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Basic Replay

Derek Walmsley

Honest Jon's night at Plastic People last night – Sleeparchive, DJ Pete/Substance and Mark Ernestus of Basic Channel, some of the best German electronic names essentially – had a strangely arse-about-face feel. Not that that's necessarily bad, far from it.

Around 11.45pm Sleeparchive was banging out Minimal Techno, the crowd fully locked-in, although this was unapologetically functional music. DJ Pete then played solely dubstep for an hour or so. For the crowd, which thinned out noticeably, it was odd for someone to come all that way just to lay down the same stuff we're used to hearing week in week out. It was almost like the early 90s, when rock 'n' roll's original Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis, stooped so low as to profess a love of this new MTV fad.

The set certainly 'worked' pretty well, with DJ Pete cranking the faders and EQs maniacally, gleefully unleashing fat basslines, locked in to the music. Strange, then, that the last set by Mark Ernestus, who looked almost unsure of what he was doing, was so much more interesting. Ernestus looked weirdly nervous, filing through his dancehall 7"s again and again, like a DJ wishing he'd bought more tunes. He played each of his dancehall instrumentals in full with a slightly awkward pause in between. It was as refreshing as a blast of cold water in the face, though, these immediate, synthetic recordings, with no sonic detailing or muso production depth, just sharp angles and edges.

It was the one set in the evening which didn't properly 'work', and yet because the building blocks were unfamiliar, it was easily the best of the night...

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