Coming from the bright white lights and vibrant exhibitions of Leeds Light Night, my journey towards Wire to see Helena Hauff DJ was always going to make my night one of extreme contrasts. When reading about her style online, or asking friends for their opinions, I've been met with responses like “as dark as it gets”, “pure evil”, and “she'll send you straight to hell”. These ominous answers were in fact hinting at her talents in producing and playing fast and heavy electro, not on uplifting, happy house tunes. When I mentioned to a friend that I was reviewing tonight, he replied “how many times are you allowed to use the term facemelter?”, which did nothing but excite me for what she had in store.
Hauff is regarded as an electro DJ, which worked out nicely as I had been wanting to listen to more of the genre and couldn't wait to witness one of the DJs renowned for her selections do her thing in the Wire booth. However, what greeted myself and the contingent I travelled with wasn't what we expected. As you can imagine she dove right in, but with thumping acid techno, new wave belters and EBM as she explored what could be considered as her influences as a DJ. This shouldn't be seen in the slightest way as a criticism, as the music played was spectacular. Due to the sheer number of people mentioning her penchant for electro, I did have to ask a couple of times whether or not she had played any, and was always answered with a “no”. Standout tracks were Arnold Steiner's ‘Inertia Collision’, her own production ‘C45p’ and the whomping, mind bending ‘Club Section’, by Innershades.
To finish this off without mentioning the other two DJs that night would be a crime, as Leeds stalwart Simon Scott and Eastern Bloc's Mark Turner were in top form. A large crowd rightly stayed to see their closing set, with a highlight being Daniel Moloso's synth-heavy ‘Ritimo Especial', which was an absolute pleasure to hear played out.
As I made my way up to the street I felt blessed to have witnessed Helena slay a set that was out of sync with what she usually plays due to the lack of face-melting electro. To my knowledge it was enjoyed by everyone I spoke to, a very respectable achievement considering she didn't play the type of music we all expected.
Photo courtesy fo Helena Hauff