Those who dig beat science or perhaps its dissection want to be surrounded by it, at least for a few days. This weekend, a palpable beat passes through Chapel Hill's music halls, bumping the same volume and eclectic form as Signal Electronic Music Festival's most diverse and impressive lineup yet.
And, if being in dark clubs gets tiring, there are workshops on dancing, production, multimedia and such at UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon. Check for more on all of it at www.signalfest.com. Below is a blow-by-blow. Or just wander between these places, and you're bound to bump into something that moves you, one way or another.
Thursday, April 26
UNC Student Union: Derrick May with Stacey Pullen, Ja'Maul Redmond, $tinkworx Derrick May will talk for about an hour about Detroit techno and its cultural legacy as it was birthed from the post-industrial landscape of Black Detroit. Then, the music talks with a set of his robotic funk, along with another Detroit acolyte, Stacey Pullen, and two younger crowd-pleasers: Charlotte's Redmond and Chapel Hill's $tinkworx. (6 p.m. lecture in Cabaret/ 8 p.m. music in Great Hall; free for UNC students, $6 with festival pass, $12 others)
Friday, April 27
Blend: DJ Odi, Will Miles, Clip & Carbine Drum 'n' bass and its hyper cousin jungle get a full workout here from regional artists repping Asheville, Greensboro and Richmond. NYC junglist DJ Odi caps off the night with lock-and-load precision. ($12/ 8:30 p.m.)
Cat's Cradle: Negativland, Crystal Castles, The Nein, Tomas Phillips The pranksters in Negativland will be premiering "Booper Symphony No. 1," a sound collage made for dancing, but with starters like ambient fellow Phillips, Nein's polyrhythmic productions and Toronto's 8-bit video game punks Crystal Castles, this is full of different flavors. ($16/ 8:30 p.m.)
Fuse: Oort Cloud, Obvious World, Mad Influence, Geodesic, Slipstream, Fader, Easy Milt, Markus Maerk Right in the middle, this could act as a good home base, shifting from downtempo and lounge to live synth sets through the night. (Free/ 6 p.m.)
Local 506: Ego Likeness, Angels on Acid, Crowdkontrol, DJ Mouse Visit the dark side with this night of gothic, industrial and electronic body music (EBM), the precursor to modern industrial. Hosted by Sonic Prison Records. ($10/ 9:30 p.m.)
Nightlight: Doofgoblin, A Drop in Silence, Calmer, I Broke My Robot, Alex Polzien, sqrt (ur mother) Experimental and glitchy, these producers come from all along the East Coast with Polzien and sqrt from our own backyard's Broken Fader Cartel. ($5/ 9 p.m.)
Players: Brad Lee, Billie Blaze, Snack, Bryan Whaley Get on that train and ride as these techno DJs, affiliated with the Milk Recs crew, build the dance floor one tile at a time. ($5-$7/ 10 p.m.)
Talullas: Pressler, Noel Sanger, Buckner, LeMoore Dig into the gooey mire here, with layer upon layer of progressive and tech house music from these experienced cats, and go late. ($10/ 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m.)
Saturday, April 28
Blend: RJ Valeo, Machine Drum, Pursuit of Sleep, Praveen, pulsoptional, Richard Chartier, Joe Hendrix, Promute, Pacific Before Tiger, Patrick Balthrop Short sets from several live minimal and ambient artists; live fireworks from pulsoptional; a featured set from sound sculptor Richard Chartier. ($10/ 5 p.m.-3 a.m.)
Cat's Cradle: Souls of Mischief, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, DJ Flo-Fader, Black Milk, Icon the Mic King, Bukue One Hip hop. Heard of it? It's a force at Signal this year. Make sure to catch Masta Ace, an NYC original from Cold Chillin' Records, and Oakland's SoM. ($18/ 8:30 p.m.)
Fuse: Turbanator, DJ Fezmo, DJ Marco World beats fly here, from bhangra to European dance pop to infinity. (Free/ 10 p.m.)
Local 506: SNMNMNM, Girls on Film, the Ex-Members, Taradactyl, DJ Viva Yep, electro got into the rockers, too (thankfully), as bent pop meets bastard electronics. Check Taradactyl for one. Viva spins flavors of disco between sets. ($8/ 8:30 p.m.)
Nightlight: FrequeNC Records Night: $tinkworx, Ear Pwr, Datahata, Pykrete Percussion Unit, Secret Boyfriend, dj admit it, DJs Mothersbrothers Eclecticism finds new heights: FrequeNC brings together Datahata's swirling experimental techno, PPU's drum circle reprogrammed and crisp Italo housiness from $tinkworx, to name a few. DJ Admit It closes it late. ($5/ 8 p.m.)
Penang Restaurant: Munir, Donald Glaude, Pe'pe and EDM, Harold Figueroa, B'Laine, Swiff, Dick Tracey, L-Roy-X, Yosi Multiple hues of house music emboldened here by heavyweight Donald Glaude. ($20-$30/ 10 p.m.)
Talullas: Sleazy McQueen, Keenan, Aaron Sparks, DaJames, J.Sonel, Brian San Diego House takes over this joint, too, with biggies from all over the country, including Chapel Hill ex-pat McQueen. ($10/ 10 p.m.)
Grayson Currin and Chris Toenes will be blogging from Signal this year. See www.indyweekblogs.com/scan.