WHP x RBMA x BR – 9/11/12
Almost two weeks ago I attended the next installment of my Warehouse Project 2012 selection. Definitely one for the heads, this night brought together some of the most forward thinking artists in the scene and the line-up was pretty incredible – from top to bottom. Main headliners included Flying Lotus, Squarepusher, Ben UFO, and Pearson Sound. Following shortly behind were the likes of Jamie XX, Lapalux, Floating Points, Shed, Krystal Klear, Illum Sphere, DJ Shadow, Pangaea, Moxie, and Benji B (it bothered me that WHP failed to mention that Thundercat was taken off the line-up and assumed no one would notice).
The best sets by far for me were from FlyLo and Shed. Both were pretty mind-blowing but in different ways. FlyLo’s set was very much bass-heavy and though it was dominated by a trap-dubstep framework, it contoured a nice pace throughout his two hour set, with a tracklist that was well-balanced and varied (which is only to be expected from the man). Indeed, in light of the recent release of possibly one of the year’s most anticipated albums, Until The Quiet Comes, it would be apt to anticipate FlyLo’s delivery of his unique aesthetic at a time of fertile and innovative creativity. Of course dropping Higher Ground – TNGHT was both predictable but necessary, the place went f***ing crazy; but then at times he would take us into a completely different place, with a mould of abstract loops and samples forging a coherent sound-scape that lifted this performance from a mere ‘DJ’ set to something more artistic. I think it is pertinent to mention here that a great part of the success in FlyLo’s set was in the visual aspect of his show. A lot of work went into the production of his Layer 3 concept, which pushes forward the boundaries and possibilities of a live show setting. A short documentary by RBMA explores this a little in an interview with FlyLo and briefly explains the concept behind it (watch it here). There was so much energy and power in this set, at times it was quite overwhelming; you wouldn’t want to dance, you would just stand there and take it all in. I was very satisfied to finally see Steve Ellison in action, having heard his music and read about him.
To sum up Shed, it was pure techno bliss. Dark, industrial, and enough tech to last you multiple life-times. That pounding bass you hear as you step into the room, you know the one… the one where you begin to realise you’ve entered this dark, unknown, chasmic underworld where you know you won’t come back for a long, long time, it will change you; after journeying through this ethereal world of shadows and looping paradigm, utterly disorientated yet helplessly entranced by this repetitive but subtly intricate world, you are blissfully aware of the infinity with which this sound will continue. They smashed it, and it was comforting to hear that distinct signature Berlin-tech sound once again with authority. Room 2 was the perfect place to do it.
Another highlight of the night was getting into the VIP Boiler Room session, and the subsequent VIP areas that this magical wrist-band entailed. Everyone knows VIP isn’t all that, but it was nice to sometimes have the extra room, and what I heard and saw during the BR takeover was pure quality, something I’ve possibly started to take for granted from Hessle Audio. Oh and the free red-bull had me buzzing for a good few hours as well as the imminent heart-attack that comes after downing three cans of it.
Seeing Floating Points for the first time was something I’d been waiting a long while for and was duly surprised by the experience. Completely different from their well-known production style of Sais and Myrtle Avenue , their mammoth three-hour set included much more upbeat genres such as disco, house, funk, a bit of soul in there, as well as a number of other golden-age genres. After an hour of funky classics it got a bit tedious for me and my insatiable desire for some 4×4-house-goodness was granted when they shifted into more house-orientated tracks. Despite this I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t deliver the sound that I have come to know and love them for. However I can appreciate the diversity and malleability of Sam Shepherd and his love and understanding for a number of different genres. The set provided a brighter, more uplifting component to the night that contrasted nicely with that of more ‘serious’ sets by Jamie XX and Shed, for example.
Though not the most immediately accessibly artist, Squarepusher also provided a blinding set (quite literally). The lights were ridiculous, if you’ve seen a live show from Justice you’ll get a good idea of what I mean. The relentless and torrential electronic heaving of over-drive, gain, and distortion was awe-some, it literally destroyed you. The power behind this music, again similar to Justice’s ‘wall of sound’ style, was utterly convincing and though I feel Squarepusher’s music is quite difficult to listen to at times, seeing it in a live setting makes some of the most annoying aspects of this music tolerable. His LED helmet also deserves a special mention.
I can say that this night was one of the best I’ve been to all year, which is saying a lot. Brilliant from start to finish and I’m looking forward to WHP 1st December, which again, exhibits another ridiculous roster of artists (Orbital, Scuba, Chris Liebing, Modeselektor, to name but a few).