Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
Hippie-haven coffee shop The Daily Grind on Somerset West gets a jolt Friday. That’s when DJs for Synthesis, a new club night emphasizing synthesizer-based music, push the chairs aside and create a dance floor for fans of Diamond Rings, Austra, Chicks on Speed, and the establishers such as New Order and Depeche Mode.
That’s just a slice of the playlist, says Eric Mulligan, or DJ Reverie. He started the club night in May. It happens on the second Friday of every month and takes a page from his previous club-party incarnations such as the industrial-New Wave pumping Le Danse Macabre (Joy Division, KMFDM, Pop Will Eat Itself) and before that, his musical career in the city’s niche metal and goth scene, with its focus on dark, haunting beats.
With Synthesis, Mulligan is combining all of his musical loves into one slamming playlist (see past ones here), and at the same time addressing contemporary tastes.
“The music I’m playing is the stuff you’d hear in nightclubs,” he says. “A lot of it is in 4/4 time, so it’s not as complex as industrial music, and is a bit more accessible, in a way.”
He also likes that the current wave of synth bands cross a number of genres — indie, future-pop, and EBM — and produce a tonne of music that’s favourable to the ear and still emotionally resonant.
The event poster references tastemakers of the genre known for putting drippy sentiments to hot beats. And for their complex eye make-up.
“In my personal opinion, some techno that’s come out over the past few years wasn’t very emotional,” Mulligan says. “I find a lot of people in the future pop and EBM scenes to be good at expressing emotion through the synthesizer.”
The Synthesis club night (written as SYNTHthesis, in case you miss the point) amplifies the electronic instrument that was praised and made popular during the new wave musical movement. The synthesizer has seen a robust resurgence with a new crop of bands, most of whom can be heard at this new club night.
Synthesis takes place Friday, June 14 at The Daily Grind, 10 p.m., no cover.