Friday, 9 August 2013

Sat 3rd August: Colony @ Corsica Studios / Sunday 4th August: VOID @ Cafe 1001

I had a self imposed techno month off after Barcelona. Epic workload for a while meant no social life whatsoever for a while. I even missed DSL's birthday celebration trip to Machine at Corsica (brief review: Oscar Mulero - great tunes but overcrowded main room). Back in full swing for August...

First stop Colony Summer Rave at Corsica Studios. We arrived, queued, took my rucksack stuffed with everyone else's belongings to the cloakroom (one day I will not take a bag and then WHAT WILL THEY DOOOO!?!?!?) and stood about in the smoking area whilst I watched everyone else pumping their lungs full of crap. This was not a Colony of techno and only techno. In the promoters own words "we've assembled what, we reckon, is about the most balls-out destructive Colony line-up to date, spanning house, techno, electro, acid, 'ardcore, jungle, D&B and all kinds of mutant in-betweenness primed to set the dancefloor ablaze - or at least bits of it." This was an eclectic night of genres during which I had a fine old time in the main. For one, I remembered to charge my phone so had no need to scribble notes in the dark this time - a fact checked by CB on the door on my way in.

Finally we got into Room One to watch Kawn's live set. Who the fuck are Kawn? Mates of the promoters according to the line up. I went to look up Kawn and found the dictionary definition is the Turkish word for "an inn". However the urban dictionary says this:

(verb) To trick a retarded person into thinking he's not retarded. Possibly a relative of the much hated "pwned".

Kawn were using modular synths (and a load of other analogue kit we couldn't quite see from floor level) to deliver a set of very not off the shelf funky breaks, steady melodies, cheeky high hats, booty bass, tribal rhythms, acid touches and a bit of everything flung in. It worked well - sounded like a different genre every ten mins and yet the same signature all over it throughout. They best get themselves a Soundcloud account and a facebook page "tout de suite" as I am quite sure that I  - and indeed The World - would enjoy much more of this.

Radioactive Man
Obviously you expect DJ's at decent clubs to have some skills but when it comes to changing between sets, often the set is cut completely for a round of applause or the two sets are mixed one into the other but they don't mesh well - a stubborn DJ will sometimes have a planned set and especially the first track and damn it if they will change their minds to suit the current situation. However, not only did the next DJ mix seamlessly, he did it from a set of decks the other side of the room. Not a big deal really but noticed by all of us as most people don't bother. It's been a while since I last danced about at Haywire at The Fortress to electro veteran Radioactive Man. For those of you not in the know, Radioactive Man is Keith Tenniswood and he also makes up one half of Two Lone Swordsman with Andrew Weatherall. A slow paced start to the set had our mate IT getting impatient and wanting to go check out Room 2 but I told her to give it 20 mins and she was glad she stayed. A solid beginning ramped up and things got bassier, more urgent, the breaks got funkier with some menacing bass lines ripping up the dance floor. He's certainly not lost his touch in ten years. I used to go to Cambridge breaks night Boomslang on a regular basis a few years back and always loved the super tension freeing awesome joyful feel of breakbeat. Somehow Radioactive Man gave it a more mature grown up edge this evening. I had almost forgotten how much I love dancing to breaks. The beats fly off in different syncopated directions and my limbs wanna just follow suit. The sounds got gradually more frenetic as the set went on and techno  influences pulsed through it all in clean waves. Whereas Plump DJs are happy hands in air, this is more layered, more serious, intelligent, hints of dnb and techno with a snippet of Samba beats thrown in for a few bars too. Not that anyone was paying attention to the screen on the opposite wall but there were some nice graphics on show as well. 

At this point I should also point out that the general sound in Room 1 was much cleaner and crisper than it has been the past few times I've gone to Corsica. Whatever or whoever has sorted that system out a bit BRAVO! I am also loving that Corsica's smoke machines do not point down, just across the ceiling for atmosphere. Nothing invasive that blinds you for 2 mins and gets up your nose. The simple gobo lighting effect on the bar area wall also always draws my attention. Simple but effective.

No return to techno would be complete without TIR and he unexpectedly graced us with his presence at
2am after a last minute drive down from afar. It was almost time for Untold in Room 2 so we all went off to bars and toilets and smoking areas and had a chat and chilled for a mo. I was looking forward to Untold. We'd seen him in November according to IT but I had forgotten. He had however cropped up in conversation recently with my non-techno friend who had no idea about his techno career standing, but asked if I had ever heard of him as they are old mates. We entered Room 2 and were introduced to a soundscape of bass lines and distant police sirens, after which were immediately assaulted by the subs. My oesophagus was shaking so much in my throat I kept coughing. It was not comfortable. Untold basically took ten mins to scare the living shit out of my ears and I left the room.

I went to the loo to recover only to have my arse shaken to hell by the vibrating toilet seats above Room 2.
Everything in the loos shakes and vibrates from the bass downstairs. I returned to witness a techno DJ do a rewind. For real. That happened. He may be an ex DnB producer but there are limits. The set was not something I wanted to dance to but I was interested to stay and listen if it had been possible. Earplugs would not have worked. The man needed to turn shit down. The speakers could not cope with the levels and the results were a bit scratchy and not pleasant. But its just not cool to go tell a DJ that his sound levels are whack so, we exited to Room 1 where some other kinda abuse to my ears was also playing and so we hung out in the garden for a few mins until something more palatable to my fragile little mind came along. 

Anodyne's Live AV set came next. Another interesting name choice it means "inoffensive" but also is also a painkilling drug. Ha. Crazy, super fast fat bass & machine gunning mid range were complimented by cool hexagonal patterns, graphic equalisers and aerial shots on the screen mixing much slower than the music, which made your mind feel calm as your ears and feet were anything but. This set felt like DnB, Gabba and techno all rolled into one machine. A rare treat.

The DJ the boys had all come down to see was Perc who got straight in there with some banging wowowowowow sawtooth sound waves and started ripping the floor to pieces. A couple of Planetary Assault Systems tracks dropped in much to our delight. Every time I felt like Perc was slacking off ever so slightly I'd have just enough time to catch my breath and he'd pick it right back up again. A constant onslaught of techno with acid twangs and some beautiful flurry of pianos towards the end of the set. 

Perc was followed by Double O, a friend of ITs who has told me beforehand that he'd be delivering us some Detroit techno. JOY! ... We missed the first 20 mins because when a group of 6 people goes for a smoke, inevitably they chat and have another smoke and then one of them that looks like me will get bored of watching them all smoke and eventually coerce them back indoors to dance about. We returned to Room 1 to see Double O playing to a thinning crowd at about 5am. Great as there was more space for us to enjoy the sounds of wicked claps and synthy melodies. Some gems that can be found in my own collection were played and it's been a while since I heard them in a club. Papa New Guinea was just awesome, shortly followed by LFO's LFO. Then the set started getting old school, veered into hardcore and then residents CB and MB took over the last set for an all out hardcore session - at which point my fuel tank was empty and we headed home. 

A six hour sleep, a vat of coffee and some scrambled eggs on toast later we ventured to VOID at Cafe 1001. Took us bloody hours to get there due to Ride London taking over the roads and an Arsenal match causing jams on Holloway Rd, so we actually only just made it for the end of Simon Brandreth's stonking set before headliner Ashley Borg came on. I read a friends comment on FB today that he was out enjoying "Ashley Borg Techno, a genre all of it's own." True dat. Once again the floor was packed at 10pm on a Sunday night whilst sensible folks are off to bed. I question the vest but commend the set. Ashley always provides a heady educational mix of classics and totally new unknown tracks from up and coming producers. 

Ashley Borg aka The Mr Motivator of Techno
The Mr Motivator of Techno gave us all a damn good techno workout. A highly animated crowd were hyped up to the max not just by the sounds, but by the overall performance. Ashley was all big grins and air punches and the more he loved it the more we loved it. Lots of whooping, chanting, clapping etc. and an overall great atmosphere. This video shows Mr Borg getting his moves on:

I was feeling a little jaded and snuck off for ten mins to the front lounge at to eat home made cookies from the cafe and listen to the wonderful sounds of the usual resident DJ playing nice chilled house which was more where by brain was at. I am clearly out of practice! Best I fix that... 

The next Colony vs Scand (go and check out Simon Heartfield) is on 31st August with a cheaper combined ticket available to Plex on the 30th here. Determined to get to Plex this month as I missed the last 2 including a set from Rrose :( 

The next VOID is also that weekend. 

Other dates this month to look out for are:

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