Friday, May 08, 2009

Three Halves Doesn't Make A Whole

Upon seeing the flyer for Thursday's Honest Jon's party at Plastic People with it's triple header of Mark Ernestus, DJ Pete & Sleeparchive (live) I became rather excited at the prospect of seeing three techno legends in such intimate surroundings, although I did feel a little bewildered as to why this wasn't going to be on a rather more practical Friday or Saturday night.

As half of Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound as well as a whole host of other sub-projects, Mark Ernestus' music credentials are well and truly cemented in place as it's nigh on impossible to overstate the importance of these ventures in terms of both the original productions the pair delivered as well as the ongoing influence their sounds have across a whole manner of genres today. Given that I don't recall ever seeing Ernestus listed as a DJ on flyers and the like, I had a sneaky suspicion that he wasn't going to be a four deck wizard but I felt pretty confident that he would have some damn fine records in his box. And sure enough he did, although their shine was a little dimmed by his 'no-mixing' DJ approach and somewhat haphazard sequencing and cross-fading resulting in an almost 'school disco' type awkwardness at times as the crowd waited for the outros and intros to pass so they could resume their appreciative dancing. I'm trying to tread a little carefully here as I am such an admirer of his work and he is truly in the scene's premier league but it just felt a little strange that the razor-sharp perception of space and flow that Ernestus' productions exhibit seemed to be sadly lacking from his DJing; something I'm citing as more of a surprise than a criticism. At times though, it did feel a little as if you were watching him play records for himself on a Sunday afternoon.

DJ Pete delivered a much more structured performance and for the first of his two sets, dropped a wealth of techno treats and maintained the momentum on the floor nicely. His set later in the night took things down a different path where he displayed his new-found passion for all things dubstep. The hefty bass sounded superb on Plastic People's system and sure enough he dropped some corkers but I couldn't help but sense that it wasn't really what the crowd were expecting or indeed what they were particularly wanting as the flyer had screamed 'techno, techno, techno' at them.

Techno, however, is what they most certainly got when Roger Semsroth aka Sleeparchive stepped behind his controls as his stripped down brand of clinical audiophile sonics was just what the doctor ordered. His set was the undoubted highlight of the night and I found it much more dynamic than his performance at 2008's Bloc Weekend which was the last time I saw him. My only complaint is that I wish it had gone on for longer as I was enjoying it so much.

So, all in all, it was definitely a worthwhile night to have attended but not quite the 5 hours of audio heaven I'd been hoping for.

Sleeparchive - Hospital 03
Sleeparchive - Papercup (buy)

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great post :)
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