Terada, Huckaby Versatile in Lengthy Electronic Sets


Benjamin Shephard, Photo editor

Detroit house music producer Mike Huckaby DJs at the ’Sco last Saturday. Both Huckaby and Japanese electronic musician Soichi Terada, for whom Huckaby opened, kept attendees dancing with lengthy but entertaining sets.

Danny Evans, Arts Editor

Soichi Terada is best known for scoring classic video games like Ape Escape, but no one would have ever guessed that based on the sheer amount of energy and dancing at the ’Sco during his set last Saturday. The Tokyo electronic musician proved that his production and DJ skills extend far beyond the world of gaming. He had just about every audience member in an especially packed ’Sco jumping and cheering as if they were at a mainstream electronic dance music show.

After a lengthy — yet consistently entertaining — opening set by beloved Detroit house and techno musician Mike Huckaby, Terada took the ’Sco stage to momentous applause. He proceeded to bounce around over an hour of lush beats, constantly emoting and dancing with a ferocity that many DJs 30 years his junior cannot match. Oftentimes, DJs as critically acclaimed as Terada tend to nod their heads stoically during performances, but Terada looked joyful throughout the set, and show attendees definitely seemed to catch on. The ’Sco was thick with excitement from the powerful beginning of Terada’s performance to its icing-on-thecake finale.

Musically, the elements of Terada’s signature sound that distinguish him from countless other DJs and producers were front and center throughout his set. For one, Terada’s impressive ability to fluctuate between electronic dance music subgenres — exemplified by songs like “Sun Showered,” which was simply explosive — shone through the set. Attendees were treated to a lesson on how to successfully meld seemingly incongruous styles into a single, cohesive sound as Terada drew on elements of drum and bass, jungle, house, traditional EDM and even chiptune (a subgenre whose gaming-influenced sound owes much to producers like Terada himself ). At any given moment, Terada could have been mixing eerie, detuned vocal samples with minimal drumming or just as easily spinning festival-ready club beats.

Terada also showcased the fluid, unencumbered sound that has characterized much of his output as a DJ. He transitioned from track to track effortlessly throughout the show, subtly introducing melodies, textures and rhythmic figures from one track into the sonic landscape of another until the original track became unrecognizable. This way, he offered a wide variety of different styles and sounds without ever sacrificing momentum or pausing between songs.

These patient transformations of songs into entirely different pieces of music belied the artfulness of Terada’s set as a whole. Critics of electronic dance music who claim the genre lacks the technical ability requirements of other musical styles would have been silenced by Terada’s set. Aside from dancing and transitioning between musical ideas, he also played synth lines, chopped up vocal parts and crafted rhythmic movements the entire time. Tracks like the crowd favorite “Saturday Love Sunday” come off as repetitive or loop-centric upon first listen, but there is actually quite a bit going on throughout these sorts of songs. The subtle changes Terada made kept them exciting and reinforced his skill as a DJ.

Opener Mike Huckaby also showed a mastery of DJing as a craft. Much like Terada, he employed samples, drum patterns and synth motifs to keep attendees hooked throughout lengthy tracks. Songs like “The Deep House World,” “The Jazz Republic” and “I Human” — which feature catchy, if repetitive, main themes — benefitted from Huckaby’s constant sound manipulation. ’Scogoers remained energized for all of Huckaby’s performance, which is no small feat for a house producer, especially given that Huckaby was given two full hours of run time for his set.

Terada and Huckaby were successful in crafting an enjoyable yet complex and crafty dance show ; the two showed just how skillful DJs can be but still offered an accessible look into the wide and intriguing field of electronic music.