First off, we have the Diagram of Suburban Chaos/N-Grava/Dampkrane show on Thursday, Feb 7, at Blackbird. DOSC is one man named William Collin Snavely who programs chasm-like beats to cut through lonely keyboard voices and convey a sense of isolation and beauty. Because of the feeling of misery in Diagram's songs, any dance you might make up should reflect alienation.
One good move would be the Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation-inspired facial cuts, in which your hand makes two sweeping motions on the side of your face, and then two underneath your chin, in a flat, spiky motion. Be sure to stand still! This will convey your separation from humanity in a culture that is increasingly dependent upon technology. The side of your face that is not bisected by your hand will signify hope that technology will, ultimately, connect us. It is at these enigmatic crossroads where the music of DOSC lies. Joining him are N-Grava, aka Portland's Gavin Beals, who makes the dope-ass beats for the mean castle level on video games (all fire, cobwebs, and rocky shores), and Dampkrane, another local artist well-versed in the inner-workings of circuit boards. The Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation dance will work for these bands, too, but be sure to change it up a bit by gyrating your hips and feet.
Next, there is Binary 2, the HUGE electronic event put on by the Portland State University Popular Music Board on Friday, February 8, at PSU's Smith Center Ballroom. One thing that I am really upset about is the fact that, this year, Binary is an 18-and-over event. Part of the fun of last year's Binary was seeing all the 12-to-14-year-olds milling about, because they were better dressed AND better dancers than anyone else. Even despite their absence, however, this year's Binary will still be more fun than a hamster riding a horse! Spread out all over the Smith Memorial Ballroom in 85 different rooms, Binary has brought even more famous local and national iDM superstars for your listening/dancing pleasure.
The obvious, big names include Safety Scissors, Sutekh, and Kid606, the Oakland punkDM ne'er-do-well who is barely old enough to get in the door, but is world famous and owns a successful label, Tigerbeat6. Considered one of the foremost electronic musicians of our time, Kid606 combines beats that click and tickle in all the right places with creepy metallic language and warm, light-saber samples. As an homage to how much George Lucas has influenced our culture, I recommend the following dance during Kid606's set: pretend you are Princess Leia. Leap in a diagonal fashion, concentrating on maintaining a position similar to a sideways Z. Hold it in the air as long as you can, remembering to breathe. Now, swing your arms from side to side, as if you are slicing the pathetic heads off the enemies of the Dark Force. Yes, you've got it! Kid606 is the culmination of so much computer futurism that many of us grew up with in the '80s, and your Princess Leia dance puts you at the forefront of postmodernism.
On Monday, February 11, at Blackbird, Phoenecia, Otto Von Schirach, Strategy, and Decapod Claw round out a very, very special iDM weekend. Phoenecia consists of Josh Kay and Romulo Del Castillo, the two head honchos of Schematics Records, which also releases Otto Von Schirach. In imitation of the creaking, imposing urban landscape Phoenecia lays out before you like electro-architectural blueprints, and as a tribute to their namesake, the dance you may wish to execute is something I call the "Bird of Inner-City Paradise." This one will take a little concentration. Imagine you are a shiny, majestic bird among pigeons, the iridescent blue of your wings only made brighter against the dull gray of their squawking. Now, you must fly into the sky! Flap your arms! Swish your feet in circles as if they've never touched air before! C'mon, feel it! YOU ARE NOW LIBERATED BY THE TECHNOLOGICAL METAPHYSICALITY OF INTELLIGENT DANCE MUSIC!
Note: the preceding choreography is only a suggestion; the Mercury encourages all people to make up their own dances if they so wish. In addition, a five-minute warm-up before any physical exercise is strongly encouraged.