Electronic music isn’t just for big cities, big clubs

Whether you know it or not, electronic music might have the biggest presence of any genre in Durango – bluegrass included.

Local venues host DJs at least two nights a week, and local musician/DJs continue to produce, record and distribute their art on a regular basis. This might bum some of you out. It seems every paid or armchair blogging music critic out there, myself included, bags on a chosen genre or genres of music. When it comes to anything electronic, there are plenty of naysayers.

In my world, turntables and a mixer will never replace an electric guitar.And there may be too much laptop playing, but I’ll give it to these people on the promotion front.Their work ethic and practice schedule represent a complete submersion in their art. They work hard, and they let you know about what they do and when you can hear it.

“Electronic” is a broad description. Within it there are sub-categories that continue to evolve into other genres, and those spawn new ideas, new sounds and new fans. All of those sounds – and then some – will be well-represented this evening and into early Saturday morning, with the noon kickoff Lunar Bass – Total Eclipse at Echo Basin Ranch outside of Mancos. Lunar Bass is a semi-annual festival that has kicked around the area for years. Some years it hasn’t happened, other years it was in different locations. But it may have found a home at Echo Basin Ranch.

There are numerous performers for the event, including Rumble Junkie, DJ Bass and Wednesday, Lt. Dan, Brian Ess, Fat Pea, Fievel and Lolo, along with locals Mr. Anderson, Ras Daws, Treazon and a couple dozen more regional and local DJs.

Organizer Michael Halls, who also will perform, came into electronic music through drumming. He, too, was once a naysayer.

“I started as a drummer, and never really thought that deejaying was all that valid, playing other people’s music,” Halls said last week during an interview in the KDUR studios. “When I got immersed into the culture, I then saw that this is a great art form and gained a lot of respect for it. However, I always wanted to do my own unique thing and create music from the ground up. I had bands and all that, but band practice was a waste of time. So I took creative control of my own compositions through composing electronic music and found that to be the direction I wanted to go.”

Halls recognizes this area for having a high number of electronic music -makers. Lunar Bass will spotlight that.

“There’s between 30 and 35 DJs and most of them are from right here in Durango,” Halls said. “That’s one of the things that spurred me on to really do this. Gigging in Durango, going to these guys’ houses and jamming with them, giving tips on production or talking about deejaying, I really got a sense of the community and how many people there were. A lot of them are people you may not have seen ever, but they are bedroom DJs and this is the spot where people get to see them.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at Liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.