Microtones Event Series to Debut in Detroit Exploring Community Building Through Creative Expression
It is no secret that Detroit and New York artist communities have a synergetic and long-standing connection. As Ithaca, New York’s Microtones event series debuts in Detroit on March 11, 2022, attendants are called to consider relatedness, and their broader impact on people and places through an experimental immersion in creative expression.
Microtones will debut its first show in Detroit on March 11, 2022 from 8 pm to 4 am at a well-known home for Detroit electronic music, Tangent Gallery. The Ithaca founded event series and label has thrown over 30 shows to date, historically taking place at Forest City Lodge #180, Ithaca’s oldest remaining Black business and a significant cultural site in Ithaca’s community. Through Microtones’ previous ‘wave~seed’ and ‘Acid Guardian’ fundraising series, they have generated over $2500 for a variety of organizations and causes.
With the Detroit show, Microtones continues to thread community building into its ethos, while turning its attention to Detroit-based artists and organizations. The event series and label wishes to play a small role in helping to bring people together, build camaraderie through art and music, and convert sound into tangible support for people.
The date of the Detroit event, March 11, is a poignant day for Microtones organizer and recent resident Maro Kariya (@otodojo) as it’s the 11th anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, a M9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that took the lives of 19,474 people and devastated the lives of many more, including Maro’s relatives.
After the tsunami, Maro witnessed the tenacity of the people in their relatives’ hometown whom quickly returned to rebuilding their lives and supporting others through mutual aid. Maro wishes to transmit this spirit through Microtones events.
The inaugural Detroit show features four back-to-back sets from a variety of electronic music DJs and an on-site art installation by KMAA, a small but wildly innovative group of artists in Detroit consisting of locally based creators Katie Hawley, Margaret O’Sullivan, Ashley Cook, and Andrew Charles Edman. Together, these artists have actualized alluring visuals to accompany the show’s music.
The lineup of DJs features some of Detroit’s favorites, while offering a chance to hear visiting artists from New York. Beginning the evening are Indy Nyles + Otodojo, followed by Craig Gonzalez + Dru Ruiz, special guests Lychee + Guilt Attendant from NYC, and closing out the evening are Jem + Fusegrade.
Event organizer Maro Kariya had a unique reasoning in mind while making the decision to have all djs play in pairs:
The aim of the show is to bring people together and build stronger communities, I think a large part of this is simply working together on projects – within a b2b, the DJs are tasked with communicating with each other and building off of the energy that they’ve each generated individually. They mix their own unique styles and create blends that would probably not have existed on their own. The process presents unique challenges that reflect ones we face every day: communicating our intentions clearly, working across difference, improvising when things don’t go according to plan, etc. I’m not an expert on the b2b format whatsoever but what I’ve learned so far is that it encourages listening, which is the first step to building anything together.
Profits from this Microtones show will be shared with the artists (75%) and Detroit Community Technology Project (25%), a local initiative with a mission to, “use and create technology rooted in community needs that strengthens neighbors’ connection to each other, and to the planet.”
Photo Credits: Brian Roller, Jacob Mroczek