Music » Livewire

High Tech Soul

With Alan Oldham (DJ T-1000) and Tek-Know. Saturday, February 10, at View.

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Detroit techno artists -- and the decrepit city from which they sprang -- have been mythologized by journalists and clubbers for years. But much of their futuristic yet soulful dance music remains unheard and hard to find, which is why the prospect of viewing Gary Bredow's High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music is exciting. The director has a golden opportunity to shed much-needed light on a genre that's wrought worldwide impact. And while Bredow adds yet more sheen to the legend of Motown's techno pioneers (the Bellevue 3 -- Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson -- plus Eddie Fowlkes), he also humanizes them through frank interviews.

While a documentary on this topic is overdue, the well-intentioned High Tech Soul doesn't quite do its subject justice: One, it's too short (just 64 minutes). Two, it slights the importance of crucial second-wave producers like Robert Hood and Jeff Mills. And three, the film loses focus as it draws further away from the pioneers' '80s heyday, mirroring the artists' own diminished creative output after that decade. That being said, High Tech Soul adequately explores the social forces that catalyzed Detroit's techno artists, and Bredow's interviews with the Bellevue 3 are entertaining and illuminating. Speaking of which, respected and articulate second-wave techno DJ/producer Alan Oldham should provide further historical context and edification at View tonight.

Rounding out the bill is local collective Tek-Know, whose intricately designed, club-friendly minimal techno recalls Windsor, Ontario's excellent M-nus Records roster.

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