Tuesday, 8 October 2013

14th Sept '13: Machine feat. Ben Sims & Kirk Degiorgio with Special Guests RØDHÅD & ROD @ Corsica Studios

New girly dilema this week... What to wear when you have to go to a wedding in the afternoon and a techno night later on? I went to a wedding looking very trendy and a club looking pretty overdressed for me. I was in a dress anyhow. Turns out heels make it wedding wear and DM's make it clubbing attire. Crisis averted. During a hilarious"last  tube" ride across London to Corsica Studios, we encountered many a victim of too much booze - and the boyfriends having to carry them home. Entertainment for all the family. Better than watching Eastenders at least. Their nights were over and ours was just begun!
 We arrived about 1am I think and the place was pumping. We'd been listening to ROD a fair bit at home the previous 2 weeks and I was really looking forward to hearing him play. I'd also been told that RØDHÅD would be awesome and I've not seen Ben Sims play in ages so I was prepared for a most excellent evening. I was not disappointed. After the usual bar, coat check, natter we stepped into Room 2 and into the sounds of ROD.

Otherwise known as Benny Rodriguez, ROD is on the CLR label. He dances as he DJs his set this evening. He is fun to watch. Within minutes I was shoulders in, grin on: lost in happiness.
The genre crossed from bouncy to minimal but it all shared the same easy flow and feel. It's a big old umbrella the genre of techno. It doesn't marry up in my head how this set and an Adam Beyer set are both techno and yet so different. I guess that's why we need sub genre labels. DSL says its all "just techno" but to you, the person who is reading about it and was not there, it's not that easy. You want to know what style a set is and how it sounds. I get lost in all the sub genre names so forgive me but I may well just make up my own, in which case ROD is now "Bounce'n' Grin."

The usual Room 2 slamming, nose tickling bass accompanied Latin riffs and a banging dancefloor. The room
did empty a little and I realised that signalled the start of RØDHÅD in Room One. We were having too much fun with ROD so we stayed and thought we would pop into Room One in a bit. Hilda, Jammy and the rest of the techno possy were all in there awaiting the deliverance of a much anticipate set - but I had no clue who I was missing out on and was happy to live in the moment and get down to some ROD loving. In tandem with the shrinking audience, the energy waned slightly for all of five minutes so I decided to stick my head in room one and it sounded quite brilliant in there, but as RØDHÅD was on for 4hrs there was plenty of time! I did notice however that it was not quite 4am yet - 5mins to go - so those lush warm melodic beautiful layers and thudding passive bass can only have actually been resident and Machine co-founder Kirk DeGeorgio.

Corsica was a hotbed of trendy young things this evening. It's interesting, to me, to watch how a younger clubbing generation react to techno. Some clearly do not get it. Some love it. It will be interesting when things get to the point where new DJs come through who were not even born when techno emerged, and when our old faves retire. Will that be the point when the genre goes the way of Drum'n'Bass and gets more mainstream, morphs into something new and spawns 56 separate commercial sub genres that all share the one sound sample? Then a fair few of it's producers jump ship to the next up and coming underground genre (SO many ex D'n'B prodcers in technoland these days!).

Techno has so much variety and longevity I hope it develops and stays as interesting for the next 20 years as it did the first. There are changes of course - virtually no-one just DJs anymore. Everyone is a producer. Maybe more live sets will set the genre apart and keep it fresh. The scene needs new fans as well as music to keep the club scene going so its nice to see so many people out. In stark contrast to many of the bigger clubs and events on the calendar, Corsica always attracts a true fan based crowd.

Chris Liebing recently described ROD's style on his CLR Podcast as "soulful techno." Soul would in most musical cases indicate a James Brown type of vibe and a certain sound but I think he just means that ROD's sets have depth of emotion. When listening to a Liebing set for example, I just zone out into some techno soldier trance. Standing there on ROD's dance floor I was smiley, bouncy & floaty in places, I was carried through an emotional spectrum.

The journey of the set is somewhat awesome organised chaos. Travelling all over the show in sub genre and style, but it works. There is acid and machine gunning brilliance, hand claps etc, old school, latin vibes, minimal, a tinge of funk etc. We left the room at 2:45am for a stinky horrid fag break but I welcomed the cold of outside. What with my lovely dress and my dislike of handbags I was keeping my phone in my boot - every time I bent down to take it out or put it away I got dizzy I was so hot. I got bored watching people smoke (it's never just the one cigarette and there was good music inside so why hang about???). I decided to do a recce of Room 1.

Room 1 for RØDHÅD was packed and sounded bland as I walked in. SLAMSLAMSLAMSLAMSLAMSLAMSLAM and nowt else so I went back to the garden and tried again in ten mins. With the stage used for dancing there was a deceptive amount of space available to dance in but to me, it sounded like so many sets I heard before. Paint by numbers Berghain dance floor Techno. Not that that is a bad thing but I was not here for that today. I didn't want the emotion drummed out of me, I wanted to FEEL, so I went back to ROD. I guess others felt the same at the time as Room 2 was rammed. I am admittedly judging RØDHÅD on short 5 min snippets so for a rounded view of the overall journey you'll need to read someone else's blog.

I went to the famously bass driven toilets and could hear RØDHÅD slamming it hard, but to me, it had no soul. Some nights I am in the mood to get nutted and stomp and soldier it up. Some nights I want some personality and pizzazz and fun. ROD is just where I was at. Sometimes hard is oppressive. March or else. Go hard or go home. In the loos everything shook with the duff duff duff and I heard a girl say... "That is my room every day. I love it." I could not do that every day. I prefer more bounce per ounce.

The last half hr of ROD's set Ben Sims joined him for some B2B. I remember hearing a track with either a
bassoon or clarinet riff. I've never heard that in techno before and it sounded great. Ben Sims was providing some tougher sounds now but the room kept an air of fun. Ben Sims kept raising the bar in terms of hardness with each track until we were all in a frenzy. As he played his last track we'd almost reached a level that was just too much ROD had to take it right back down to a dull roar in order to bring it in a bit and refunkify it all. And boy did he. He whipped us up and commandeered the final ten to fifteen mins and it was pure magic. I "Ashley Borged" about that dance floor. I (for want of a better phrase) lost my shit. Totally let go and fucking loved it. I am not one for applause and whooping (they are playing tunes, not delivering world peace after all) but I went mental at the end. I wanted to hug and kiss that man. Massive big love and respect. ROD you are awesomes. I may love you more than Hula Hoops. You are on a par with cats. And I love cats. A lot.

The final track ended and I needed a big fat break to recover and think on what just happened. Again I joined the smokers for some very unfresh air. Do we think if I complain enough they will eventually take a hint? I went to loo as they finished smoking and when I came back they sparked up again. Yuk. Stinks. So again I ventured alone into Room 1. RØDHÅD was still pounding 4/4 bass but was now more palatable and driving rather than oppressive. The dance floor was a little thinned out and everyone was shuffling happily apart from one guy on the stage with a fan full on voguing with boundless energy.

Ben Sims
I popped back in to see Ben Sims and ROD was on! I felt deprived I had missed 20mins! The B2B set had carried on past the end of his set and on into Ben Sims. The dance floor was writhing. Every build up brought people jumping in the air, both feet off the floor, and the energy was unparalleled on any dance floor I've seen in long time. It was a techno mosh pit. It was off the scale in there!!!

It was really interesting to see the contrast between ROD and Ben Sims. Ben was playing far tougher tracks then ROD would reply in contrast with something sassy and fun. Both DJs were in the booth grinning and dancing to each other's tunes and just having the best time together. The most exciting sounds were created when Ben Sims mixed into ROD's tracks. You felt tantalizingly close to something amazing but, once ROD's tune mixes out Sims track choices sounded dull in comparison. They worked really well back to back and it was really fabulous to see two very different styles merging and working together, and for each DJ to be reacting to each other and the crowd on the fly - rather than a pre-planned set. It's that kind of interaction that I find lacking a lot in many sets these days. To see some people behind the decks just oozing joy and enthusiasm and bouncing off the crowd was utterly the best night out I've had in ages.

Next blog will be in a week, reviews of Diamond Version and Margaret Dygas before we head off to celebrate my birthday at ADE. I cannot bloody wait.

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