Call it evolution, or perhaps, a learning process. The point comes for artists to move away from certain sounds and either retreat to past environs or dive into uncharted waters. For Brooklyn-based techno outfit Wolf + Lamb, that time has arrived, in the form of one genre Chicago can smile about: house music. For the ex-Orthodox duo of Zev Eisenberg and Gadi Mizrahi, house is both past and future; they use the sounds that precluded techno to create a new, palatable concept.
Consider their success with the Marcy Hotel, and it becomes evident that this is a familiar process. From 2002 to 2004, the duo could barely find gigs, save a few spots at renowned Brooklyn techno weekly The Bunker. Add to this several repeat performances at Burning Man in Nevada, and Zev and Gadi were poised to break through, after years of attempts. They found a decrepit shop on Marcy Street in Williamsburg, cleaned and refurbished it with found objects and started what would become the premier party spot in New York City. A slew of national and global talent filled the rosters, and in 2006, techno legend Dan Bell graced the stage, albeit at the final Marcy event. 2008 saw it reopen with a nod to space concerns. Excited about their annual Halloween party, the duo just added an EAW/TurboSound system.
“We’ve got plenty of things going on at the Marcy,” Eisenberg says. “We re-opened for our label’s two-year anniversary with a series of Thursday night events, then moved to Saturday. We recently annexed the yard next door, which is about three times the size of our indoor space, so room’s not been an issue. Our dancefloor can hold about thirty people max—a la Club der Visionaere in Berlin. It’s intimate and awesome!”
The Marcy’s Web site links to Wolf + Lamb Music, the duo’s web-based imprint. Fifty parties on, Wolf + Lamb celebrated the occasion by throwing another party. Fifty releases-plus, and they are celebrating by release more music, only this time, they are pushing vinyl.
The label features eighteen artists, from Detroit, Berlin, D.C. and New York, who represent a base of globally respected techno production, with many churning out remixes and sought-after DJ mixes. Zev and Gadi started the label in 2005 with their first track, “Any Day Now,” and their fifty-second release is currently available for preview. That’s only the digital side: Wolf + Lamb’s first vinyl release, from Marcy and Bunker favorite Lee Curtiss, hits shelves this month. His first release for the label, with W+L’s Gadi, marked a departure for the duo, who feel their interest in minimal techno is waning, according to Zev.
“I would say our minimal techno days petered out with the release of [the] “Bear Valley” EP, last summer. Lee’s new EP…is tribal minimal house. There’s a lot of minimal techno influence in all of it though. I think our first exposure to it was from Lee Curtiss & Gadi’s releases; it was very new—and minimal techno was getting very old. Our production and releases generally follow our taste and what we’re DJing at the time. Our parties were taking on a much brighter, happier tone, and our DJing, and ultimately our label, followed suit.”
As digital sales are increasing, the move to vinyl seems puzzling, though not to DJs or hipsters. Zev acknowledges the “glass ceiling with digital releases, especially in Europe,” pointing out that quality is paramount in their decision. “The caliber of releases has easily passed the point where spending the thousands of dollars it costs to put out a record these days is well worth it.”
As Wolf + Lamb, they are working on the label’s second vinyl release; separately, they have many collaborations and solo tracks in progress. With artists like Moodyman and Henrik Schwarz as current influences, the future seems bright. Their goals are simple: put out more vinyl, start touring. The upcoming trip to Chicago is a good first step, and marks their first visit to the Windy City, during which they are bound to soak up some house-music inspiration.
October 24 at Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee. $25 in advance, with open bar 9pm-midnight. $10 after midnight.
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