It’s a little difficult to know exactly how to divvy up praise between Dimensions Festival and the Wire Club for the booking of Detroit OG Marcellus Pittman. Perhaps like a prodigal child, the applause should be directed at the performance rather than the parents. And Pittman’s Call Lane appearance last Saturday was a cheerful and intense testament to the unwavering influence of Detroit in the world of electronic music. Ostensibly being presented by – and playing alongside – the Dimensions crew, the spotlight remained firmly fixed on Marcellus who was allowed to stretch his legs over an extended set of several hours.
Given the time, the Unirhythm boss demonstrated the uncommon talent common to all great DJs, that of providing a coherent musical journey. The elusive idea, vigorously defended by fans of electronic music culture and dismissed as mythology by philistines and pedants (you may be able to sense my leanings on the issue), here took the shape of a circle. Bound by the four-on-the-floor kick drum pattern, the tracks started with a Detroit-Chicago blend featuring Illinoisian pianos and strings interspersed with classic Motown vocals re-edited for the club setting. With the mood set and the partygoers settled into their dancefloor nooks and crannies, things took a murkier turn as the TB-303 set an acidic tone for a serious couple of hours of dancing. Completing the trip, Pittman rounded off his set in the early hours with a move back to the more jovial territory of disco edits.
I left Wire with a sense of genuine happiness and conclusion, however fleeting, that is rare to find at the end of a night out. Music can be a very personal affair and clubs a very communal one. It was heartening to find the two in such a productive dialogue.