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What follows is an event review I wrote with the intention of having it published on Resident Advisor, only to be told it was not ‘globally relevant’:

2016 is going to be a big year for Lisbon. Not only is the city attracting a lot of foreign attention due to its cheap prices and relaxed pace, there are also signs that the local scene is itself looking outwards, from the recently launched online station Rádio Quântica to the inaugural Lisbon Dance Festival taking place at the beginning of March. The team behind the festival includes João Maria and Jorge Caiado, who along with Zé Salvador run the Carpet & Snares record shop, which celebrated its 2nd birthday this Saturday morning at the afterhours venue Europa Sunrise.

Outside observers of Lisbon’s nightlife could be forgiven for thinking it limited to the glitz of Lux Frágil (the city’s biggest clubbing institution) and, earlier in the night, the chaotic, tourist-filled streets of Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodré. Wander off-piste, though, and you will find a number of small venues open til 4am hosting an abundance of excellent local DJs: head to Brownie, Lounge, Casa Independente or Dâmas and you’ll hear everything from balearic disco to chicago rhythm trax, deep house to the frenetic African-influenced sounds that have made waves in the UK.

Where to go when most venues have shut for the night, though? Europa Sunrise is one of Lisbon’s main afterhour clubs, located to the West of the city centre and operating til 10am. The entrance is hidden down an unlikely looking travessa off the main road and masks an unexpectedly cavernous interior. It’s essentially a huge old stone barn with exposed walls, heavy-looking wooden beams and arched doorways – the bar is an island in a large ante room leading on to the dancefloor, which is dominated by two collossal statues of androgynous figures in prayer. Electric medieval-style candelabras and two giant disco balls complete the effect.

Away from the glamour of Lux and the disarray of Bairro Alto it is refreshing to find non-posey people enjoying themselves to good music played well. The Carpet & Snares DJs have worked together long enough to mix their individual styles without causing friction – linear and rolling techno with basslines (Zé Salvador), house that’s sometimes skippy, sometimes deep (Jorge Caiado) and all sorts in between (João Maria). The music travelled from hard acid techno to floating deepness (‘See You On Monday’ by Herbert), the only real disappointment being a mix out of ‘Forever Monna’ before the bassline came in. Looking round the room you can see DJs and staff from different venues dancing alongside other nightlife regulars, some more wrecked than others but everyone having a good time.

With the Lisbon Dance Festival, Piknic Electronik and Lisb-On Jardim Sonoro (the latter also run by the Carpet & Snares team), the city will welcome more dance music fans this year than ever before. It will be interesting to see how the local scene manages this influx – outside investment can homogenise as well as stimulate, and it’s far from guaranteed that interest in big-name visitors like Sven Väth or Dixon will translate into more attention for local talent. As the scene expands, and as Lisbon Council ramps up its ill-advised noise control efforts in the city centre, it’s comforting to know that there’s at least one place you can go to for a bit of late-morning worship.

I was dancing quietly by myself next to the right-hand speaker, close but not uncomfortably so to a small potted shrub, sandwiched between a portly portuguese man (an uncommon enough sight) and a woman who had not 5 minutes previously asked me for a little more dancing space. Fair enough, I thought, and edged further into the shrubbery – I’m not about to be the person holding people back from dancing. But suddenly, there I was standing accused of not dancing enough myself, of even looking SAD.

Say hello to Manuela, a Brazilian architect who’s been in Lisbon for two months and had come to this party on the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara alone, a fact she relayed with not a little pride. With getting on for 7 years of occasional solo clubbing experience behind me, I sympathised. However, wasn’t it easier to meet people at parties, said Manuela, where you can just go up to anyone and start talking? Beyond the irony of my immediate thought (‘well, yes you can, but they won’t necessarily like it’), this cut closer to the bone than she could ever realise – in all my years of clubbing the number of long-term friends I’ve made spontaneously in club situations can be counted on one hand. As we were to work out through the following hours of conversation, this inability to connect quickly but in a deep way with people despite an apparent shared interest appears to be a British thing, something I have been doing my best to ‘despejar’ (throw out) by moving here in the first place.

And I can take comfort in the fact that my immediate response to Manuela’s accusations of remoteness and lack of demonstrable enjoyment was not to retreat further into myself, which in London would almost be a given, but in fact to go on the attack: no, I was not sad, and no, I was not finding it boring. My outward aspect at that precise moment was the result of a profound, almost aching nostalgia for a time that predates the beginning of this blog: there I was, getting up close and personal with a shrubbery, surrounded by a number of potential new friends, but being assailed every 4 minutes with another slice of my musical past that I shared with my oldest and closest friends who now live far away. Here, in a city in a different country and 6 years later, the DJs were traversing our old post-mnml forays into Perlon (‘Onandon’) and my Prosumer-driven plunge into classic house (‘Bar A Thym’); Bleimann’s Mountain People phase; and Andrew-period Botley with ‘My Soul My Spirit’, ‘Midnight Express’, ‘Prospect Drive’.

The memories and the acute feeling of potential inherent in that music being played where I now live, were almost too much to take. That sense of vertigo, and whatever approximates to ‘saudades’ in my now multilingual (read: confused) vocabulary of emotion, was what was responsible for my apparent disconnectedness – my body might have been there, but my mind was on a rooftop in Oxford, downing a Carlsberg and savouring the prospect of day turning into night. And rather than feeling all of this emotion but not sharing it, I actually explained it to Manuela, somewhat painstakingly in English and Portuguese, and in doing so realised that I AM making progress.


Later in Brownie, standing talking to Gonçalo from 808, the unfortunate marriage of a tealight and a stack of napkins on a nearby shelf caused a conflagration of uncomfortable proportions for a space that small. The only person not to hesitate was one of the barmen who, whipping his tshirt over his head, proceeded to use it to tamp out the fire. Inside I was dying at this unlikely collision between the worlds of underground house music and topless barmen, spiked with a soupçon of apparently real danger; yet outwardly I remained impassive. So there’s still some way to go.

I’ve been slowly making my way round Lisbon’s assorted record stores, using Lisbon Record Shops as a guide. Unfortunately, to say the experience has been a gratifying one would be to lie. I’ll save the dedicated house & techno shops for another day (or month) but to be honest my enjoyment in physical record shopping has long been almost wholly restricted to finding disco, pop and ‘other’ records in charity shops, rather than trawling through bins upon bins of dog-eared ‘bargain house’ white labels at whichever MVE I happen to find myself in. Unfortunately, this shift in my record-buying habits has coincided with a move away from London to a city where a) charity shops don’t really exist and b) most of the record shops seem to think it’s reasonable to charge a basic rate of €5 for what should be 50p records.

First up was a trip a couple of months ago to Sound Club Store, which inhabits a box on the same floor of the same shopping centre as Carpet & Snares, one of the aforementioned house and techno stores. This rather chic-looking shopping complex – Espaço Chiado – has a privileged location just near Praça Luís de Camões, but is something of a ghost building, with only a handful of its floor-to-ceiling glass boxes occupied and a general air of faded glamour. Alongside a shop selling printer cartridges, it’s a pleasant suprise to find not one but two enterprises selling vinyl, but after my first foray into the downstairs part of Sound Club Store I am loath to recommend it.

Most of the records are the kind that in London you would find for £1 in your local branch of Scope (never reaching the heady heights of the Marylebone High Street Oxfam), yet here they are priced at €5 minimum and often in pretty shoddy condition. Then you have the laughably overpriced LPs, like the copy of Gino Soccio’s S-Beat, which I thought didn’t have a price on and would therefore be a just-about-reasonable €5, only to be told the price was on the inside of the sleeve and was, in fact, THIRTY FUCKING EUROS. Yeah right! Thanks but no thanks…

In the end I took home a beaten up copy of Donna Summer (wall-to-wall bangers, though my current soft spot is for ‘Livin In America’) and a version of ‘Doctor Love’ by First Choice. For the time I spent getting my hands dirty flicking through the bins, this was a pretty underwhelming result – if they’d been €1 a piece I would have taken home a lot more.

Sadly the same pricing approach is in place at Mau Génio, a shop which doesn’t even have the benefit of being very accessible. In another rather depressing shopping centre but this time in Benfica, a suburb that’s a good 20-minute bus ride out of the centre, this shop at least has a reasonably accurate price list on its website, so you kind of know what you’re getting into. Annoyingly, though, the main things I was after were either not findable or unacceptably scratched, so again I left with only a couple of non-bargains, albeit at least one of them having sexy/sweaty sleeve artwork (Hall & Oates’ H2O).

I suppose this state of affairs is the result of a lower circulation of vinyl in general here in Lisbon, with not enough supply and demand to encourage more realistic prices for second-hand vinyl that to all intents and purposes is pretty much worthless. It means I will have to get my kicks abroad, on trips to London and New York, where I can still be pretty confident of going into a second-hand shop like MVE or A1 and emerging with an armful of true bargain bin goodies.

Since I arrived in Lisbon I have been enjoying going out a lot more than I did in my last year or two in London.  The parties are smaller and less high-pressure, the music is more varied within each night, and the drinks are cheaper.  Happily the best party here actually happens every month in the club with the best soundsystem, Lux Frágil, down by the riverside in an otherwise rather desolate zone where leviathan cruise ships sidle up to the dock and discharge their cargo of rabid tourists into neighbouring Alfama. Lux stands alone in this area, a box raised on stilts with a roof terrace that looks out over the vast expanse of the Tejo where it opens out inland, the thread-like structure of the 10 mile-long Vasco de Gama bridge visible across the water.  On first inspection it looks too chic to be fun, and although it never reaches fabric-levels of insanity the queue, security and ticket booth can still be rather gauntlet-like.  Going up the stairs into the middle bar level you are confronted with shiny neon lights, glitter balls, gaudy furniture and an animatronic stuffed polar bear – and lots of well-dressed people not really dancing to not very good music.

So far so underwhelming, but you soon learn that downstairs is where the real party is at, in a reasonably-sized room with a top-level soundsystem and normally-dressed people dancing to really good music. At least, at Trust the music is really good, when one of Lux’s longstanding residents Tiago plays his own diverse but recognisable mixture of deep house, weird house, techno, tech house, disco, balearic, etc etc… I mean, who would ever imagine that ‘Dusty Cabinets’ or ‘There’s Somebody Out There’ could be considered ‘classics’, yet at Trust they are. Even harder to imagine is that taking its place alongside these relatively chinstroking-friendly records you also have the batshit goofy ‘Points’, which E and I have now heard at two successive Trust parties, both times transporting us straight back to the first time we heard it in fabric probably 6-years ago and had to lean on each other’s shoulders for support in order to cope.  And in the relatively vast gulf that lies between these two realms (‘authentic’ detroit house and almost cringe-inducingly inauthentic Spanish minimal techno) Tiago effortlessly fits in Robert Hood, ‘Forever Monna’, new records I don’t know the name of and would probably never hear otherwise, old ones I should know the name of and hopefully hear again, ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’, and what I’m pretty sure was a jazz saxophone record played as an acappella over a Nail track from two years ago.

Safe to say that every time I go to Trust I have a blindingly good time.  There is always a crowd of eurogays dancing away front-left til the bitter end.  There is always the 66 year-old film director João Botelho flailing away in the company of at least one glamorous woman.  The bar staff are always beautiful and the toilets are always clean.  And so far Tiago has not once let me down.  If you’re thinking of coming to Lisbon, try and make sure it’s when this party is happening – and stay all night long.

How often do you get to listen to some of your favourite music – and music that could easily be your favourite music if you knew what it was – on a fantastic soundsystem without the distraction of people nearby talking shit, spilling drinks and/or vomiting on your shoes? And how often do you get that chance twice in one weekend? Not often; but this weekend (and I am including Thursday here since I’m now a freelance home-working hipster who has, like, you know, a flexible approach to working hours, this is 2015 after all guys) this weekend, I had three said experiences, each different and each enjoyable in its own way.

First, on Thursday, a night run by my ex-landlord Rodrigo called, fabulously, AQUARELLA, at one of my favourite bars in Lisbon: Brownie. Having up to that point thought that the friendly lady behind the bar was simply an employee, I was surprised and pleased to find out that she – Xana – actually set up and owns the place, having started it without any prior experience whatsoever – living the dream, in other words, though I get the impression in the current climate here it is not the best of ‘negócios’. I love it though: it’s essentially someone’s front room but with decks, a soundsystem and a bar, and they program a rota of local DJs playing to local bar-propper-uppers, including one slightly frazzled individual called Hugo whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of making this time round. Rodrigo, playing on a Rane rotary provided by one of Xana’s friends, treated the exclusive (read: sparse) crowd to a mixture of his own brand of disco, italo, slow house and odds and sods, in true professional DJ form, and I took advantage of the full 15 minutes of Moroder’s ‘Evolution’ to dance in front of the Martin Audio speaker, soaking in that liquid, cyclical, future-funk opera masterpiece as if I was in my own living room. Experience #1. When the music finished we sat round the bar drinking shots on the house and ensuring headaches for tomorrow.

Second, on Friday, I went to Ministerium, probably the shiniest club I’ve been to in Lisbon, even shinier than Lux Frágil and worse for it, since, unlike Lux, which attracts a chic hipster crowd who nonetheless like to get down, it simply attracts the wealthy. Following my last few times there I had almost lost hope with the place, and on reflection Friday’s experience doesn’t change my overall view, but I did have a wonderful time: almost two hours of uninterrupted dancing all by myself in the centre of the dancefloor, optimum speaker orientation for maximum enjoyment of the parade of favourites played by Gonçalo and Francisco of 808. I mean, of course I knew they would play records I like, I just didn’t know I’d be spoilt with a dancefloor and soundsystem all to myself. ‘Crying Black Man’, ‘Make It Hot’, ‘My Soul My Spirit’, ‘Phreaky MF’ with an inspired conversational mix into ‘Overcome’…it just went on and on. I actually felt some genuine disappointment when more people arrived at the club, especially as they then proceeded to stand on the side as if it was a school disco. Maybe I was that crazy guy dancing before the hour at which it’s socially acceptable…so shoot me. Sadly it couldn’t last, as 808 wrapped up their set and Black Coffee, SA’s foremost ‘deep house’ guru, took over and proceeded to play the kind of banal, insipid music that the kind of people who go to Ministerium fucking love.

Time to leave, then, and see how the Dekmantel label night was getting on at Lux. Having been let in past the main queue for the first time by the club’s fabulous (and cute) doorman – but not for free (more work to be done) – I caught the last 30 minutes or so of Juju & Jordash’s liveset, which they were coaxing out of racks upon racks of gear and wires. It sounded good, apart from the odd system fuckup causing the front stacks to cut out, and of course the fact that is true about any and all livesets: they’re really just one track after another, in a way that’s far less interesting than DJ sets. Actually, I’ve never seen a Steevio modular synthesis set, so maybe I should reserve judgement in that regard, but even with Bletchley Park-levels of hardware J&J were still hamstrung by the format.

When they finished there was some brief applause before Joey Anderson, obscured by the stage and equipment, let fly with the full PUMP of Machine’s ‘There But For The Grace Of God Go I’ – there could be no better omen, you might say, and for 5 blissful minutes I was imagining the forthcoming hours of uninhibited hands-in-the-air madness…only to be brought savagely down to earth by the realisation that Joey Anderson was playing B2B with one of the Dekmantel DJs who, in combination, would find it impossible to locate any semblance of flow at all. Yes, I like Sha-Lor, and yes, I like Liz Torres, but no, I don’t like cheesy Sven Weisemann-esque-but-with-vocals house tunes, and no, I don’t think in this day and age that ‘Walk Music’ is still worth listening to, and no, I don’t think Oni Ayhun OAR003B should ever by played ever again unless it’s the final record of a festival on top of a dormant volcano in Japan and everyone’s taken loads of acid. Sorry. Time to leave, again.

So on to Experience #3, on Saturday afternoon (still only Saturday?), when I walked half an hour north from my flat, past Amoreiras (monument to Portugal’s late-20th century fixation on outsized shopping centres, and designed by an architect who must surely also be one of the first sex-tape celebrities of the internet age) and into Campolide, traversing various highways in order to reach the Jardim Amnistia Nacional, where Rodrigo was once again playing, this time at the invitation of OUTJAZZ festival. When I arrived there was a smattering of people listening to a piano-saxophone duo noodling away needlessly in the blinding sunshine with a backdrop of the banks and insurance high-rises that line the avenue west of Praça de Espanha. After much torture-by-saxophone, and after locating one of the few spots of grass actually shaded by the infrequent trees dotted through the park, I could finally sit down and enjoy more of Rodrigo’s wonderful record collection, which continues to impress me by its diversity and appropriateness to every occasion – the sign not just of a good collection but of a very good DJ. And then, unexpectedly, there I was sitting with a beer in hand to all intents and purposes alone (despite the growing crowd on the hill behind me) and soaking in the jawdropping bass of ‘Aquarius’, the sky blue above, the grass green in front, the buildings stark white and airplanes descending close overhead (Lisbon being notable for the sometimes worryingly intimate relationship between the city and its principle flightpath), all of this mixture of the natural and the synthetic being translated for me palpably in the song itself, whose nonsense litany of numbers, giggling and ‘ORANGE’ made my grin, already wide from the bass, reach manic proportions.

‘We don’t really need a crowd to have a party’ they say. Well, it’s nice to have company, but sometimes you can’t beat a soundsystem and some good music, never mind how many other people are there to enjoy it with you.

New record of the year

So Inagawa – ‘Logo Queen’ [Cabaret]
This is the only new record I bought this year, and practically the only new record I actively bothered listening to in the first place. Weightless, propulsive, refined, meditative, happy-sad…I doubt there was anything to match it, not that I’d know.

Old records of the year

Stasis – Disco 4000 EP [Time Is Right]
Both A-side tracks out of this world, one of two more stellar Stasis EPs I bought this year. I expect there are many more waiting to be found.

Ray Hurley – ‘Just Yourself (Hurley’s Dub)’ [Confetti]
“It doesn’t matter what they say, what they do, what they say.” Instant joy and energy when the vocal comes in on this, plus a super-effective switch up halfway through. Other Ray Hurley winners this year: ‘Closer’ and ‘Treat Me Right’. Not quite such a winner, but still good for some laughs: ‘The Messsage’.

Morgan Geist – Nebula Jersey Volume One [Environ]
One summer disco banger, one Detroit-garage epic with an interlude reminiscent of Deep Space Network on Urban Flow, and two more typically ruminative and emotional machine pieces. Storm who?

The Black Dog – ‘Otaku’ [Rising High]
I think I played this three times at the Spring Hindhead, which probably wasn’t enough. For some reason I took ‘T’Raenon’ with me to the Winter Hindhead. Should have just taken this.

Pantytec – Instant Orient [Perlon]
A late entry, given I rediscovered it in mid-December, only to hear G play it (by happy coincidence) at an afterparty a week or so later. Bassline.

Set of the year
Apart from Andrew in the afternoon sun at Sugarhouse Studios (which goes without saying) it has to be Nicolas Lutz at the party with Rhadoo, who (Rhadoo) in the afternoon had played *exactly the same record* resolutely for almost three whole hours, before finishing with an out-and-out banger as if to say ‘hey guys this is my cheesy closing record’, when in my book it was the only one with any actual feeling to it in his entire set. Nicolas Lutz proceeded to show him how to play, you know, a range of records, and out of the handful of sets I heard him play this year this was my favourite.

Car crash of the year
Craig Richards immediately after Nicolas Lutz. Please, for the love of God. NO MORE CRAIG RICHARDS.

Thing and things from NYC this time round…


The Fashion Institute of Technology’s Queer History of Fashion essentially boiled down to ‘a collection of outfits’ because, let’s face it, most fashion designers are massive queers anyway. There weren’t enough bitchy anecdotes or critical insights to warrant putting all these clothes together in one room…though of course lots of them were fabulous especially Marlene Dietrich’s evening suits. I recommend this exhibition primarily for the kicks to be had observing its patrons: gays of all stripes (some in stripes), gays everywhere.

J. Crew had 25% off thanks to Columbus Day – shout out to Chris for my discounted cashmere jumper!

I found beaten up copies of Delicious Inc. and Dub.E.Us in the $2 bins at A-1 Records, by far the best record shop in the city, though this came at the unexpected supplementary price of having to listen to a man talk for about 2 hours straight about not very much to anyone who would listen. Turns out he didn’t even work there. I also picked up a pretty bad Mosaic record which isn’t even worth very much…yet.


Riding the Coney Island Cyclone is something my 12-year-old self would have been over the moon about, and gladly my 27-year-old self was pretty over the moon about it too. Coney Island is over an hour away on the subway but when the weather is good (it was exceptional), the subway is cheap (it was unlimited) and time is plentiful (it was there to be spent), why miss the opportunity to eat a nasty hotdog, get attacked by seagulls, go on a legendary rollercoaster and take on the biggest Mr Whippy imaginable? That was my attitude anyway and it paid off massively.

The Brooklyn Museum is currently home to Emily Dickinson’s super frilly vagina (plate) in Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. When taken in combination with Wangechi Mutu’s decidedly unfrilly creations the effect is pretty disorientating.

Having now visited The Thing I feel qualified to say it’s not really worth the visit, unless for some unknown reason you want to aggravate whatever pre-existing respiratory/skin/eye conditions you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from. A-1 is a record store; The Thing is a pit – literally – the illusive potential of which was apparent from the copy of Donna Summer’s The Four Seasons Of Love staring at me immediately on completing my descent. But that proved to be the highlight of an otherwise unedifying series of shoulder and back exercises shifting piles of shite records in one direction in order to access more piles of shite records. All I ended up buying was a book by Colette, which I have been very pleased with, but isn’t particularly compatible with a turntable.

Similarly, the new Academy Records – recently relocated from Williamsburg to Greenpoint – is slim pickings for someone like me who’s not really looking for LPs, though I did get a cheap Akufen 12″.

Prior to that endeavour I was sensible enough to refuel at Paulie Gee’s, the man himself there to ask me how my ‘In Ricotta Da Vita’ and Sixpoint Bengali Tiger Pale Ale were going down. Very well was the answer, and the one-two combination of the meal and a short turn around the nearby riverside park – with stunning sunset view – was a highlight of the trip.


We braved opening day at PS1 for two reasons: lunch at M. Wells and a Motörhead-soundtracked dance performance to open the new exhibition. The former was a success – smoked chicken in tomato sauce, the leg excitingly with claw, grasping, still attached – and the latter proved entertaining if only because i’d never listened to Motörhead before. Sadly the exhibition itself was a load of bollocks.


The next day’s adventure was a trip to see an installation in the Fuentidueña Chapel at the Metropolitan Museum’s Cloisters, far up on the West side of the city. This is absolutely wonderful and if I lived in New York I would be tempted to go back again. Not only was the music and setup itself fascinating, but there was also the thrill of seeing up to a hundred people all stop simultaneously and listen, in most cases quite wide-eyed, for the full length of the piece.

We coupled this with a visit to the Cathedral of St John the Divine, which was probably the most impressive building I have seen in my whole life. I spent what seemed like 10 minutes just walking down the nave, gawping up at a ceiling that reminded me (rather embarrassingly) of those scenes with the Balrog in Lord of the Rings. The central dome is so high and dark you can’t see the ceiling, and, standing in the aisle to the side of the choir looking back to the extraordinarily large circular stained glass window over the entrance, you could be forgiven for thinking yourself on a spaceship. Add to this the disco light effect of the late afternoon sun on the interior stonework and you have yourself a real experience of a building, and to me what could have felt somehow shameless (and shamelessly American) in size and attitude instead felt quietly profound, which is of course the way it should be. Shout out to the bats ‘peace fountain’ out the front too.

There was still time for a quick visit to the rooftop of my sister’s office with a brilliant view south over Central Park towards the skyline of downtown Manhattan at sunset. I still haven’t been up the Empire State Building, but now I think it’s even less necessary than before.


By this point I was flagging a bit, as you might expect, but there was still time in my final couple of days for a quick visit to the Met to see some textiles, and a return to the Frick Collection, which has to be my favourite gallery if only because it’s sore-feet-friendly and has one of my favourite paintings in it. The Socrates Sculpture Park and Noguchi Museum in Queens were also worth visiting, the latter especially due to its current exhibition of line drawings and ink paintings. The Museum Of The Moving Image permanent exhibition is also very good value.

Evelyn treated me to great seats at the Booth Theatre to see The Glass Menagerie, which turned out to be happy-sad in the best sort of way. As someone who doesn’t go to the theatre very often at all, it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around all the things about it I did and didn’t like, but I think it’s this post-experience consideration that adds up to getting your money’s worth, and I’m still not done thinking about it.


Chicken McNuggets in New York are not the same as in London though – less crunchy, not as nice – which is a shame since they come in packs of 10 instead of 6 as standard.

On Friday we hosted our last Kiss Me Again before Bleimann heads off to sunnier – and sexier – climes. In appropriate style it was a total gayfest, save a long overdue appearance from Dave of TOTHEBONE. It must have been over two years since the inaugural BONE ME AGAIN and nearly a year since Charlie TTB played us out – this time we had a late license so there was room enough for Dave plus 2toomanygays, Arty, and only the second club appearance of the elusive Sue and Giles (creators of KMA’s only official podcast…ever).

Arty neglected altogether to play any Sweet Pussy Pauline records, but I’ll forgive him since he made a Connaisseur record sound good, which I’m sure you’d agree takes great skill. 2toomanygays aka Sam and Os tempered their usual bitch track-heavy experience for the occasion, though to be honest with the volume restrictions i’m not sure bitch tracks would have been much of a problem anyway. Dave’s records struggled against the quietness too, bringing home to me quite how much of a shame it is that such a nice venue has been so hamstrung by its neighbours.

Sue and Giles took the issue head on by playing loud, unsubtle records, to great effect (I felt), and those left at 4am seemed to have had enough of a party to satisfy them. Sue’s mix from Artful Dodger into Bobby Brown will surely go down in the CLUB DRAMA hall of fame, accompanied by copious weeping to ‘Erotic City’. My personal highlight was an airing of this Hot Lizard record I got a few weeks ago which I can’t. stop. listening. to. With Sake being passed around the dancefloor – and there really was dancing – it felt like a fitting send off.

So despite my misgivings over the lack of volume I still enjoyed myself immensely – and I feel like LIFE can still host a good party if the ingredients are right. It is hard to complain about a venue generous enough to pay US to put on a party, rather than the other way round. KMA has generally been an uncomplicated affair and I think it can carry on in the same fashion as long as we relax and enjoy it for what it is.


At the other end of the spectrum yesterday was Toi Toi’s latest party in a car park by the Olympic site. Fabulous venue, great sound and no neighbours – a sure recipe for success, topped off by a 2-hour set from Andrew. If the Toi Toi ‘family’ hadn’t been exposed to MJ Cole in the past, at least now they should understand what’s good for them. You couldn’t have asked for a better setting for Andrew’s first proper set in public and hopefully it means more of the same in the future. Reasonably priced drinks, proper toilets and a minority of weirdos meant everything was easy to enjoy.

I didn’t stick around long enough to find out if the residents have upped their game since last time – and they’d have to considerably in order to keep up that kind of quality – but then again after 3 hours of excellent music and sunshine I wasn’t totally into the idea of going indoors anyway, so made the slog home instead. In fact that was the only downside of the whole experience, but no-one ever said partying was easy, and the commute was more than worth it. May the summer last as long as we want it to!

I played in some order: Angel Freakin / Erotic City / Caught Up / Ramp One / Get Up / Rapture/ Djurgårdsbron / Slang Teacher / Chronoclasm / Night Chime / Beyond The Clouds / Luv 4-2 / Trail Of Dreams / Raptures Of The Deep / Kiki De Montparnasse / Crown Royal / Cosmic Fonk / Caught Up / New Age Technology / Otaku / Return Of The Speaker People / Area / Roboho / Got To Be Movin’ / The Helium Kid / Wiggin (Re-Mix) / Cause Of Suffering / Sorting The Afternoon / Composure / Your Love / Too Late / Ain’t Nobody / Hannah’s Dub / My Love Turns To Liquid / Black Or White / CAUGHT UP.

Other people played some records too.

We are the best.

As far as my day-to-day interaction with new music goes, to say Scuba’s ascendance to prog-techno stardom has been anything other than a silly sideshow would be an overstatement. Once every few months I hear he has a new single out, listen to it, and promptly post it on a friend’s facebook page with an obligatory ‘lol’. The tragedy of his post-A Mutual Antipathy trajectory has long since faded into rueful bewilderment: ‘What the fuck happened?!’ has turned into a faintly amused ‘Oh what is he up to now’. Tracks as fundamentally torpid as ‘The Hope’, ‘Hardbody’ and ‘Talk Torque’ have become run-of-the-mill for him, and those track names, which on his debut seemed, like the music, mysterious or elliptical, have since been exposed as what they were all along: a meaningless mix of new-age bullshit and American Psycho.

Cue the latest mailout from Hotflush via LOCK N LOAD EVENTS, which some people will likely think is advertising a new series of Robot Wars. Actually, Robot Wars might have been all about boys and their toys but it was hardly macho, and it’s the lack of self-aware geekery that I find most offputting about this flyer.

In fact I’d find it positively worrying if it wasn’t so funny:

This exclusive showcase will illustrate Scuba’s exceptional ability to blow people away by his superlative talent, as his arsenal of rich synths and melodies is stretched to the max.

It’s Scuba remixed by goatse. And the hugely anticipated support act can now be revealed as…two funny looking men in a snowstorm. Actually, the photograph of Machinedrum and Jimmy Edgar is probably the most reasonable part of the pitch, being a picture of two normal people who are more comfortable making music than they are posing for photographs. Contrast with George Fitzgerald, whose striking resemblance to David Cameron would be enough to put me off even if he wasn’t glowering humourlessly at the camera.

The final support act is someone I’ve never heard of (nothing out of the ordinary there), despite being voted ‘No.4 Best New Act of 2012’ by XLR8R. This rather underwhelming endorsement is bettered by recognition from the dance music elite (their bold): Jamie XX, Benji B, Mary Ann Hobbs, Mosca, Claude Vonstroke and Richie Hawtin. The only name missing is Deadmau5, or maybe Swedish House Mafia. In fact I’d much rather listen to Swedish House Mafia than ‘Talk Torque’.

I suppose the worst thing about all this is that Scuba is in fact playing LIVE at this gig, rather than DJing. I still maintain some fondness for his RA podcast, in which he played lots of interesting records with quite a lot of flair. Here people are paying £18 to hear recorded anodyne shit produced without any roundness or depth being pumped out of what looks like the Crystal Dome, and it’ll all be over by 2am.

I guess it will sell out.