Event Review: Northern Electronics x Samurai Horo – CS13, London
In spite of the recent swathes of gentrification culturally dismantling the city, there’s no shortage of skilled and resilient promoters keeping London’s dance culture alive. One of the newest of these promoters is Clock Strikes 13, a forward-thinking outfit that’s seeking to tackle their programming beyond the tropes of one-dimensional, single-genre themes. Their ambitious events series has held two parties every weekend since the beginning of October (finishing up on the 19th December), spanning label showcases from Ninja Tune and Hyperdub, to Planet Mu and XL recs.
Kicking off December, CS13 brought in nascent Swedish imprint Northern Electronics and SMG‘s experimental sub-label Samurai Horo to Corsica Studios. Both of the labels’ output this year has been nothing short of outstanding, and just by looking at the line-up is was clear that this was going to be a special affair.
N.E. label head Abdulla Rashim opened up room 1 with dusty ambient textures, littered with percussive tribal rhythms and sub-bass disturbances. Meanwhile Djrum was already rolling out his distinct brand of cinematic breaks-dubstep hybrid, eventually closing his set with Breakage’s serene ‘Drowning’. The sparse, yet intricate textures and rhythms sounded great in a now filled up room 2.
These days it’s pretty uncommon for clubs to have an audience for opening sets, but just half an hour into the night there were already a few dozen clubbers shuffling and attentively listening across both rooms. This said a lot about the focus of the night: the music, and affirmed the loyal and educated following that these two labels have garnered over recent years.
Varg began with abrasive noise-scapes before rolling bass drums and quick-fire hats came into play; though, it was Acronym’s set that followed which was particularly intense – an unyielding assault of never-quite resolving arches and compounded layers, an aesthetic that Rashim and co. have pioneered as their signature sound.
Samurai Horo label boss, Presha, delivered a spotless set, navigating with ease through the dots and crevices of techno, breaks, and dubstep – a digital jungle full of nuance and poise. Room 2 was replete with quality throughout the night, but the most memorable moment has to be ASC finishing off with Lakker’s ‘Containing A Thousand’, which sounded rather incredible on the Function One.
The crowd seemed to be totally in tune with the music, if a little subdued and introvert for the most part; though, shortly after Rashim and Acronym’s closing b2b set got going, a palpable energy heated the floor as they oscillated between upfront cuts and deeper, cerebral selections.
Clock Strikes 13 has tapped into a musical niche that’s yearning to be represented, and, despite the risks and hazards of today’s clubbing environment, the pay-off speaks volumes. Innovation and voice is becoming increasingly scarce, but with promoters such as CS13 backing the likes of Northern Electronics and Samurai Horo, we can be firmly assured that we’re in safe and capable hands.