“I’m pretty musically conservative.”
This is refreshing to hear from a techno DJ, because techno oftentimes is conservative—not in the hideous-modern-day sense but in a dictionary-definition one. That’s what happens to any style that sticks around a long time, picks up true-believer adherents, and develops a lasting tradition.
And 24-year-old Andy Fitton, a resident DJ for SYSTEM and Communion who moved to Minneapolis for college in 2013 and currently lives in Lowry Hill, is a particularly sharp techno DJ. “I started DJing high school parties at age 13,” he says. “I moved on to sweet-sixteens, then frat parties at Penn State. Then I moved here and my musical direction took a hard left turn.” Instead of rock, Fitton became ensconced in house and techno, helping throw parties for promoters Intellephunk and SYSTEM, and was quickly taken under the wing of “the old guard of Minneapolis techno,” as he puts it on his SoundCloud page, who “passed down . . . an attention to detail and technical DJ ability.”
You can hear that on full display on #FFM098.2 (January 13, 2018), an edition of the Format FM podcast. He kicks off with some rubbery, dubby, groovy stuff, goes darker, and modulates a narrow but compulsive lane. He recorded it after connecting with Brenda Curtis, who runs Format Recordings and the podcast series in Chicago, at a show in Denver. “The mix was recorded in my bedroom as my cats watched,” says Fitton. “There was no grand concept or aim for this mix—just jamming out and playing some music that I like to dance to. I don’t really try to push boundaries or reinvent the wheel, but rather provide people with something reliable in which they can lose themselves: The Midwest comfort food of dance music.”
And like any good techno DJ—particularly an opener, the role Fitton will play this Sunday at Black Mass—he gets better as he goes. The final quarter of FFM098.2 is also the mix’s best section, beginning with the entrance of the high-pitched wiping sounds and spritzes of synths like water spraying from a whale’s forehead of Conforce’s “Suspense,” followed by Fitton’s own edit of High Mobility Weapons Unit’s HAL 9000-with-the-jitters “Cycle 01.” Fitton’s ministrations take place on three of the selections here (I’m not counting his rework of Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Ray Wakes Up,” a squib at the set’s beginning), and they point to a future making as well as spinning tracks.
Fitton finishes off with a one-two of Benedikt Frey’s “Stereobate,” with its jabbering 303 line like Pac-Man with the bends, and Aleksi Perälä’s “UK74R1512110” (thank you, copy-and-paste). The latter has the same racing heart rate as everything preceding it, but its coins-on-tin tone has a wistful, final air about it, a satisfying finish. Sometimes the old ways are best.
With: Heckadecimel, Monostatic, Andy Fitton
Where: The Pourhouse (Downtown)
When: 7 p.m. Sun. Apr. 8
Tickets: $10; more info here
Are you a Twin Cities dance-music DJ? Michaelangelo Matos wants to hear your latest set. He writes about recent mixes by local DJs (and DJs making local appearances) every Thursday for City Pages. Tweet to his attention: @matoswk75.