Simultaneously described as one of the most influential DJs in electronic music and as a producer of unintelligible noise, I was excited, if not a little apprehensive, to enter into the weird and wonderful world of Aphex Twin. Otherwise known as Richard D. James, this was only the Irish-born producer’s second set on British soil in over a year.
It must be said that I have never seen such a strange and eclectic group of people gathered together for one DJ and this may be representative of his indefinable genre. Often wrongly described by others as Intelligent Dance Music, Aphex Twin is self-defined as Electronic Listening. In short, his sets are not about genre or limiting definitions, they are about the experience. Those who came to listen to a set list composed of album tracks such as ‘Film’ would have been sorely disappointed. Aphex Twin was all about his experimentation with sounds that reverberated around your head and a light show that was just as captivating as it was disturbing.
However, Aphex Twin was not the only star of this night. Hudson Mohawke and Zomby graced the main stage with fantastic sets that both ingeniously combined infectious electronic beats with some classic West Coast hip-hop. Nevertheless, for me, the surprise winner of the night was the home-grown, Manchester producer, XxXy. He provided a UK Funky bassline with melodic vocals in a style that I guess could be described as Future Garage. Regardless, he offered a set that was technically tight and extremely enjoyable.
Above all, aside from the fact that every DJ that I saw pulled out an impressive set, it was so refreshing to experience a style of music that I don’t often see in Manchester. This warehouse was definitely up there with the best.