On this past Friday, of a mild October evening, as with most London weekends, there was an overwhelming amount of club nights with highly respectable talent on display. Peckham’s Bussey Building was hosting what is arguably the lineup of the year for The Hydra’s collaboration with Hessle Audio. In Shoreditch, Motor City Drum Ensemble was continuing his well hyped XOYO residency by inviting Patrice Scott to join him. The likes of Paula Temple and Avalon Emerson were on Superstition’s books just down the road as well. Meanwhile, my evening was destined for Corsica Studios, where Find Me In The Dark were hosting the third party in a series of showcases with the Discwoman collective.
As I walked into Room 1 just a little past midnight, it was Peach tasked with warming up the revelers. Her tracks were quite pacy, yet had enough ethereal textures to match the atmosphere (bright blue spotlights with a hint of orange from the DJ booth). The selection was marvelous - at times, lovely subtle arpeggios were sent trickling out of the club’s highly regarded Funktion One. The higher BPMs took me by surprise at first, as I wasn't used to seeing this kind of warm up, but it all made perfect sense. She was capturing the right moods and working her way up very tactfully. At one point around 1:15am, she played Pearson Sound’s 'XLB' and I thought to myself “this really shouldn’t work, but it very much does...” I had kept in mind that Minimal Violence were going to have even higher speeds on display.
After a well-deserved round of applause for Peach’s set, the comfortably scattered audience members tilt their heads towards Minimal Violence and their live hardware setup. The Vancouver duo immediately began with their pulse-y kicks and a jam that sounded like a filtered version of Sleeparchive ‘Senza Titolo Three’. After the initial ten minutes, they started to introduce more of their distinct spacious hi-hat patterns as the set progressed. The highlight of the performance was when a trance-y synth swallowed the room whole to the point of sheer ecstasy.
Sybil, who’s known for her work with the Siren collective around London, was in Room 2 laying down some robust but ultimately dynamic techno. The flow and intensity of her set shed light on the possibility of her being a club headliner further down the line. The previous time I saw Umfang, some of her selections were of the Hessle Audio persuasion, which felt very appropriate before Volvox’s pummeling set. This time around, she played even more ferociously than Volvox, with tempos up to 140. The mixing was immaculate for every moment of the hour and a half of my undivided attention. There was one slight moment of confusion, but it was expertly re-disguised as just a deliberate disorientation. All I could think at the time was that doubters (like Twitter’s bitterest @timelessmixes) should think twice before dismissing her as overhyped and maliciously targeting her. The last time I’d seen someone confidently break these tempo barriers was Nina Kraviz, who’s also an easy target for spiteful armchair techno-pundits.
The most playful set of the night was that of Philadelphia-based DJ Haram, who had no trouble keeping the main room crowd’s attention with some Baltimore club after Minimal Violence’s ravey material. Some great moments included an Alicia Myers edit as well as Cardi B’s chart-topping hit ‘Bodak Yellow’.
Each set on the night was a unique, formative statement being made. From a purely hedonistic perspective, it was also one of the better parties I’d been to in a while, with a great soundtrack to top it off. Find Me In The Dark parties have put Corsica’s capacity to the test before, but the lower level of attendance was to my liking, as I’m sure it was for those who have told me they sometimes avoid the club for that reason. Smaller numbers, however, could spell trouble for people who are financially invested in most London club nights, especially with transatlantic flight fees to consider. However, bearing in mind the promoters’ ethos, a safe space policy is better implemented and effective with manageable numbers. All things considered, Find Me In The Dark and the Corsica Studios crew should really be proud of taking the boundary-pushing risks and providing the support networks that are so vital to pushing the scene forward.