Afterlife is the best party in the world

Last weekend I experienced almost 16 hours under the upside down man, and after you’ve been on that journey for so long, you struggle to truly come back to Earth afterwards. 5,000 people turned up to the airport that is Printworks on Saturday to see the likes of Vaal, Recondite, Patrice Baumel, Mano Le Tough, Woo York, Tale of Us, SHDW and Obscure Shape, and more. My highlights-

On arrival Vaal was setting the scene in the Press Halls. She was playing all manner of experimental, dark and bassy sounds, which is what we have come to expect from such an enigmatic young artist. These were alongside a few classics like Polarstern from Mind Against, which never fails to drive anybody listening batshit crazy. I took delight in the fact I would be seeing another mesmerising set from her again at Part II, in 12 hours time. Patrice Baumel followed, with a much more upbeat, and bouncy set reminiscent of his prolific Voyage mix, featuring his classy new track Engage.

Then there was Kiasmos, who need no introduction. It was a live set, so the audience got the whole package, Looped, Swept, Lit, Thrown- the lot. It is always wonderful to see how much enthusiasm these two put into their sets, for them it is very much a performance. If you get the privilege of seeing these two perform live, you can expect them to be jumping around at the front of the stage, Janus Rasmussen’s, hair flopping about all over the place, elbows here there and everywhere. Standing there bathing in the glow of white and blue lights I even saw a girl crying to herself at one stage. Even I felt a bit like bawling like a baby when Bent came on. It’s emotional stuff.

Room two, The Charge Bay, was a nasty, dark little sweat-box when we got there to see Woo York. They were blasting through their devastating recent productions, such as Alien Worlds, Uranium Echoes and Afterlife’s very own Hypernova, all with electrifying acidy new sounds thrown on top in order to achieve all manner of lethal effects. You cannot beat the gallop of a Woo York beat. It picks you up and casts you into dark, magical new landscapes. The Woo York experience is so outrageous and other-worldly you barely know what to do with it but charge around like a rhinoceros on speed. This dark techno bunker seemed like the perfect location for it.

Recondite soon came on the scene, and when he’s there you know about it. With his seemingly infinite library of his own music, you have absolutely no idea what the man is going to do, but you know that you are in the hands of one of electronic music’s most esoteric geniuses. A man who only listens to his own music. Who does he think he is? In this one he teased us with classics such as Buteo, and a load of completely recondite stuff presumably from his new up and coming album. He achieved a perfect harmony between melancholy sounds from tracks like Sol, and the harder hitting stuff. He dropped Phalanx in, with force. My friend turned to me and said ‘this is the greatest track of all time’. I agreed wholeheartedly.

I’ve seen Tale of Us five times this year and every set has been completely different. Most tracks have been unidentifiable, and you wonder where on Earth they come from. Were they created by humans, or designed by some kind of divine entity and just put there like the rocks and the trees? Highlights from their closing set were new stuff from the unstoppable Mind Against, and the scintillating Fideles (another Italian duo who have burst onto the scene with their new EP released on Afterlife) playing The Tensior, those deeply computerised sounds raining down upon the crowd. They ended the same as they did in Amsterdam, with Bodzin’s thumping, glittering Strand (Afterlife) and their soul stirring and innovative edit of Hans Zimmer’s Time, eight hours of music ending on one piano note. The gratitude that Tale show at the end of every event, staying behind to clap the crowd, thanking them with hand on heart, is a wonderful thing to see and shows that they are truly grateful, seemingly in awe of their fans who have supported them in creating this mesmerising other world for us all to live in.

After getting our coats we zipped across to Shoreditch High Street via the overground to the after party at Village Underground, a simple, no-bollocks venue with one stage- a classic warehouse a bit like a cave. This is a venue that Tale of Us have no doubt become very fond of after turning up last year to debut their new night in the UK playing for eight hours non-stop. They would have been absolutely over the moon no doubt to see how their night has snowballed insurmountably over the past year.

Vaal again plucked a plethora of gems out of her hat, starting off playing ambient tracks like Hunter/Game’s Distant Storms, then later stomping through the night with tracks like The Hangar, and Barnt’s take on Monument.

Then a nice touch from the curators; Tale of Us decided to hand over the keys to the decks to SHDW and Obscure Shape to close the night. Their own set was of course impossible to truly sum up with paltry words, and was one of the most varied sets you could ever hear. Fideles, Secret Garden was a beauty, then loads of dark unrecognisable stuff. Towards the end we went back about 5 years with Skream’s Let It Go and some Trentemoller. They even threw in Another Earth, which for five minutes transported everybody to exactly that.

Cue SHDW and Obscure Shape who then proceeded to attack us with obscene stomping beats and dark, haunting sounds for two hours. They played nothing but their own stuff, and the occasional remix, like the naughty Konstantin Sibold remix of Gesang Der Toten Dinge. Their finest track though is Aus Der Tiefe Der Zeit, which they played early on to dreaming ears.

It was fantastic to see so many live sets, so many artists who believe so much in their own work and their own sound. Afterlife was created this way, achieving the perfect balance between the best live creators and performers with the most visionary, knowledgeable and skilled DJs on the scene. All with a penchant for ethereal sounds that take listeners to a dazzling new sensory universe.

To go to Afterlife is to immerse oneself in dark lights, a euphony of sounds impossible to discover elsewhere, an elated crowd, and a constantly fluctuating atmosphere bordering on the extra-terrestrial at moments. With the quality of artists you see on the bill, and the lightning speed that melodic techno (?) is progressing and evolving, every Afterlife is guaranteed to be a unique experience that nobody will forget. Afterlife is certainly the best party in the world.

The Rise of Intellechno

We are the most intellectual species the planet has ever been home to, and it’s about time we started acting like it.

We’ve all been to stomp nights, where the music sounds like gravel. It goes like this…

 

Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, STOMP

Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, STOMP

 

or perhaps the very similar but ever so slightly different…

 

STOMP, Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

STOMP, Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

 

then maybe the chorus comes in and another emphasised STOMP takes you all by surprise…

 

STOMP, stomp, STOMP, Stomp…

‘Oof.’

‘Woahh, isn’t this guy clever.’

‘Yes, he is, yes.’

 

So again, it’s the same track, but slightly different. And when you get that something slightly different your response is to be relieved, or even, in extreme cases, become so deluded as to think that what you’re listening to is progressive. ‘See what that guy did there’. Listen to me now children, it’s not progressive. It’s not even techno. It’s just banging. Literal banging.

The fact is, it just isn’t intelligent enough is it? To make a combination of stomps and put them in a slightly different order then repeat them over and over again, and then for the next song, to slightly alter the stomp sequence, and then continue this for the rest of the set.  Oh Christ. I went to see Sidney Charles, Sante, and Syrossian 32B at Rainbow and heard the most cacophonous, rugged, most unintelligent, banging ever to be produced by the speakers of Man. And regarding the people who were stood about- Oh colossal hordes of the vilest simpletons! I bet they couldn’t even point to the UK on a map, let alone the Ukraine! The crowd they were attracting were shouting things like ‘oi, oi, oi!’ and playing with an inflatable hammer. We are the most intellectual species the planet has ever been home to, and it’s about time we started acting like it.

So thank God for Artists like Tale Of Us, Mind Against, Recondite, Fur Coat, Scuba, Locked Groove,  Solomun, SevenDoors, Stephan Bodzin, Adana Twins, Clarian, Eagles and Butterflies, DJ Tennis (and many more) for coming up with a new genre altogether, known colloquially as ‘intellechno’, a kind of techno designed for the most intellectual of techno fans, like me, my friend from uni, Ben (Fryll) and Shen.

So last Saturday night I grabbed my encyclopedia and my scientific calculator and went to see Tale Of Us at the Black Box, and have never been quite so intellectually stimulated as I was by the quality of that techno, the variety of sounds, the minimalism, the spaced out synths, it’s no wonder that so many fans and producers of this new sub-zero cool techno eventually end up turning into professors at Ivy League institutions. The music takes you on a journey, abandoning the childish constrictions of the ‘funky’. I’m telling you now, fuck disco. The world ain’t a happy place most of the time, and life is inherently sad, which is why in order to consolidate for this, we need an injection of a few sad particles, like a vaccine. We come to terms with the melancholy, and thus, we are uplifted. This is our way of becoming immune to sadness. Music has tremendous healing capabilities, it’s cathartic, like Greek tragedy. Just ask Aristotle, he loves melodic tech.

So yeah, fuck disco. Life for me isn’t disco with its smothering sense of ‘joy’, it’s slowness and its ‘musical instruments’.

Nor is life hip hop, I can’t relate to your disgusting anti-shakespearean use of language, your gang-based lies, your bragging about your car, or your trainers. Yes I can imagine Brooklyn can be a very inhospitable environment, but why do you think I’m interested? I don’t care. Turn it off please Dean, there’s a good lad.

Grime is initially enticing, because I admire the audacity of any genre that prides itself off it’s filthiness, where its artists spend all day slagging off each other’s mums and spitting at one another, it’s a nice extended metaphor, very amusing, but let’s not get carried away, that isn’t us either. Do you wear those jeans? When you think of a battle, do you think Pro Green or Gladiator? Yeah that’s what I thought. Anyway…

Chart music is for impressionable children and confused adults.

House isn’t a thing.

Garage is cheaper than chip shop chips, purchased with discount.

Jazz is something that happened many, many years ago and is currently in the process of fossilisation, with very few people caring.

Metal is for people who are mentally ill or feral.

All of these genres have produced some utterly incredible music, fantastic art work, clever lyrics and some fiery beats, but that’s in the past now. I’m not done with it, I’ll go back there every now and again, but not often, because the last thing I want to do is live in the past. It’s time to move on. It’s time to progress. It’s time to develop. It’s time to change the record. Those people who change the track at parties, demanding to play something they know from the past, they want shooting on the spot. That would show them. Regressive hunks of flesh, wandering about, desperately seeking the AUX cable, too dumb to realise that they’re massively interfering with our intellectual development. Who even invites these people?

I just want to listen to some nice, hygienic, melodic, intense intellectual music, and that’s exactly what I am doing, back at the flat, hanging up the washing, in the shower, when I’m out and about, whilst praying, at the rave itself, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, it’s paradise. Find a proper mix from any of the intellectual artists listed above, and listen to the stuff they play. There is not one sound to it is not beautiful, not one note which is superfluous, not one key that does not resonate inside the throbbing intellectual human brain.

You go to see any of these intellectual artists and you realise that this stuff is it (needless to say, I had the best time of my entire life on Saturday, plaudits also deservedly attributed to ShenChop and the Black Box for being devastating, as usual).

Music has to generate intensity, it is intensity which makes music captivating, distinctive, and it is intensity that drives crowds absolutely bat-shit-crazy with euphoria. And you know when that kind of euphoria happens, it’s like a Revelation. Like God has popped in to the building to say hello to his Creation. And he saw that is was proper techno.

This doesn’t happen a lot, and it’s difficult to describe to people who weren’t there or haven’t witnessed such a spectacle before, they’ll tell you they’ve seen it before whilst watching Kerri Chandler or Richy Ahmed, or in Church on a Sunday and you just have to sigh and then go home and bang your head up against the toaster until you stop caring as much.

I’ve seen it first hand and I know what it’s like.

It’s like this.

 

‘We’re going outside!’