Saturday night saw the return of Frankie Bones' seminal minimal-techno party Storm Rave as part of Red Bull Music Academy's ongoing events programming this month. Minimal techno's abrasive sound was born out of New York and the East Coast in the '90s, and all of the genre's biggest DJs were on hand to spin at a remote warehouse in Brooklyn, including Adam X, Heather Heart, Lenny Dee, and Rob Gee.
A friend of mine saw Heather Heart play a party in San Francisco sometime before the internet was alive. He liked the music so much he looked in the yellow pages to get the number of the record store she helped run in New York called Sonic Groove. Heather actually picked up the phone, kindly put together a package of 10 records, and snail mailed them to him. This would later become a mixtape he gave me with the words “Phantom Raker Agent 4” written on it. I played it a million times.
I never thought of this sound -- the Brooklyn sound of hardcore minimal techno -- as being any more related to cheesy house or “dance” music than it was to punk (though most Americans just call it all EDM). It was more like brutalism, minimalism or industrial -- something maybe closer to Reich, Glass or La Monte Young (who it should be noted was also a part of this Red Bull Music Academy series). The mechanical patterns of Frankie Bones are like perfect plateaus -- if you look closely at the grooves on the record you can practically read it like sheet music.
Saturday's Storm Rave was more a reunion than a show. I was fearing the location (disclosed just days before the event) might be in Williamsburg, but instead it was out in Bushwick where Knickerbocker meets the cemetery in an old nondescript warehouse. The crowd that turned up was a cross section of New York who had been waiting for it. Humidity at a perfect 120%. Photos below.