To many, minimal techno and microhouse ceased to captivate several years ago. The subgenres sprouted from Midwestern techno and house, but pulled tough shapes: Minimal, in its early stages, was often challenging, unmelodic, and slightly numbing. Micro music ruled Germany, in particular, for a large chunk of the ’90s and early 2000s: Germany-based producers (Ricardo Villalobos, Isolée, ex-Canadian Richie Hawtin) and labels (Kompakt, Perlon, M-nus) nurtured it to maturity. But minimal’s too-frequent lifelessness—and some promoters’ overeagerness to call anything “minimal”—prompted a backlash that sent fickle clubgoers scurrying toward poppier sounds. Yet, Berlin-based DJ and producer Sammy Dee still carries a torch for the battered form. He’s been a part of the scene for a couple decades, cranking out solo productions and tracks with Pantytec and Half Hawaii while helming a handful of influential parties; early this year, he launched his own label, Ultrastretch, to boost artists he finds refreshing. (The label’s inaugural bipolar 12-inch release by Matthew Burton, was certainly that.) Dee might be schooled in minimal, but he’s not a snooze. Case in point: It’s his third time here in less than two years, and he has yet to wear out the welcome mat. Sammy Dee DJs with Solomon Sanchez and Adam Ross at 10 p.m. Saturday at Goethe-Institut. $20. (Ally Schweitzer)
I wish The Horrors’ goth-punk was as creepy as The Cramps’; it’s not, but at least the band is really good at standing in a field and looking moody. 9 p.m. Friday at Black Cat.
Go for the headliner, really go for the awesome local openers. Benjy Ferree and Edie Sedgwick open up for Deerhoof. 7 p.m. Saturday at 9:30 Club.
John Carlos and Dave Zirin discuss and sign their collaboration, The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World, which dissects the Black Power salute Carlos offered at the 1968 Olympics. 5 p.m. Saturday at Busboys & Poets on 14th St. NW. Free.
Music isn’t the reason to see The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975, despite the involvement of Questlove and other current-day musicians in the project, which collects long-unused footage shot by Swedish journalists at a crucial time in America’s racial history. Filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson generally chooses cool poignancy over political heat; the best scene features the otherwise razor-sharp Stokely Carmichael gingerly interviewing his mother about bigotry and deprivation. He and other prominent figures—Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey P. Newton, etc.—are presented with an unblinking and inquisitive sensibility, one that brings nuance to a movement the hip-hop generation tends to summarize. And the film is priceless as a visual archive: The scenes of everyday people seem uncommonly direct, perhaps because so much of the era’s legacy has been packaged for drama. In the end, this Mixtape is all about people talking—not for soundbites, but for real. The film shows all week at E Street Cinema. (Joe Warminsky)