In Detroit, dedicated electronic music fans lovingly refer to Memorial Day weekend as “Techno Christmas.” Any account of Detroit’s storied musical history is incomplete without mentioning the origins of techno music and the many iterations of what is now Movement Electronic Music Festival.
In celebration of what is without a doubt, one of the world’s premiere exhibitions of electronic music, PLAYGROUND has you covered with our annual festival day guide of the emerging and major performances that you need to see, all weekend long. Check out Saturday’s top DJ sets you do not want to miss.
Al Ester B2B Earl “Mixin” McKinney (2pm-4pm, Stargate)
While there are plenty of reasons to stay up in the nights leading up to the festival, Saturday is the best day to suggest that you arrive when gates open (see our after party guide for more details, coming soon). What better way to start off the festival than by seeing a B2B set from two of Detroit’s finest longtime selectors?
DJ Al Ester has been earning his place in Detroit’s electronic scene since he was 13 years old, and he has continued to feed his love for music for close to three decades, despite keeping a relatively low profile and being somewhat selective about his live appearances.
Earl “Mixin” McKinney’s track record spans just as long, and his journey has taken him from the halls of Mumford High School in Detroit (where he was an audio / visual aid) to sharing booths with some of the biggest names in house music. From his artist bio: “(McKinney) is a beast on any medium, but vinyl is where his skill and longevity in the game are at its best.”
Featured Mix: https://soundcloud.com/emixxin313/party-favors-cttp
DJ Holographic (3:30-5pm, Red Bull Stage)
Detroit’s DJ Holographic is on a mission to “serve a mix of musical cuisine that contains consuming house beats, passionate R&B with Hip Hop, unreserved disco, true Detroit Techno, and Motown.” She has spent the past year traveling to play for crowds around the world, and has DJ’d at most every notable underground venue in her hometown as well.
Her work embodies an emphasis on paying tribute to electronic music’s roots and how they are entwined with the LGBTQ+ community, and she is currently spending much of her time in the studio at Submerge working on her first release. She also hosts a monthly radio show on Red Bull Radio called Stardust that is broadcast live from Red Bull Studio in Detroit, and her next episode airs this Friday at 4pm, aptly titled, “Because of Detroit.”
MGUN (4pm-6pm, Movement Stage):
2019 marks the first time MGUN is performing at the festival, fresh off his latest release FP002 //The Nerve EP, now available here. Before he was ‘MGUN,’ Manuel Gonzalez first emerged with the Wild Oats released “Laygo My Faygo” as part of NSNT PRJCT alongside Kyle Hall in 2010. In 2012 he first began releasing 12″ EPs as MGUN, starting with Harmnear on Wild Oats and The Upstairs Apt. on U.K. label Don’t Be Afraid.
Since then, he has continued to create his experimental, genre-defying sound using analog equipment and recording most of his music in one take directly to cassette. After taking 2015 off, he resumed his release schedule in 2016 with the debut MGUN full-length Gentium, on Don’t Be Afraid.
He followed in 2018 with Axiom, which was recorded between shifts at Peoples Records in Detroit, where Gonzales “absorbs endless releases and rediscoveries passing through the stock, trading the occasional tip with some of Detroit’s best known producers.” Check out Gonzalez’s release FP002 //The Nerve EP here.
Maya Jane Coles (7pm-8:30pm, Pyramid Stage)
Maya Jane Coles was first Brough into music by the mixture of sounds she heard at home, from dub to punk to soul to jazz to world to classical. Maya began to pick up a few instruments herself and started to produce at a young age, and now it is typical for her to have written, produced, engineered, arranged, mixed, and performed every element of her tracks.
Performing under a number of monikers and as a part of several groups, by the age of 24 Maya had already played in over 30 countries at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. 2017’s ‘Take Flight,’ released on her label I/AM/ME, is certainly a highlight of her impressive discography, as is her “Waves & Whirlwinds EP” from earlier this year, which you can listen to below:
Virgil Abloh (8:30pm-10pm, Pyramid Stage):
Though he is best known for his work as a fashion designer with his brand OFF-WHITE and his recent position as Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton, perhaps fewer people know that Virgil Abloh has been DJing under the name Flat White since as early as 1998.
His affinity for music has certainly been influenced by his relationship with Kanye West, and his musical pursuits have brought him to venues around the world (he has played City Club with Brodinski and Detroit’s own Black Noi$e) and earned him placements at some of music’s biggest festivals. If anything, the set will be a rare chance to see a master of several disciplines making time for a passion that has also become something more, another piece of Abloh’s creative identity that surely cross-pollinates with his work beyond music.
LSD (10pm-11:30pm, Underground Stage)
Each member of LSD, in their own right, has left a significant mark on techno music over the last two decades. As a group, Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell, David Sumner form a synergistic combination of their individual talents and tendencies, blurring the line between DJing and live performance to their mutual benefit. With their three track debut on Ostgut Ton, Process, as well as the upcoming launch of their self-titled label, the group is preparing for an exciting year as they pursue the intrinsic chemistry and improvisational nature of their latest collaboration. Imagine a very promising b2b2b set, except refined by time and nurtured by a shared appreciation for the potential in what the trio has created together.
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