When I heard last July that the always-forward-thinking Macronite crew had booked the Manchester pairing of Indigo and Biome I instantly marked the date in my diary. Indigo,(real name Liam Blackburn), has been one of my favourite producers for years, providing me a steady flow of varied and intricate bass oriented releases with which to woo the dancefloor. Having missed his Irish debut at DubCulture Cork in 2011 due to our rubbish public transport infratructure, nothing was gonna stop me making it to Dolan’s niteclub in Limerick.
Also on the bill for the night was darker than dark Dubstep dynamo Biome. Having suffered greatly at the hands of shiter than shite commercial influences, Dubstep has seen something of a mini-revival production/release-wise of late, with its minimal roots getting a proto-turbo charge courtesy of artists such as Kahn, Lurka, Thelem and Killawatt. Biome is at the forefront of this sound with releases on labels such as Osiris, Smokin Sessions and Black Box and I was very keen to hear what his output feels like when transmitted by a heavier than heavy Void Sound System.
Having called in mid afternoon for a taste of sub goodness at the soundcheck ,I was ravenous for game-time to arrive.Several hours of merriment later it was time to tango and we shivered down the road to Dolans. The unmistakable throb of the Void Stasys X’s was palpable within about 300m of the club and once inside the monstrous bassbins swiftly set to work on both inner and outer organs. Every last inch of your body (eyebrows included) were reminded of the basic physicality of music, as well as past decade’s profound advancements in sub-centred production and audio technology. Personally speaking I consider Void to be the champ in the heavyweight sound division, offering clarity and precision in the mid/high ranges and humbling such over-hyped brands as Funktion One in the sub department. Placing this kind of technology in the hands of your average Joe is not advisable, but thankfully the Macronite crew have the brilliance of Sol on their side, who adopts a carefully considered,,sceintific approach to his art, with truly breathtaking results – every time.
Macronite. Photo © Lette Moloney Media 2012
And so on to the choons….
Indigo’s set was an artful exposition of bass oriented music, morphing seamlessly from the familiar to the subtly bizarre often within the space of a few bars. A distinctly techno tone tied the set together, heavily punctuated by classic Dubstep,Garage and Breakbeat bloodlines. As a DJ his musical programming was superb – holding the dancefloor together as a unit and smoothly transitioning the crowd from skanking meditational bass weight to booty shaking technoid toe tappng.The music felt futuristic but familiar, crunchy yet clean, intelligent yet ruff enough to inspire the occasional bassface gurn of approval. The set reflected suitably his talents as a producer, selector and mixer as well as showcasing the many shapes sub driven music has adopted. For a flavour of the Mindset man’s set on the night check his mix for the Electronic Explorations 5th Birthday series here.
Biome then took the stage and his hour was a much different animal. Rooted much more exclusively in the dubstep flavour, it began with minimalistic swooping lurkers and steadily rose to a frenzy of lower mid range growlers. Having listened to most if not all of his releases and many of his mixes I was rather surprised at the ferocity of the second half hour.. Teeth rattling detuned basslines created quite a raucous dancefloor, far from the moody, hoodied-up darkness I had expected. This is not to say it wasn’t an impressive performance.. far from it. Much of the output felt like a spacious reworking of some of the sound design present in mid 2000s Neurofunk Drum and Bass. The snarling progressions, although “filthy”,were clearly distinguishable from and had much more character/soul than the recycled chainsaw patches synonymous with the commercial shitestep of recent times. Again, to taste a flavour of the Manchester man’s set check this mix out.
Resident action on the night was of the usual high standard with NiKi and Eoin Greaney teeing tings up nicely in the main room whilst,Jonny Dub, Danny Drive Thru and curator Tolkien Wideboi laid down Techno, Jungle and even some Breakcore on the smokin’ Terrace. The Macronite crew don;t go halves on anything – sound and lighting are always impeccable as is the carefully considered bookings roster,promotion and hospitality for travelling DJs and ravers alike. Dolan’s as a venue undoubtedly adds hugely to the overall package, with its expansive chambers facilitating a diverse array of musical output and sensory stimulation. It reminds me somewhat of Dublin’s McGruders “back in the day” and serves as a reminder of whats possible with the right venue, music and crowd. Kudos.
The next Macronite is on January 26th 2013 with Randomer (Numbers) DjRum (2nd drop records) and Handsome Paddy (choice Cuts) RSVP here.