Electronic dance music has made massive, unlikely inroads with the mainstream over the past year or two. But at the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival on Friday and Saturday nights, producers MeanRed will remind old school fans that their preferred genre still keeps it real and raw and teach E.D.M. newcomers a thing or two about house and techno’s flourishing underground
The fifth annual B.E.M.F. will fan out over five Williamsburg venues–Public Assembly, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Cameo Gallery, Glasslands and 285 Kent–that have been hugely instrumental in fostering the borough’s much-discussed electronic (and indie rock, and every combination of the two) boom. With 44 artists playing over two nights, fans are bound to face some tough decisions about which set to scope out. Luckily, these dance floors are all within easy walking distance of each other. That said, you can start mapping out your festival schedule with our picks for the must-see shows:
Gold Panda: A British import whose plangent I.D.M. is significantly revved up when it moves from recordings to live performance, Gold Panda recently shook the rafters at Bowery Ballroom with tracks primed for Top 40 crossover. He spins at 2 a.m. during the fest’s first night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Nicolas Jaar: The reigning wunderkind of the underground Brooklyn dance music scene, 22-year-old Jaar (pictured) will close out Music Hall of Williamsburg’s portion of the festival when he drops what will no doubt be a genre-bending set–including plenty of tracks from his critically adored album Space is Only Noise–at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.
Omar-S: Critics often hail the man otherwise known as Alex Smith as inimitable. That’s partly thanks to the fact that Smith releases on his own label, FXHE Records, and also because he embraces the steely techno endemic to his native Detroit while expertly churning out modern house and acid stunners. B.E.M.F. has wisely given Omar-S three hours to stretch out at Public Assembly starting at 10 p.m. on Friday.
Pearson Sound: This bass-heavy and dancefloor-ready iteration of U.K. hotshot David Kennedy–he has several aliases–has strung together several consecutive banner years, one spectacular highlight being chosen as Radiohead’s opener when they played Roseland last fall. Hear what Thom Yorke’s been fussing about at the intimate Cameo Gallery at 2:30 a.m. Saturday night.
Shlohmo: Slow burning experimentalism and a dash of hip-hop make this fresh-faced Angeleno (aka Henry Laufer) stand apart from his dubstep-crazed peers. He mixed a podcast for gourmet techno bible Resident Advisor this summer and was handpicked by the discerning folks over at P.S. 1 to spin during its Warm Up party in July. Feel the skittish ambiance on night two at 1 a.m. in Public Assembly’s front room.