another on the way. As a devotee of techno music I would appreciate some more 'family friendly' set times and/or events. I don't mean I want to bring the family and set-up a picnic, but something we (my wife included) could go to that is not a festival (*vomit.)

    If afternoon, indoor events could take place that would be ideal. Maybe a matinee of sorts. Like when you see a midday film and you come outside and you're all like 'whoa, bright outside'.

    This would allow us the musical and social connection we require from time to time.


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