- Published on Thursday, 05 September 2013 10:08
‘Fucking hell, you look rough’ – The remarks of my taxi driver as I slung my bag into the back of a people carrier in Knebworth Park on Monday morning. He’s probably right, I imagined, but I wasn’t exactly in the humour for it, nor could I understand what made my appearance any worse than the rest of the slothly looking patrons of Eastern Electrics slowly spilling out of the campsite that morning, although upon arriving home and looking at myself in the mirror I even gave myself a bit of a fright. I’d certainly had a good weekend.
Funnily enough it was with a sense of reluctance I made the journey up to Knebworth Park on Friday morning. It'd been a hectic week and I was feeling under the weather, my nose was blocked, my throat hurt and I had some strange inflammation under my eyes that had me nervously googling ‘cataracts symptoms’ despite being in my twenties, so the prospect of going to the self-donned ‘UK’s Biggest Celebration of Underground House and Techno’ wasn’t exactly high on my agenda, but it was too late for me to delegate the responsibility of covering the event to anyone else, and the inner raver in me certainly wasn’t going to let me pass the opportunity by.
A couple of paracetamol and a few cans of Polish lager later I was feeling a tad more spritely as I reached the entrance to the festival in Knebworth Park, roughly half an hours journey from London’s Kings Cross Station. I was immediately confronted with a drug amnesty bag, which looked rather neglected, and then given the once over by a sniffer dog, who, considering how trolleyed most people seemed to be by the end of the night, should perhaps consider a change of career. Unfortunately my deodorant was the only item confiscated on the way in and despite my best efforts I couldn’t seem to borrow anyone else’s over the weekend, so I apologise retrospectively to anyone who might have caught a whiff of whatever putrid odour my pits were emitting over the weekend.
Surprisingly, after immediately entering the festival site I was already baring witness to people who seemed completely off their tits, and this was at a meagre 3PM, on a Friday, with a whole day to go and then two after that, which seemed wonderfully foreboding, I thought anyway. My first port of call was the Eastern Electrics stage where Huxley was playing a smashing set to get things rolling. The Eastern Electrics stage was the hub of the entire festival and played host to the biggest names of the weekend including Richie Hawtin, Maya Jane Coles, Seth Troxler and the like. It was essentially just one large no-frills blue canvas holding thousands of euphoric revellers, the outer perimeter of which was peppered with shufflers in flamboyant t-shirts and jean shorts, the inside so packed it was difficult to move without spilling someone’s beer or feeling a fag butt extinguish on your arm. Upon entering I was the victim of one of the aforementioned people who had decided to make the choice to get completely twatted as early as possible. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get to catch the gentleman’s name, but I still have vivid memories of how he walked towards me repeatedly. His arms were outstretched as if he’d contracted the T-Virus and needed my blood for sustenance; before reprimanding me for taking notes and, as his instructions fell on deaf ears, attempting to steal my notebook from me. This might be a long weekend I thought...
Elsewhere Theo Parrish was doing his thing at the Substation Stage, or the Black Atlantic stage as it had been christened for the night. This stage was essentially a replica of the Eastern Electrics stage except about half its size, the more intimate setting certainly lending the sound more bite. The music at The Substation on both Friday and Saturday night (the Sunday Substation line-up was moved to the slightly less spectacular Fusebox) certainly catered to a more particular type amongst the Eastern Electric crowd. The weighty, bass heavy, vox driven house of Deetron and Bicep that occupied the Eastern Electrics stage was absent here; and the music that was on offer evidently wasn’t to everyone’s taste, with plenty dipping their toes into The Substation only quickly before deciding it wasn’t for them. But those who did stick around were rewarded lavishly and, on Friday in particular, were treated to easily the most scintillating selection of music of the entire weekend, with Dixon and Levon Vincent’s performances both in contention for best set of the entire festival. What followed were quality performances from Jackmaster, Blawan and a brilliantly cerebral set by Joy Orbison wasn’t bad either.
The rest of the venues certainly shied in comparison to the previously mentioned two, except perhaps the Igloovision stage which hosted by far and away the festival’s best sound system, Eastern Electrics’ only Funktion One as far as I’m aware, and some pretty nifty visuals which were projected onto the under-side of the roof too. The Switchyard, a conceptually interesting venue created almost exclusively out of shipping containers, was betrayed by a dodgy sound set up which made what would have been otherwise immersive performances by Magda, Kyle Hall and Michael Mayer to name just a few, quite difficult to enjoy.
The Star of EE Pub, which bore little resemblance to a pub, was an interesting little stopgap between the main stages. Those who stuck around at The Star of EE seemed to do so more to relieve themselves of the mania of the busier stages than out of actually wanting to be there, which is not to negate the quality of the music it hosted, Santé and Simon Baker in particular warranting a much a bigger crowd than was afforded to them. However in closing on Sunday night former dubstep stalwart Skream packed the venue to capacity with a house/disco set which has now become his staple. The only real gripe with The Star of EE I had, besides it being a tent and not a pub, was that it was advertised as being a 24/7 ‘speakeasy’-esque kind of stage that would cater to the delinquents like myself who weren’t willing to pack it in at 6AM. It did however, like the rest of Eastern Electrics, grind to a halt at 6; it was very much lights on and punters out…
There was activity though supposedly in the Bedouin VIP area, located to the north of the main Eastern Electrics set-up, so obviously this then became my port of call when the rest of the attractions shut down. I brought with me two very excitable Irish gentlemen who I had befriended about an hour previously and snuck in under the guise they were my cameramen retrieving equipment from one of the VIP tents, sorry EE. They were under the impression that a visit to the VIP area would entail smoking spliffs with Seth Troxler and doing shots with DJ Koze. Instead however we were greeted by the yelling of a dreadlocked gentleman in military surplus attire yelling for a mixer as a few weary festival-goers passed out on the plush sofas and carpets that surrounded the dance floor. Activity in this neck of the woods did pick up nicely the next day, especially when Fabric resident Craig Richards took to the decks and played to a rammed crowd. It couldn’t have been more different than the night before in fact with a host of DJ’s and ‘up for it’ party people all there to check out Mr Richards’ set.
As Saturday morning continued to fester its ugly head my Eastern Electrics experience certainly became stranger and more surreal as it became apparent that the weirdest activity was in the general campsite itself. Of course, catering to a house and techno loving crowd, the droves being instructed back to the campsite at 6AM were hardly going back to their tents to break out the cocoa and hot water bottles; the site itself was awash with impromptu tent parties and the sound of smartphones playing house music from Soundcloud; all part of the amazing festival experience. There were many stumbling around the campsite certainly looking worse for wear after the previous nights partying. This gave one the feeling of being on raver safari or something to that effect. Most notably one young gentleman, who had somehow managed to stay looking rather impeccably groomed despite the previous night’s antics, decided to smash up his tent in animalistic fashion whilst screaming ‘WHERES MY KETAMINE’ in a bizarre flamboyantly faux-cockney accent a la ‘The Peckham Terminator’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2waIvp265CM for those who haven’t seen it – which was in honesty one of the most startlingly confusing yet captivating things I’ve yet to see. Anywhere.
Day two continued to bring the heavy hitters music-wise. Roman Flugel tore it up at The Substation, as did Ame at the Eastern Electrics stage and the techno disciples of Eastern Electrics were well catered to the entire night at the LWE takeover of the Igloovision stage as Tommy Four Seven, Planetary Assault Systems and Surgeon amongst others brought the no nonsense 130BPM stuff to the party. The visuals and soundsystem of Igloovision couldn’t be more apt; perfectly complimenting the harder, more abrasive, basically just fucking banging sound of the night making for a full on aural and visual experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry…
Richie Hawtin’s 4AM set at Eastern Electrics main stage commanded what was possibly the largest audience of the entire weekend, and while it did sound this time like he was more than just going through the motions, as previously lamented upon in this review, it became a little difficult for me to enjoy due to spatial difficulties and unfortunately, in frankness, just not being quite loud enough. Not that that stopped the thousands of revellers who seemed to be having the time of their lives. Playing at the same time was a real hidden gem of Eastern Electrics; Damian Lazarus’ set at The Substation was superb. The extra legroom here allowing those like me, who relish strutting their stuff on the dance floor whenever possible, more space to make fools of ourselves in, to which I most certainly obliged.
Highlights of Sunday, where the festivities were curtailed at 10PM and not 6AM like the previous two days, included stomping performances from both tINI and Raresh at The Fusebox, hosted by Just Jack; past and present Panorama Bar residents Tama Sumo and Prosumer at Igloovision, hosted by Louche; Kerri Chandler at the main Eastern Electrics stage and Kyle Hall and Michael Mayer at The Switchyard, hosted by Sunday party specialists Secretsundaze. As the festival came to a close, Masters At Work attracted the most attention closing out the festival at The EE stage, but again it was on one of the smaller stages where the biggest impression was left. GERD’s closing set in Igloovision was memorable – an astounding, schizophrenic tapestry of dance music from disco to Detroit techno, it simply couldn’t be more fitting as a summation of the weekend and was a wonderfully apt tribute to the music we all know and love.
Eastern Electrics was a behemoth of a festival, by virtue of its line-up alone it was a pilgrimage for anyone who takes quality dance music seriously. There were certain aspects of the weekend that could be improved for next year, such as the layout of the festival site itself which didn’t leave much room for adventure, and of course certain elements that were beyond the control of the organisers such as the unfortunate sound limitations that did at times hinder my enjoyment of the music.
However, as I touched upon at the start of this review, I dragged myself up to Knebworth Park with burning eyes, a sore throat and a drapery of Kleenex hanging out of my back pocket. But by Friday I couldn’t care about it, by Saturday I’d forgotten about it and by Sunday I was taking photos and dancing with strangers without a fucking care in the world. Bring on next Summer!
By Rory Carroll
- Published on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 14:56
On Sunday 25th August, Sancho Panza will take their infamous street party at Notting Hill Carnival down the road to Supperclub, where they are throwing a massive after party to celebrate 20 years of carnival fun in the capital, where they’ve packed two rooms full of first rate talent for you to enjoy! In the West wing they have the founders of Sancho Panza, Matt Brown and Jimmy K Tel ensuring things run smoothly, joined by Stuart Patterson, family favourite Freddy Love and PBR Streetgang: a duo who have been taking things to another level in recent years with a string of releases on Hot Creations, 2020 Vision and Futureboogie.
The Sahcho Panza Soundsystem in action
The East wing will be catered for by Psychemagik, who will no doubt shake the walls with row after row of disco edits, and they’ll be backed up by Leftside Wobble and the legendary Femi Fem. The venue has had a full revamp, with a Funktion One soundsystem, and it will of course be dressed to the nines in full Sancho Panza décor.
To wet your appetite, here's an exlusive recording of PBR Streetgang themselves taken from their set at Culprit Sessions, LA:
Where: Supperclub, 12 Acklam Road; Kensal Town; London W10 5QZ
When: 25th August 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 10:27
The next artist to see a release on DBA Dubs comes from London based Kel McKeown – AKA Kelpe. An artist with a real passion for experimentation and back catalogue to support that, he’s a fitting subject for Semtek’s Don’t Be Afraid offshoot, which specialises in leftfield house music with a UK vibe. The format of the sublabel is a neat one: take a dub from a UK based producer, and compliment it with a techno-tinged remix on the flip of a 10” record, provided this time by Detroit’s Kevin Reynolds.
Sparse, thickset percussion couples a tension building, arp-style synth crescendo to kick things off. Kelpe continues in this way for the entirety of the sixty-four bar intro, before letting loose with a killer analogue bassline. It’s this weighty groove that leads the way for the remaining four minutes, drenching the track in a fuzzy warmth that takes you to another place with headphones, but will absolutely destroy a dance floor when played on a big system. Kevin Reynolds puts his own take on things, adding a slightly darker undertone combined with an acid line that is somehow more fluid than the original cut, washing over sizzling hats to great effect.
It’s some of Kelpe’s best work to date, suggesting no signs of stopping after the critical acclaim of his fourth album ‘Fourth: The Golden Eagle’. It’s a great addition to a label which not only has had a consistent output since its inception, but also a solid ethos – something that seems to be helping them to stand apart from the masses, and which will be interesting to keep an eye on as time goes on.
RELEASE DATE: 19TH AUGUST 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 06 August 2013 14:14
On October 5th, Oval Space will to hold an Innervisions showcase, bringing together four powerful forces under one roof to see the summer off in style. The German label is without question one of the most revered in the scene, and for good reason. Their stringent quality control has resulted in a consistent flow of innovative house and techno, with a back catalogue brimming with timeless music from some of the best in the game. Everything about the label has a level of professionalism that serves as a testimony to the vision from label owners Dixon & Âme. From the gorgeous cover art by Pierre Becker to the breathtaking showcases worldwide – everything they do displays this, which is why we can’t wait to see them back in London.
The showcase will feature all the core members of the Innervisions family. Henrik Schwarz will play a live set – a real treat as anyone who has seen him before will know. Marcus Worgull will also be making an appearance, as well as Dixon & Âme who complete the line up. Four fantastic artists in their own right that really need no introduction, all having proved their worth both in the studio and behind the decks. Oval Space have been hosting some brilliant parties since their inception but we’ve got a feeling this one might just top them all. Not convinced? Check out Dixon & Âme tearing it up at the Boiler Room:
WHERE: 29-32 The Oval; Bethnal Green; London E2 9DY; United Kingdom
WHEN: 5th October 2013
TICKETS: OVAL SPACE WEBSITE
- Published on Friday, 26 July 2013 14:17
It’s been a great year for Tone Of Arc. With a whole host of great reviews and recognition in 2013, the zealous San Francisco producer Derrick Boyd aka Dead Seal seems to be taking it all in his stride, and why shouldn’t he - when his glamorous partner who works vocals is none other than his wife Zoe Presnick!
Signed to No.19 Records, they frequently rub music shoulders producing and playing gigs around the world with the likes of Art Department’s Jonny White and Nitin (their No.19 label boss). In May 2013 they released their album "The Time Was Right", which was an interesting mix of music ranging from Tech House to "Acoustic Folk Trip". Self-proclaimed recording junkies since their teens, Boyd and Presnick possess a wide range of musical talent. A visit to D Edge club during a mini tour of Brazil was to be expected. D Edge is widely considered to be one of the best clubs in Brazil, and is situated in Brazil's business capital São Paulo. Renato Ratier owns the club: he’s a successful DJ in Brazil, who is also a partner at Warung Beach Club in Santa Catarina.
D Edge is made up of 3 rooms and a very cool roof top terrace, with a skyline view of the capital perfect for watching the sunrise. The middle room is something really special… Engulfed in multi-coloured, video quality LCD lights, it feels like stepping into a scene from "Tron". Freak Chic is the clubs weekly gay night. On the night the crowd was a good mix and the atmosphere was friendly (D Edge generally brings in a cosmopolitan crowd). The club has a chic design and air conditioning throughout - a far stretch from the more underground, “warehouse style”, sweaty dance floors you find across Europe.
The attitude to clubbing in Brazil is noticeably different to Europe. A bit stuck in the past, most of the time clubbing is more about pulling than the quality of the music. Regardless of this fact D Edge still carries a music-loving crowd. This year, they’ve already hosted artists such as Soul Clap, Nitin, Wolf + Lamb, Daniel Bortz and Jozif, and are constantly bringing talent from overseas to the Brazilian audience. Two rooms were open on the night: the second room and the lounge. For the first half of the night the music was handed over to the Brazilian DJs Mark Rocha and Dani Souto, who both played well, mainly dropping tech house and vocal deep house. In the Lounge, Leo Mafra played a more commercial house and disco mix. The music was enjoyable, but the main event was yet to come.
After a long wait, Tone of Arc finally arrived to play the middle room at around 4.30am. The set time was way too late, was due to D Edge organizing a simultaneous event where Tone of Arc also performed, whereas focussing on one event would have been far more logical. Thankfully, they were well worth the wait. They performed a live performance entirely of their own music - which they certainly aren't short of. Live bass guitar and vocals were performed with ease and they carried a great connection and presence on the stage as a duo. Song highlights from their album were "Sound Sail", "Surrender" and "Left Field".
A small gang of groupies at the front singing along to their songs… the crowd obviously loved these guys! Boyd wood the crowd his new age hipster vibe whilst Presnick seduced them with her performance. In the song "Easy Rider" Boyd chanted incomprehensible lyrics, and there was something very psychedelic about this song. On closing your eyes (and with a little imagination), you could easily be transported to a jungle rave in the middle of the Amazon.
Tone Of Arc´s music is a concoction of old and new styles brought together with a twist of originality - a refreshing change in comparison to a lot of the boring rubbish churned out these days. With so much going for them we are sure to see much more of Boyd and Presnick over the coming months.
Words by Holly Johnsen Fontanelli