Experiment Intrinsic Under The Dome April 2018

Shrouded in mystery – talk of ethereal sounds and ambient all-night adventures – Experiment Intrinsic was on the lips of many of my most musically engaged friends. Far from the weekend warriors, these were the calibre of character who dance in the centre of the Venn diagram of art, culture, and esotericism; audiophiles, artists and fanatics alike. Despite containing little concrete information, fractured perspectives on the fabled three-day festival thrown last year left me decidedly excited, yet naively unsure what to expect. Being a fan of ambient, experimental, and ultimately introspective music, I have found it’s very scarcely represented in the London scene. The chill out rooms have faded away as the club spaces come under threat and the nights truly dedicated are few and far between; was this limited capacity, alcohol free event the entrance to the scene I have been searching for?

I enter the space, something shudders – intrinsic – what does that mean? Oxford says “Belonging naturally; essential” but I instantly questioned that… intrinsic? Do we live by the dictionary? What does this mean? Intrinsic music? Music is intrinsic? With the idea of the law of vibration I guess, but experiment intrinsic? I didn’t know and didn’t stop to dwell… a sudden wave like I’d never known flowed through, settling and comforting, yet exciting. The space fully saturated in spiritual aura, from the stepping foot inside you could instantly feel the emotional energy and power which has flown through it, leaving a mark for others to feel throughout time; a perfect location for such an in-depth and emotional listening experience.

Moving in around midnight I found my way to one of the many beanbag and blanket combos laid all around the grand hall; not that the blanket was needed as I ran hot and the space was already brimming with welcoming and warming energy. Greeted with vaporwave-esque spinning Greek statues and rolling waves projected at every angle, soundtracked by a soothing live violin. As the luscious sounds of Katabasis soaked into me, I instantly felt the grandiosity of the night to come. He bowed, plucked and made sounds on the violin in all manner of ways imaginable, then looped over mellow beats and bass notes. I’d never seen a violin used in such avant-garde, dexterous and resourceful way. Positioned dead centre of the space it was easy to affix all my attention, complimented with the increasing swell of the projections above. A harmonious and gentle introduction to the trip – doing as any good trip should – easing you in gently.

On an evening so heavily focused on deep introspection and meditation on sound, the quality was of paramount importance. A custom 360 degree Funktion One system was provided by Sova Audio, named Kosmos after the Greek view of the universe, a perfectly aligned yet complex and complimentary system. I initially thought this seemed rather grandiose for a sound system, however those thoughts were quickly abolished by the rich textures amplified and resonated around the room. Main-stayed by four F1 stacks in each corner, supplemented by an array of home surround sound-style (also Funktion One) satellite speakers, which I later found out made up the “360 channel”, controlled independently and allowing a selection of different panning options to project the sound in ways I’ve not experienced in a musical setting. The resulting 8-point system allowed the artists to layer over the top of the traditional “bed” of sound, creating truly multidimensional immersive soundscapes.

The gradual waft of ceremonial palo santo bark brought around a feeling of primitivity to the senses – familiar, yet exotic – bringing in the sounds of Melina Serser with very organic, tropical scenes. Vast expanses of jungle and tropical climate were breezing past beneath and above; swaying upon a tree top with parakeets chirping all around. This transition was also met visually with some larger than life projections of said tropical birds over the domed ceiling. The Uruguayan DJ’s style of natural ambience, combined with the perfect matching of visual stimulation was truly transportive for me, taking me not deep within myself, but far out to parts of the world I have not been, yet felt like I now knew so well. It makes perfect sense that her mixes’ self-stated intent are ‘to create a non-mental, trippy, positive-vibed mix that generates different feelings, intensities, and moods’, along with percussion intended to ‘remind us of our roots’.

Meandering down the tropical river, the current suddenly takes a sharp turn down a mysterious side stream with trees covering the skyline. It becomes very dark. Obscure knocks, cracks and swirls dart my attention all over the place as you see – at least you think – movement in the trees. Drip, drip, drop something splashes down my neck from overhead as the skyline is almost completely closed in now with overgrowth. I can’t quite picture what – or where – I recognise, it’s always changing? The acoustics change, aquatic noises start to echo as the sound of Baby Vulture soaks in. Known for an almost archaeological approach to digging, she arranges vastly different fragments of undiscovered sound into incredible, transportive tapestries. These sequenced and overlaid to create her own intricate sonic and sensorial universe.

Now, a journey into the underbelly, a darker space. Hollow wood knocks echo around. Is anyone there? Abstract, tormented groans warp and morph in similar fashion. Scratches and whines above initially quite jarring; and then personal. Is this me? Trying to get in? Or out? A slow melancholic 50s piano begins to play, I’m drawn deep inside sepia-tinted visions of childhood. As a typewriter gradually types keys of retrospective sadness I explore some repressed trauma. Slowly lifted with a drum beat splayed across an impressive spread of hand-struck skinned instrumentation. Finally met with elongated flutes – bringing people to sit up all around the room – as though Baby Vultures is calling you awake into her world; so soft and simple yet deeply satisfying. At this point I am back, wide eyed in the space and met with a beautiful silhouette of a ballet dancer looping effortlessly and seemingly endlessly; she is dancing around so harmoniously with the sound that I’m lost track in her movements. The transition out of this space is far more ceremonious then the entrance, a resounding ohm note sung deep from the throat transcends into full reverberation around the room, shaking the whole space with the full force of Kosmos.

E/Tape took the sound even darker into shamanic realms of cosmic energy, melding together multi-cultural voiceovers into a spherical soundscape; almost as though you were directly tapped into Earth’s communication centre. There were such a contrast of languages and situations in earshot – hailing from all around the globe – it evoked feelings of a mysterious omnipresence. Everything that was happening felt like it was travelling through this one hub, and reinforced feelings of ever-connected physiological, emotional, and technological networks. As the world currently is not a perfect utopia, more unsavoury transmissions came through. I distinctly remember what sounded like an Asian torture scene which sent shudders through me, and actually became quite terrifying as the clarity and depth of the sound transported me there. Although being in a loving space and feeling perfectly safe, at this point I had to excuse myself to let my mind relax a little. Lurking, chatting outside for probably too long I entered back into a powerful Kendrick Lamar monologue and found comfort in the familiarity.

Taking time out to recollect myself from such an epic transportation, I re-entered as Gyorgy Ono was setting up. A moniker of Georgio Oniani, a favourite artist of mine known for his legendary Creatures parties and diverse genre-spanning dance sets, as ecstatic and eclectic as they’re intense, often erratic. I was instantly struck by the deft use of Kosmos, devilled alien creatures snarled and snivelled around the room against the backdrop of a gentle gong. Drawing closer – almost in your ear now – I reach for the blanket as a layer of comfort, unsure what to expect. Gurgles, pops and hisses underlaying distant groans of pleasure and songs of sorrow, a 4-4 type thud draws in as shards of shrapnel and precious material glisten and twinkle in the sound. Fragments and sonic extractions are layered and looped – re-contextualised – into this new soundscape, giving new life to the archaic. A timelessness is present throughout the sound, these aren’t just old soundbites rehashed, they’re frequencies outside of time itself; far removed from even the concept.

As the creatures are back gnargling with greater intensity, an incredibly grand and ornate piece of music comes in – almost sounding like it’s made of gold, the whole room seems to turn that colour – regale sitars bring far eastern energy into the space. New life synths sing high, building pressure into a break-beat anticlimax, sounding like every one of these manic beats came from a different piece of raw metal, not a drum kit, every note sounded unique and innocent; truly captivating. With a succession of some of the most intricate and detailed music that had ever hit me – a vision – these alien creatures have seemingly found humanity’s musical archives and are exploring some of the most powerful music ever created; absolute tones — relics — which have been safely secured for centuries, are now being unleashed once again. I felt such a wave of appreciation and awe in hearing these sounds, many of which left me lost for words and with tears in my eyes, for how else was I going to experience this without the gremlins uncovering them?

It’s hard to fully re-imagine the feelings that Experiment Intrinsic made me feel. The whole evening was a melting pot of pure passion, appreciation, and sonic vibration. The crowd were some of the most interesting, unassuming, and gentle people I have been around in a long time. The attention to detail of the sound far exceeds anything I have experienced before and given me a benchmark for just how good things can sound, and how deep the experience can go. The journey and sequence of artists gave a real narrative to the night and allowed me to delve deep into many cosmic reverberations of the sound and pulses of my own being. If any of this sounds of interest to you, all I can do is urge you to venture to an experiment yourself. Intrinsic returns to Hackney, London on September the 15th and November the 17th, 2018, check out their website here.

Words – Edward Keef

Printworks 2018 – The Hydra

Printworks, nestled in an industrial estate in the Canada Water area, just south of the river, is a great example of urban regeneration. It is in the space of what was once West Europe’s largest printing facility responsible for printing the Metro and the London Standard and has now been transformed into a 6,000 capacity multi-dimensional venue. This reuse of existing archaic architecture for new cultural facilities is certainly pleasing in today’s throw away society. Although not as romantic as the squat-cum-clubs of the Berlin scene, Tresor and Berghain, it is still a powerful feeling. Along with the area, Printworks itself is constantly being improved and fine tuned, everything from sound and lighting configurations to crowd flow and drink purchasing systems (no more drinks tokens, yes) which makes me extra excited to witness the second season of events, having a complete overhaul of its audio visual equipment this time round.

For the opening party the Hydra took the realms in curating the dance. Long time legendary party coordinators in London, it’s no surprise they put together such an impressive line up. On entrance it was smooth, a short walk through the winding complex greeted by friendly staff cracking jokes and making you feel relaxed and not tense on edge like the airport style security of some London venues. The building opens up as you start to get a shear size of the space, illuminated with tube lighting installations and ambience with a growing bass thud, enticing you into the cavernous space of Printworks’ main Press Hall.


Photo: Jake Davis

The sound of Red Axes filled the room with surprising clarity, the improvements to the main room sound system are instantly noticeable; a lot fuller and richer sound through ought even at the bar area. It is a vast improvement to the patchy and often overworked and blast-y sound in the main room before. The duo were bouncing through with clean heavy hitting rolling techno making you forget it’s only early afternoon, playing late night club bangers with worldly acid tinges and playfulness of their productions, such as a the M.A.N.D.Y remix of “My Warehouse” by Roland Leesker. As they build with more cheeky percussive tunes, a hallmark of their sounds, teasing pan pots and tin drums over mystique sounding psychedelic chanting style vocals. The vibe got progressively psychedelic, imagine acid campfire, everyone gradually losing themselves in the over powered strobe lights and then dreamy twinkly percussions like you’re laying back looking at the night sky, then BAM pounding beat back to your feet. A very good set, although relied on cutaway drop a bit too much creating a sense of plastic tension rather than sincere, but still very textbook.

On occasions the lighting in the main room was very overwhelming and distracting, especially the ridiculous amount of lasers and strobes, which become disorientating at times. If they’re well engineered they’ll be fine, but nothing on the epic beam setup of last season. The full on lighting was almost blinding at times making it hard to navigate, but on the whole the crowd flow down the sides of the main hall allowed for good access without getting too crowded, with exits whenever you needed. Coupled with the more solid sound coverage, it was much less hectic than prior configurations.


Photo: Carolina Farualo – Fanatic Photography

Room 2, nestled away at the back of the Press Hall hosted nordic rave legends Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm for the later end of the day. I was instantly a little disappointed to find the crisp and clear VOID acoustics had been replaced by a much more boomy and overpowered system which did not sit well in the room, although it still did a fair job. Prins did not disappoint however, playing heavier than usual layering upbeat techno and powerful disco to cosmic effect. There was a lot of positive dancing and happy faces, upbeat ethereal party time; weaving in twinkly synths as though we were dancing in the stratosphere while laying on huge bass keeping us from drifting off in space. A tune that stuck out from his set was Bawrut’s remix of “Devozioni Dialettali” by Enzo Avitabile, although the main highlight had to be an almost 10 minute long rendition of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer involving rolling Chicago hats and claps yet withholding the vocals, somehow more satisfying in simply respecting the magical arpeggiated beat that Giorgio Moroder concocted.

The finale came in the form of House legend Kerri Chandler, hailing from New Jersey, he steps up, straight into high energy drum roll double tension tempo claps slapping the slider to his own beat. He knows a party and truly turns it into one, expertly blending from big room techno bangers such as “Bang’t” by Geeeman to euphoric disco house “Let Love Enter” by The Disco House Lovers and high-energy punchy numbers like “Work It Out” by Karizma, to modern house classics like “If Only (Lehult)” by Liem and “Never Grow Old” by Floorplan. You could really tell he is a class above the rest the way he effortlessly swept away any lingering residue and fatigue from an afternoon of heavier tunes and filled the crowd with ecstasy and new energy. The set was accompanied by a huge bright disco ball, sparkling down the vast hall, a lighting fixture which was tasteful and added to the music. Overall a great way to end a solid selection of music and set everyone up for a beautiful rest of the weekend.

 

Words – Edward Keef


Photo: Jake Davis

Main photo courtesy of Carolina Farualo – Fanatic Photogprahy

Just Jack Halloween @ Motion

Both Bristol and DJ Harvey are key figures in the progression of the UK dance scene, the former a creche of iconic UK Bass sounds and the later a true legendary selector who consistently pushes the boundaries of both his epic parties and audacious personality. Having never been to or experienced either, I was chomping at the bit at a chance to tick both off the list.

The night was in Warehouse-esque club, Motion and hosted by Just Jack, a long running party from Bristol self dubbed as providing “Just Jacking House music”, who consistently orchestrate huge lineups of the best acts in dance music. That night was no different with big hitters Virginia, Steffi and Young Marco amongst others alongside DJ Harvey for his all-night set; a somewhat staple of his performances hawking back to the all-weekender dos which helped propel himself to notoriety during the 80s. DJ Harvey is a figure whose reputation proceeds him, dubbed as the “Keith Richards of the crossfader” and exclaiming he plays the music people want to hear describing it “You can’t understand the blues until you’ve had your heartbroken by a woman. And you can’t understand my music until you’ve had group sex on Ecstasy.”

As 12 rolled round and DJ Harvey stepped up into the booth, the main room began to swell as the mass of halloween creepers descended out of the gates of hell to enjoy the ensuing treat. Easing into the set nicely with palatable and accessible disco groovers, it took no time at all for any ghoulishness to turn to grins with the groovy disco tunes. There was no doubt about it, DJ Harvey plays the music people wanted to hear.  Keen not to get sucked up by his show and miss the plethora of other class acts I quickly moved on to catch the first of the two Panorama Bar residents, Virginia.

Hailing from Berlin and having a hand at DJin’, singing, songwriting and producing I didn’t know what to expect. Instantly hit by powerful vocal lead euphoric house that the whole crowd were really feeling, oozing positivity and inclusivity. Moving through into darker powerful house tones using some slick scratch back old school mixes; bringing the crowd into harder house grooves hitting deep but with such a smile and sense of euphoria, you could tell this was the music the Just Jack crowd especially love.

Back in the main room DJ Harvey had everyone bubbling along nicely, I took to the upper balcony to watch the spectacle unfold. Motion’s main room has a large cavernous feel and still manages to sound really decent, and the decor was glamorous indeed; huge disco balls supplemented with an array of lasers dancing the whole colour spectrum complemented DJ Harvey’s sounds effortlessly.

Fortunately for the freaks the night fell on the night of the clocks going back, excited by this extra playtime I managed to sneak in some cheeky Young Marco, who was having an absolute hurrah. Cranking the bass way up and playing some seriously enjoyable bass heavy, twiddling tweaky numbers physically shaking the jubilant crowd dancing excitedly around the front of the booth, you can tell he has real fun playing music and tapped into the playful spirit of an extra hour with the classic ‘Banana Boat Song’ by Harry Belafonte.

Steffi, the later of the Panorama Bar princesses was a refreshing change of pace going in hard with electro techno jabbers truly making the crowd jack like they’re rag-doles, flailing limbs flopping all around vibing to the electronic stabs as tho it’s an imperative groove, even if it wasn’t your sound there was no escape. A standout out tune that epitomised this was eerie ‘Huh’ from Randomer.

Journeying deeper into the evening DJ Harvey showed no signs of slowing down, subtly easing in acid numbers as though someone had spiked the punch, the crowd starting to feel a little something different before bam acid indulgence. This seductive sleight of hand upon his custom ARS 6200 rotary mixer is a true talent mastered over the years, highlighted with the track “Shift” by Redscape. Without staying in one sound for too long he builds on the energy for a euphoric finale and rides in the tango party vibes with the chorus “Streets are on fire”  in the Carl & Carol Jacobs track “Yonge Street Jam Band 1”, very welcoming and friendly uplifting dance music into grandiose moments mixing in “Pure Imagination”. By this time it feels as though the dancers almost know each other as the jive became increasingly more intimate, the quote I mentioned earlier now made complete sense.

 

Words – Edward Keef

Photos courtesy of Alastair Brookes

Percolate x Mind Fundraiser @ Oval Space

It was a great party, for an even better cause; Mind are a UK charity dedicated to providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

On the whole a massive £9793.72 was raised – shout out to Percolate and all involved for helping to raise awareness and open up the conversation on mental health.

 

Peeping PercolatexMind Oval Space Leon Vynehall b2b bicep percolate mind oval space Hazy crowd percolate x mind oval space Crowd PercolatexMind Oval Space Cane Kane and Issace PercolatexMind oval space Don Killshaw PercolatexMind Oval Space

Love Thy Neighbour Oval space

 

 

More photos here

Floating Points Live @ Electric Brixton 

Floating points is a name you’ll probably be familiar with for songs like Vacum boogie and Nuits Sonores, really funky fresh dance tunes, with heaps of soul. This trademark sound was incubated through many intimate sessions at London’s Plastic People club, of which has sadly shit its doors at the turn of the year.

That being said, if you look further back into Dr Sam Shepard’s roots you see a highly educated neuroscientist with background in classical music, he started out as a choir boy in Manchester before learning to play an array of instruments. His debut album Elaenia is a cosmic culmination of Shepard’s varied musical career, placing it in genre hard pushed for comparison – spiritual jazz is the phrase which often comes up to describe it. You can read more about his album when he sat down with Katie Hutchinson from the Guardian 

The Live show was a great rendition of the album interspersed with some intense and interesting experimentation and improvisation, a highlight was a five minute techno drum an bass solo with mesmerising strobe lighting throughout. The whole orchestra were incredibly tight, even if they did look a little bored throughout some of the extended breakdowns – bringing out real highs and deep lows, You can fell how much Sam enjoys playing with the crowd.

Overall the gig was a good musical performance and Electric Brixton suited it well – my only criticism was that Shepard lacked much real showmanship such as introducing and closing words, which would’ve really help bring together such a disconnected and experimental set like this; Something he can definitely work on to take the show to the next level from musical expression to spiritual transcendence.

If you enjoyed the album then you should do all you can to try an catch an upcoming live show, if you prefer his older releases and Dj sets then you may be left a little wanting without that persistent funky rhythm to dance to.

Four Tet – Live Performance @ ICA, London, August 24th 2015 with Video

In todays day world of USB stick playlists and lip syncing, it’s getting hard to tell what really is ‘live’ music? This goes doubly for electronic shows, where some of the most popular ‘acts’ consistently pump out pre-baked shows for extortionate price tags. Luckily we still have acts like Four Tet, currating ridiculous line-ups for honest prices  while also pioneering a truly live electronic experience – a unique journey through the sound and vision of Kieran’s music.

Four Tet plays live

Four Tet’s show last night at the Institute of Contemporary arts was a prime example of this, a simply beautiful electronic a/v show like nothing I’ve seen before; A perfect matrix of lights dancing to the sounds of his latest piece Morning/Evening sprinkled with classic tunes along the way.

This was a special show and I’m pleased to have grabbed a few clips to share; I can’t recommend enough Four Tet’s Live shows, catch one near you: http://www.fourtet.net/index.php/live/

 

Four Tet's Live setup surrounded by lights
Four Tet’s Live setup

See Kieran go into a few details of his Live setup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KIvnLBF7vU

WUITW 2

Warm Up In The Woods is a woodland-based rave put on by the Warm Up crew.

“As a brand Warm Up is very dedicated to representing melodic techno and electronica. Expect deep progressive grooves and lush warm melodies from our residents and friends”

WUITW 2 was my first warm up event, it was such a special morning and epic party – The vibes were happy, uplifting and deeply felt by all. The deep, melodic branch of techno that the warm up crew radiate brings a real sense of unity and oneness with the music,  nature and everything. Progressing to deeper groves throughout the early morning through sunrise, Aidan kept the crowd on a heart string powering through in to the new day.

Warm Up are a shining example of how to run a party, highly recommend! The next WUITW event can be seen here 

Catch the next Warm Up event

Hear a portion of Aidan Dohertys 5 hour set below:

 

Few shots from the night

Warm Up In The Woods 2 Crowd

Happy Chequers Going Deeper Stoked Flowers Lusty Paisley Distant Stripes Feels Hazy Shades

Field Day 2015

Field Day is a cosy festival in Victoria Park, it hosts a stellar selection of music from across the spectrum.

For me the highlights of the Saturday were Daniel Avery B2B Andrew Weatherall in Bugged out tent, along with Todd Terje’s flamboyant live set and Caribou closing out the Main stage.

CaneoKilla Field Day Gang Field Day Embrace Field Day Birthday Prince Field Day SLINGSHOT Field Day Todd Terje Dancers Field Day 2015