Movement Torino Festival (2006-2010 Fifth Anniversary)
Movement Torino celebrates its fifth anniversary in fine style with an exhaustive three-CD compilation showcasing an A-list of electronic dance music producers who've helped establish the festival and solifidy its reputation as an annual go-to event. Created by Luigi Mazzoleni and Maurizio Vitale, Movement Torino is, of course, the sister festival to Movement: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival (as it's currently named) that started up in 2000 as the Detroit Electronic Music Festival with Carl Craig in the role of Artistic Director and which was rechristened Movement in 2004 when Derrick May assumed control. The collection is stuffed to bursting with hours of minimal, house, and techno from the likes of Luciano, Model 500, Moodymann, Francois K, Beat Pharmacy, and Plastikman. The first two discs feature unmixed tracks, while the third includes more tracks plus a two-and-a-half-hour mix courtesy of I-Robots. The compilation throws its doors wide open, welcoming Detroit ambassadors such as Moodymann, Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Mike Huckaby as well as figures like Loco Dice, Dennis Ferrer, and Dan Ghenacia.
Things get on their funky way with a sexy slice of Loco Dice called “How Do I Know?!” and then quickly achieve lift-off with Ernesto Ferreyra's incessantly slamming “Bakana,” a nine-minute fireball of storming beats, synths, and soulful vocal fragments whose acid jack Ferreyra cranks up to dizzying levels. Dubfire remixes Plastikman's “Spastik” into a barn-burning techno stomper whose waves of percussive thrum and meteor showers feel light years removed from minimal, and the thudding bass-and-kick drum pulse of Mike Huckaby's “Synth Mix” of Model 500's “Starlight” is alone worth the price of admission. Other opening disc highlights include Dennis Ferrer's furiously swinging “Transitions” and Michael Cleis's hard-grooving “Collivo.”
On disc two, Beat Pharmacy (Brendon Moeller) and Rhythm & Sound vocalist Paul St. Hilaire team up for eight minutes of skanky dub-funk called “Don't Bodda Me,” a nod in Trenchtown's direction echoed six tracks later by U-Roy and Francois K's “Rootsman.” Alton Miller's deeply grooving house cut “Inner8” (in a “DXR” mix by Dexter) is a thing of soulful beauty, and the tight funk-stomp of Vinyl Line's (C. Carrier and Jef K.) “Stamper Square” also won't be denied. Stretching out for more than a dozen minutes, Luciano's “Octagonal” alternates between laid-back passages and aggressive episodes where thick synth stabs and jazzy ride cymbal patterns criss-cross.
Detroit is especially well-represented on the third disc, which opens with Kenny Dixon Jr. drawing liberally upon the acoustic jazz tradition in his Moodymann track “Rectify” with Nikki-O (Nicole Covington), and Derrick May donning his Rhythim Is Rhythim persona for the lightspeed cartwheels of “Beyond The Dance.” Underground Resistance's Michael Banks mans the Galaxy 2 Galaxy controls for the magnificent “Hi Tech Jazz” whose effervescent groove is elevated by Darren McKinney's piping saxophone playing, and Kevin Saunderson weighs in with Reese & Santonio's wild jam “Back To The Beat.” And did I mention that the third CD ends with a two-and-a-half-hour mix by I-Robots?
It might seem hard to believe but as comprehensive as the Movement Torino Festival set is there are notable absentees. Given his stature and ubiquitous festival presence, Ricardo Villalobos seems an odd exclusion (maybe he's yet to appear at the festival), though Carl Craig less so, given the acrimonious dethroning that ended his tenure with the Detroit festival. The absence of certain names is likely more attributable to the vast number of those currently involved in the game rather than an oversight on the part of those who made the compilation selections. Regardless, anyone wanting a primer on innovative, festival-styled dance music would be hard pressed to locate a better starting point.