Excitement levels were high as I touched down in Brighton for this one. Although I had a good feeling about it (I knew the guys putting it on), there were variables. I’d never heard of the venue Komedia before and had no idea what to expect. Another consideration was this group’s ability to actually put on and run a night, this was something they’d never done before. My faith in the latter was always quite high as I knew what they liked as punters. I was also intrigued to see Slacker (who had his debut 12” come out on Lobster Theremin last year) do his first ever DJ set. In some ways I felt I knew what to expect from Freerotation affiliate Alex Downey; hard and fast was his motto (I’d seen him absolutely cane it on three turntables at a Sheffield Techno Institute night late last year). Finally, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Mehtola, the owner of local Brighton record store Middle Floor.
So I got relatively boozed up and headed down to Komedia. What struck me straight away was the slightly strange vibe that the venue gave off. I had no idea prior that they run multiple events on different floors simultaneously. Hence my puzzled expression when the bouncer said “You hear for the techno night?”. I nodded and was pointed in the direction of downstairs. What I found down there was an incredibly intimate but also strangely spacious (long and narrow) dancefloor. The lighting was also fairly celestial, which made the smiling/bobbing punters seem extra friendly.
First up was Slacker, who was already underway when I arrived. He played some defiantly interesting blends and, to be honest, massively surpassed whatever expectations I had. Examples included Simo Cell’s ethereal ‘Gliding/As Long As We Have Those Things’ into A Made Up Sound’s 2016 Delsin Records release ‘I Repeat’ (a track that’s almost exactly two years old and sounds fresher than ever). Another great one was Anthony Rother’s sinister ‘Destroy Them My Robots’ into Obergman’s ‘Quantum Eraser’. To top it off he ended with Reedale Rise’s cult electro track ‘Eternal Return’. Slacker by name but not by rep.
Next was Mehtola, who continued down an electro route, although he whipped out a fair few tracks that were entirely new to me. He opted to start with a release from Optimo Music, The Golden Filter’s ‘Serenity’, an electro roller which boasts a central emotive, old school, stab filled breakdown. This selection showed from the offset that although he was following suit in terms of genre, he still had the capability to break the mold within those bounds. Continuing to roughly stay within the box but on his own terms, he cracked out Gesloten Cirkel’s spaced out ‘Perron’, which he whisked up with M-Twelve’s ‘Time Spent (Transparent Sound Remix)’, the latter of which is a fairly acidic roller, which was uploaded to Youtube only three days before the event with the concise description “Dropped by Helena Hauff at Fabric recently”. The remainder of his set included plenty of spritz amongst it’s rolling 808s, plenty of bleeps but also vocals, like Westcoast Cruisers’ incredibly raw and obscure track, ‘Down With Us’. Funnily enough, there was a serious technical difficulty that lasted the best part of five minutes but the flow of the night was saved when the comeback track was Shedbug’s epic, warping ‘Journeyman’; energy levels hit maximum again straight away. Things got a bit more metal once again as he finished with some unidentifiable amens. I’ll definitely look out for him on line-ups in future.
Finally Alex D stepped up. He instantly started chopping with the cross fader and we knew shit was about to get real. Coming straight in with the acid just as shocking as the smoking area's sudden rain earlier, he slams out the kind of acid track to start that makes the entire dancefloor feel like that opening blood rave in the film Blade, except I was fairly certain there weren’t any vampires ready to pounce. Next he blended in the Fred 4 classic ‘Do It From The Back’, which was much to the delight of the room, after some inevitable Radioactive Man, which reminds us that this kind of electro has energy more akin to Drum and Bass than most techno. Next, it’s some IDM from Shinra. I get lost in the moment for at least twenty minutes. Fast forward to the final ten minutes and it’s Urban Shakedown’s ‘Some Justice’, an absolute weapon of a hardcore track. For me that was it, it couldn’t get any better from there. Incredible.
All in all the vibe at this night was fantastic. A couple of minor technical difficulties were completely out-shadowed by the pure quality of mixing and selections.