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May 22, 2000 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-05-22

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ARTS

IO MONDAY,
MAY 22, 2000

Rock and roll all night...
KISS will be storming through the Pala
of Auburn Hills this Wednesday an@
Thursday w/ Ted Nugent and Skid Row
michigandaily.com/Ar

Detroit hosts world's
largest electronic
music festival

'Mer de Noms' not
Tool, but not bad.

By Jason Birchmelor
DIy Arts Writer
After 15 years of lurking in the
shadows, techno music will be recog-
nized this weekend in the city where
the music origi-
nated. From
Saturday after-
noon until
DEMF Monday night,
Hart Plaza in
Hart Plaza, Detroit d o w n t o w n
May 27-29 Detroit will fea-
ture four stages
of continuous
electronic music
free of charge
featuring over 70
artists along with
plenty of non-
musical enter-
tainment.
Titled The Detroit Electronic Music
Festival, this Woodstock-scale event
claims to be the world's largest festival
of its kind. 'As the organization
responsible for the unprecedented suc-
cess of the city's annual jazz festival,
Pop Cuiture Media expects up to one
million people to descend on the
downtown area alongside the river
beneath the Renaissance Center.
In addition to the marketing power
of Pop Culture Media, Detroit legend
Carl Craig will serve as the festival's
artistic director. In addition to nearly
every significant electronic musician
in Detroit - and there are many -
Craig has also booked international
talent to bring eclecticism to the

event. Techno artists dominate the
line-up, along with some non-techno
artists such as Mos Def and Detroit's
most acknowledged radio DJ, Gary
Chandler.
Arguably the most recognized tech-
no artist in the world, Richie Hawtin
will close the festival on Monday
night, preceded by Detroit legend
Derrick May and Rolando, one of
techno's rising stars. The highly
respected group The Roots will head-
line Saturday night with their rare
style of live hip-hop. Another one of
Detroit's rising stars, Stacey Pullen,
will headline Friday night.
While the idea of a huge festival
with some of the world's best elec-
tronic music artists free of charge will
surely be fun for all, there is a deeper
significance to this event. The festival
signals the first time the city has rec-
ognized the camp of world-renowned
artists who call Detroit home. In the
early '90s, many of Detroit's best tal-
ents such as Derrick May and Stacey
Pullen fled the city for Europe, where
they were treated like superstars.
Though some returned, others such
as Jeff Mills remained, opting for a
life where they were respected for
their artistry. Once Detroit's most pop-
ular DJ in the late '80s and now con-
sidered the world's most popular tech-
no artist, Mills announced his first
Detroit appearance in years at St.
Andrews Hall this past Thanksgiving
weekend. Sadly, the performance was
canceled due to a lack of ticket sales,
illustrating exactly how little respect
these artists receive in their home-

Coesy fNovaute
Headliner Richie Hawtin Is one of 70
artists performing at the festival
town.
"This festival is important for the
city," Pullen explained. "The people
of Detroit know about the music, but
we aren't educated on the music. We
don't have the media that we need to
support the music. .If you don't have a
magazine or radio and only one or two
clubs, people aren't going to know
about the music. It's really important
for everybody that normally comes
down for the ethnic festivals to be
turned onto this music. It's Detroit
music so it's time for a little educa-
tion.
Another interesting situation
involves Detroit's enormous black
community. Back in the mid to late
'80s, an almost exclusively black
clientele frequented the original tech-
no clubs such as The Music Institute.
To this day, many of the city's premier
producers and DJs are black, yet white
suburbanites comprise the majority of
techno's audience.
Pullen explained the strange racial
divide: "I'm from the old school. I
started Ding in 1985 and have been
kicking it with guys like Derrick May
See DEMF, Page 12

Every few years, a group of estab-
lished musicians from various bands
comes together to create an album of
experimental music. From USA For
Africa to Temple of the Dog, these side
projects are often
well received and
Grade: B occasionally
A Perfect aren't, but they
never fail to cre-
Cilde ate a buzz among
Mer de Noms music fans and
Virgn critics alike: The
Reviewed by latest name to
Day} Arts Wrier join these ranks is
David Reamer A Perfect Circle,
spearheaded by
Tool's Maynard James Keenan and gui-
tarist Billy Howerdel, who has worked
with Tool, The Smashing Pumpkins,
and Nine Inch Nails. The other mem-
bers of the band, Troy Van Leeuwen,
Josh Freese, and Paz Lenchantin, have
numerous projects under their belts,
including work with Failure, Guns N'
Roses, Devo, and classical composition.
"Mer de Noms," the group's first
studio release, is intended to showcase
the combined abilities of the band's
eciectic cast. Maynard's lyrics and
Howerdel's music provide a solid foun-
dation for the other members to build
upon, and their talents are up to the task.
The band meshes seamlessly despite its
diversity, and each member demon-
strates his or her musical prowess
throughout the course of the album.
"Judith," the album's first single, is
actually not quite representative of the
overall sound of "Mer de Noms." The
alternative radio hit is significantly
faster than the rest of the album, and
sounds more like Maynard's work with
Tool. The rest of the record is made up

of a variety of pensive tracks that refle
Howerdel's musical preferences at
expose Maynard's contemplative sid
Songs like "Thinking of You" at
"Sleeping Beauty" show a mark<
departure from the dark themes of To
and Nine Inch Nails.
The one major downside to "Mer c
Noms" is its pacing. The album is ve:
slow, composed mostly of ballad-tyj
songs. Maynard's voice adapts itsel
prisingly well to A Perfect Cire e
drann-oa nace. but lankthe nania

and energy of his work with Tool. The
rest of the band is similarly competent
but lethargic, and as a result the album
fails to engage the listener for its full 45-
minute length.
In the end, "Mer de Noms" will no
doubt be held up to the standards of
Tool. While Maynard James Keenan is
not the band's only member, or even
the mind behind the music, he is easi-
ly the band's most visible membe~s
such, "Mer de Noms" will be forever
remembered as Maynard's experi-
ment, whether it is judged good or
bad. A Perfect Circle is not Tool, how-
ever, and may disappoint fans that are
expecting that same dark, heavy
sound. "Mer de Noms" is a unique
album made by outstanding musi-
cians, and stands on it its own, regard-
less of the names associated with

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