[FESTIVAL/PHOTO RECAP] My Beautiful And Profound Movement Experience

[FESTIVAL/PHOTO RECAP] My Beautiful And Profound Movement Experience

[FESTIVAL/PHOTO RECAP] My Beautiful And Profound Movement Experience

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“What he had yearned to embrace was not the flesh but a downy spirit, a spark, the impalpable angel that inhabits the flesh.”  ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière

 

For the majority of my Detroit visit and for a second year in a row, I was in excruciating pain. Pain that was there when I was sitting, standing, walking, or just trying to exist. I didn’t ask myself or God why this was happening, but rather, I decided to just accept it. Maybe this is the price I had to pay to attend Movement, regardless of whether it was its tenth anniversary or not, or maybe this was just a strange coincidence. The acceptance of pain; however, does not lessen the pain. As I stood at the top of the main stage during the evening of DAY 1 taking in the otherworldly sounds of Maceo Plex, I noticed that regardless of pain, my senses were more alert than ever. The pain did not muffle them or inhibit them, nor did I experience the music any less if I complained in my head. This was the fate I was given. Allow me to point out, that no medication did much to relieve the pain. The pain came to Movement with me and it didn’t look like it was going to leave.

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Later that evening, as I stood in the muggy, dark, and wet basement of the Leland City Club while Tiefschwarz played some of the best, hard-driving, pulsating techno I’ve heard that day, I remembered that in a way I asked for this. I wanted to be present, conscious, and not taken away into some la la land. I wanted to be in the moment and I wanted my soul to be free. What I didn’t know is that it wouldn’t be on my terms. It was in that very moment I realized that I had a choice: I could either be miserable all weekend or I could simply let go and not focus on the physical. Thankfully, I was able to do the latter and still have a smile on my face. My weekend didn’t kick off in a VIP section of a fancy party in an air-conditioned room in the penthouse of a nice hotel; it kicked off when my body was more uncomfortable and displeased than it has been in a long time. If I could have a smile on my face feeling like that, nothing was going to stop me!

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Sober, alert, rested, and ready, I attacked the rest of Movement without a game plan or agenda. I had a job to do but I wasn’t going to die for it, either. As I danced and socialized near the Red Bull Music Academy stage during DAY 2 while Smartbar’s The Black Madonna and Tiga played more house-flavored sets, I felt happier and more prepared to take on the world. Gone were the rigid, robotic sounds I heard the night before while Kraftwerk mesmerized the crowd during their closing 3D set on the main stage, and in were more beach ready tones I so often have associated with the summer.

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After rather lackluster sets from Matador and Loco Dice on the main stage, I was more than pleased to witness stellar delivery from the newly-hitched Swede, Adam Beyer and an even more visually and sonically pleasing set from Dubfire, who performed from behind a white silhouette box structure that partially hid him from the crowd’s view. Beyer and Dubfire served their fans exactly what they ordered and the order was undoubtedly good, old, hard techno!

Moving to the opposite end of Hart Plaza, after celebrated and well-received sets from DJ Tennis, Heidi, and Magda at the Beatport stage, one half of German duo Ame delivered a stellar and expectedly unpredictable set that had plenty of the crowd dancing, but was toned-down enough to prepare them for the much-awaited closing set from Tale of Us. Sadly, the much talked about Italian duo showed inconsistency and arguably did not meet expectations resulting in a lackluster and uninspired set (and a wreck). They more than made up for it the following night when they had the honor of hosting closing festivities during the official Movement afterparty at the Masonic Temple.

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Monday’s standouts included Anja Schneider and John Digweed on the main stage, Boys Noize on the much improved Underground stage and tINI over at the Beatport stage. While Joseph Capriati delivered one of the most fun and melodic techno sets of the weekend for a second year in a row, veteran house and techno producer Danny Tenaglia, ensured that no one remembered that he was a last-minute replacement for the notably absent Richie Hawtin, who couldn’t make his Beatport stage closing duties due to the inability to obtain a work visa. Tenaglia showcased his excellent knowledge of house and techno and ability to control the crowd while consistently interacting with the crowd and his peers who danced behind him.

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Fresh in from a successful closing party the night before at the Masonic Temple, Dirtybird founder and crew head honcho, Claude VonStroke delivered one of the most fun and consistent sets of the weekend while closing the Red Bull Music Academy stage. Joined by Chicago legend Green Velvet to form his well-received project Get Real, he played well-known crowd pleasers that had everyone dancing! Members of the Dirtybird family, J.Phlip and Justin Martin also did not disappoint as they energetically prepared the crowd for the excellent finale with high-powered sets of their own.

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Well-balanced, satisfied, and with a smile on my face I didn’t end up leaving Detroit thinking that this was the best experience of my life or that I had found a new religion. My faith wasn’t shaken, it was strengthened, and my heart was in the right place. I didn’t find God, because He was already there with me. Maybe some people might argue that a techno festival isn’t a place for God or is the last place that God may want to visit, but I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the weekend without Him. Everything I previously knew was shaken and the experience and knowledge from years prior did not do me any good. Much like the resilient people of Detroit, I had to have faith, hope, and persevere in order to get through, and I came out on the other side. My painful, but deeply personal and profound experience this year did not cause me to be taken away by the music into an alternate reality, but it had actually allowed me to be in the present and hear the music for what it is and experience it with little to no bias. The relaxed atmosphere of the festival allowed me to feel completely free and be able to have the experience I needed to have at this time in my life.  Given that Movement thrives on authenticity and paving your own way that makes a lot of sense!

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James Kabat Editor, based in Chicago specializing in pop, dance, and underground club culture. I have interviewed some of the world's biggest DJ's and I enjoy diving deep into the minds of my musical heroes.