Bringing us back into the general idea of the Drexciyan mythology, Friday’s Planetarium event delves into live performance art and healing sounds before ALKHEMY and Discwoman continue the night’s festivities with a proper underground party in an outwardly unassuming venue featuring the likes of Adrestia, DJ Assault, FBK, SHYBOI, Xiorro and more.
Christina Hernandez (Adrestia) and Felton Cortijo (Xiorro) are keen to point out that Dweller’s ethos has the potential to have a wide influence on the music world. “Dweller deepens the stake in the ground for Brooklyn, as a leader for change in the US and beyond,” says Christina.
It’s also a showcase for some incredible veteran artists – particularly when ghettotech legend DJ Assault steps upfront and center of the huge warehouse space in understated and T-shirt and cap, and lays down a classic mic performance to a background of booty bass, showing off decades of scratching skills against the pulsing, (and at times, jarring) sound system. Front to back, it’s shoulder-to-shoulder on the dancefloor.
The geographical sprawl of the events and a large number of artists make for an at times chaotic few days, but Hutchinson says this is intentional: it forces people to pick the events they connect to most. It’s also nearly impossible to experience everything, leaving attendees eager for more in the next year’s edition.
This idea holds true on Saturday night: three more simultaneous events, each with unmissable talent. But we’ve made our choice. At Nowadays there’s always a space for everyone, whether on the dancefloor, in the comfy booths, outside in the smoking area around its trio of brightly blooming bonfires or in the pillow-filled, cuddle-puddled tent. Mixmag starts inside as Brooklyn-based sister duo Analog Soul begins the night with a true Chicago house set featuring acid cuts and a ‘Blue Monday’ remix. Later, near one of the bonfires, we meet a couple of women from Berlin who tell us about their love of NYC’s scene, going so far as to state that Berlin has gone too mainstream in the world of techno – another reason, if reasons were needed, for the NYC scene not to lose sight of its roots – or its melting-pot diversity.
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Back inside – and as if on cue – DJ Stingray, in his usual black ski mask, steps up to bridge two worlds, combining his Detroit roots with Berlin influences from the city that’s now his home. His continuously building blend of rolling beats from electro to deep industrial techno has topped off on the dancefloor, peaking with the likes of D.Dan’s ‘Dangstuh’ and K-1’s ‘Back From The Future’.
On Sunday there are two parties, Nowadays and Bossa Nova, for those who have the stamina. But well before its final day, the festival achieves its goal in providing an inclusive space for both black electronic artists and clubgoers – and a worthy tribute to an essential part of black history. Looking around at Dweller in full flow, we’re reminded of black Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s maxim: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
Dev White is a freelance writer, follow her on Twitter
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