As the birthplace of techno, it's no surprise that Detroit also plays host to one of North America's most prominent dance music festivals (voted the #1 most anticipated festival of 2013 by Beatport and the top festival in May 2013 by Resident Advisor). Founded in 2000 and renamed in 2006, the thirteenth annual Movement (Detroit) Electronic Music Festival, will take over Hart Plaza in just a few weeks from May 25 through May 28. With a lineup filled to the brim with obvious legends and hometown favourites, cutting down to our top 12 was not an easy task, but we think that's a good problem to have.
To keep up with our live coverage of Movement, follow Alyce Currier (@notalyce) and Lukas Switlicki (@_szum) on Twitter. We'll be reporting back with festival highlights on Earmilk as well. If you haven't already gotten your tickets (just $99 for 3 days!) get them now, or enter to win a pair of VIP weekend passes with Earmilk! Tickets
Azari & III
Monday, 5:30 pm, Red Bull Music Academy stage.
Formed in 2008, Toronto's Azari & III, the quartet of Dinamo Azari, Alixander III, Starving Yet Full, and Fritz Helder, have now been around long enough to see their self-titled 2012 debut LP, a throwback to 80s house and disco influences, prove its staying power well into 2013. It's weird to talk about an album that way, especially in the context of a festival like Movement that feels quintessentially classic, but for a release from the last couple years, Azari & III has seen more repeat plays across scenes than most underground producers releasing music now could dream of. Azari & III may collect references to the past like a dryer collects lint, but they've also proven their skill at crafting pop singles that feel original from those references. This blend of retromania and originality plays into their live performances as well, with just the right hint of campiness and the added appeal of live vocals. -Alyce
Sunday, 1:00 pm, Underground stage.
A recent RBMA grad and techno diamond in the rough—Benjamin Damage is not the first head to stick out of Berlin but his latest efforts are paving an exciting future for the German act. The ripening producer is a Monkeytown favourite, and his full length debute on the sister label 50 Weapons has seen him develop into a fledged songwriter, taking melancholic melodies and weaving them into pacy techno rhythms. Not the best time slot in the lineup, but surely one that will make you shake your head later when you miss out on this train headed for hype. -Lukas
Ben Klock B2B Marcel Dettmann
Sunday, 7:30 pm, Underground stage.
Germany comes to Detroit bearing gifts, and without a doubt the one that has white-label nerds jumping for joy is a back to back set from the inseparable Berghain residents Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann. Highly regarded for their forward thinking works which prop up the club's record label Ostgut Ton and their respective Klockworks and MDR imprints, the two have tred through the years, good and the bad, and they have yet to deviate from the front line of groundbreaking techno. Earning their stripes by playing the biggest clubs with the longest sets. If America wasn't so damn socialist, these two would be playing a 12 hour marathon. -Lukas
Monday, 4:00 pm, Beatport stage.
London's George Fitzgerald burst onto the scene in 2010 and hasn't looked back since, with releases on respected labels Hotflush and Aus and a distinctive sound drawing from the deepest side of house with just a hint of pounding, aggressive techno. He also founded his own imprint, ManMakeMusic. Fitzgerald's singles, "Child" perhaps being the most notable, are airtight, and any remix he touches seems to attain instant classic status, with a knack for choosing catchy vocals and giving them just enough space to breathe. With mixes for BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix, Resident Advisor, and XLR8R already under his belt, we can't wait to see what Fitzgerald brings to Detroit. -Alyce
Monday, 10:00 pm, Beatport stage.
English DJ, producer, and label owner John Digweed probably requires little introduction, but just in case, he's basically the progressive house DJ to end all progressive house DJs. Blending diverse tastes and styles into his weekly two-hour program Transitions and running Bedrock Records alongside Nick Muir, Digweed has also released on Global Underground and Renaissance and compiled the Northern Exposure mixes with Sasha. He's also remixed big names like New Order and The Chemical Brothers. Movement couldn't have chosen a better man to task with closing out the festival and I for one can hardly handle the anticipation for what's sure to be a transcendent moment in my personal dance music history. -Alyce
Sunday, 7:30 pm, Made in Detroit stage.
If we have to talk about "female DJs"/"female producers" in light of that whole bathtub debacle (no comment) Polish-born, Detroit-raised, Berlin-based Magda might just be the crowning example of a non-contentious lady on the electronic music scene, with a focus on substance over style (although she certainly doesn't lack the latter). First associated with Richie Hawtin and Minus Records, Magda has since moved on to found her own charmingly-named label, Items & Things, alongside Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, with releases coming from artists like Jimmy Edgar, Gabriel Ferreira, and Miss Kittin. We expect her set to be subtle, diverse, and downright awesome. -Alyce
Saturday, 5:30 pm, Red Bull Music Academy stage.
If you're visiting Detroit, go see the Mona Lisa—Kenny Dixon Jr., also known as Moodymann, is the local city house guru still standing and breathing a traditional sense of funk and soul into the genre. He's racked up a large catalog of underground classics with decades worth of releases, but those numbers are trumped by his glowing personality and do-what-you-want attitude frequently sampled in some of the biggest hits in the year. The current state of house has placed Moodymann outside of cyclical trends, where he wanders in his own influences rooted by the city's historic Motown sound and dated analogue technology. So don't go just for the music, go for the cultural experience. -Lukas
Samo Sound Boy
Sunday, 8 pm, Electric Forest stage.
We've got a thing for busy people, and Los Angeles's Samo Sound Boy certainly fits the bill. As label head at Body High alongside Jerome LOL, with recent releases coming from Todd Edwards, Floyd Campbell, and Myrryrs, Sam Griesemer has his hands in everything from production to DJing to artist development and A&R. With influences ranging from hip-hop to Baltimore club to Chicago house and beyond, Samo Sound Boy's DJ sets reflect the diversity of his tastes and never fail to bring positive vibes and high energy. In our interview back in February, Griesemer cited "open-mindedness" as one of the most important qualities of a great club night, and we'll be front and center with our minds wide open during his Movement set. -Alyce
Monday, 9 pm, Underground stage.
Hot off the release of his highly regarded debut album Negative Fascination, Silent Servant has breathed new life into the downtrodden industrial aesthetic of techno. Revisiting the tip between the 70s and 80s, his knack of forging metallic hits with eerie strings hearkens back to the post-punk era—a time washed in reverb and quick delays. He's a welcomed member of the Sandwell District label collective, with artists like Developer, Jerome Sydenham, and Regis to add to his remixing credentials. Not your run of the mill, expect a set that bridges the gap between warehouse techno and noise rock. -Lukas
Saturday, 6 pm, Underground stage.
A Dutch delicatessan imported from Berlin, Steffi is a long standing promoter, taste-maker, and producer. Although she carries a catalogue with a number of esteemed releases, Steffi is cherished for her cunning taste in being a selector on floors across Europe, including her upstairs residency at Panorama Bar. Her creative mixing style and versatile tracklists have made her a much sought after act for those looking for a rich experience inspired by the true classics. On top of throwing underground parties and founding the Klakson and Dolly imprints, Steffi has branched out of her comfort zone to tap into worldwide music culture. -Lukas
Sunday, 5:30 pm, Beatport stage.
If German DJ/producer Tensnake's recent BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix is any indication of what his Movement set will be like, then it's almost guaranteed that crowd's faces will hurt from smiling so hard the entire time he plays. Heavily influenced by disco, Tensnake's take on the genre is both tropical and spacey and it's hard not to picture oneself sitting on a beach sipping a mojito when listening to any of his mixes or productions (he's released on Mirau, Mule, Permanent Vacation, Running Back, and Defected). While there are plenty of performers whose sets might feel out of place in broad daylight, Tensnake's balearic sound is the exception to that rule and we'll be channeling pool party vibes sans all that pesky chlorine. -Alyce
Monday, 7:30 pm, Underground stage.
David Flores needs to put a lone star on his hand-stamped white labels to spite anyone who doubts that California can sit at the top of today's techno charts every month. His Truncate monikor sells like hot cakes for all the right reasons. By peeling away at the genre like it's some sort of cheese string, Truncate has fleshed out nothing but the core of 4/4 time with a strict attention to detail in tuning his minimal palette of sounds. As a seasoned DJ with 15 years of spinning in LA, expect a set dripping with his major influences which first took root in Detroit. -Lukas