For the past thirty years the legendary R&S records have been shaping the way for the Techno scene of Europe and when I saw that they were doing a night in coalition with MAYDAY I jumped at the opportunity to review it. The event was at Hidden which has become synonymous with the underground ravers of Manchester, with its strewn leather couches, strobe lights and grungy décor this industrial playground is perfect for anyone eager to get their teeth into the beats. With the bass greeting me as soon as I entered I found that MAYDAY Soundsystem was opening both upstairs and down in the den. Dirty techno sounds coupled with Bonobo and some underlying afro-beat tunes filled the place and set the night for what was to be expected of this evening. Both DJs started to get the place pumping and soon enough the building was filled with eager techno junkies ready to jump into chaos.
At Midnight John Talabot and Axel Boman, the brain powers of Talaboman, came to the decks and the people were satisfied, their four hour set began with a harsh kick which made everyone immediately dance. The bass heavy and the beats plenty, the pair offered a mixture of otherworldly, cosmic sounds and African rhythms to the crowd. I have heard that Talaboman doesn't follow any specific genre of music but instead incorporates a spectrum of afro-beat, earthy styles to produce an ambient, surrealist feeling as if you are dreaming. Playing mixes from their latest album “The Night Land” the pair successfully made sure that you were raving in a world of your own. For the duration of the four hours Talaboman never dwindled, they were on the ball when it came to feeling the vibe of the clubbers and put on a show and a half. Towards the end of their set the people were craving more and like true performers the couple ended their set with unreal, wavy sounds and hard hitting, fistpumping edgy tunes to which the crowd responded gloriously.
At different parts of the night I found myself in the Den, the first time I went down I was bombarded with the sounds of Space Dimension Controller, they were a pleasant surprise as they kept that high energy pumping and let loose with a transcendental, astral atmosphere with their music all while still keeping true to techno. It was something completely different to what I have heard before which made it even more great to listen to. The most anticipated part of the evening for many was to see Renaat Vandepapeliere himself, you could describe him as a veteran of the early techno scene in 1980s Europe and one of the founders of the legendary R&S records. He often wants to project a feeling of uniqueness to his sets and does so by keeping true to techno roots yet adds in different dimensions of unnatural sounds and off tempo beats. Within the duration he really felt the atmosphere of the club and played to that well; what really helped was the the aid of strobing and the neon lights which gave the show a somewhat psychedelic element. The high-octane set kept changing and morphing as if to keep you on your toes, from lost and spacious vibes to a more intense and heart-pumping rhythms you felt, at times, as if you were entranced. To end this superb night was Paula Temple, the goddess of the evening with an amazingly hypnotic set which transformed the venue into a whirlwind of excitement with some samples from her songs such as “Deathvox” and “Colonized”. This energy driven performance unleashed the ethereal yet kept that punchy jungle-esque bass and acted like a firework in the dark. This coupled with Talaboman's close made the night even more memorable for party-goers.
R&S records fame itself for creating new elements, they rarely set on a specific theme to what they produce and it definitely showed during the evening. What the label tried to emulate on this evening was a sense of individualism for each of the sets, they were mimicking each other but had their own voice which I found refreshing to see.
Photos courtesy of Hidden