It was a night that promised progressive sounds and boundary pushing mixes from Floating Point’s eclectic and unpredictable all-star line up. DJ Sam Shepherd himself is known to move through gritty funk, slick R&B, avant-garde jazz to house, techno and orchestral compositions in his mixes. Heading up his line up was prolific hip-hop DJ, Madlib, sonic scientist, Jon Hopkins and legendary Caribou moniker, Daphni. The crowd was ready to be taken on a genre-defying journey through mind bending, disorientating rhythms and otherworldly melodies from an obscure musical catalogue that only artists of this calibre could possibly draw from.
(Daphni was one of several big name DJs appearing as guests of Floating Points)
However, the night was full of surprises and actually it was room two that showcased some of the most unexpected stellar selection skills of the night, notably from Josey Rebelle and Benji B, in sets that were arguably tighter and more adventurous than many of their billing superiors. This is not to discredit the headline acts, all lived up to their much-earned reputations, and ultimately Jon Hopkins quite clearly stole the show, however, at times room one could feel, dare I say it, a little flat. Maybe it was the unfortunate distribution of the (fortunately not at capacity) crowd squashed into room one, or the coincidental decision for at least half the artists to indulge in overplayed disco & Chicago house, but I was not as rooted to the main room as I had expected myself to be.
As the crowds began to roll in, Josey Rebelle, Rinse FM regular, was the first act of the night to really kick off things off. It was a well executed progressive set that moved from fairly safe house and techno to some far-out records, new and old, memorably Jacktone Records’ Roy Of The Ravers, ‘Time 2 Jack’, igniting the atmosphere in room two.
Then Jon Hopkins took to the stage. The expectation that comes with a Jon Hopkins set must make it a near impossible task for him to consistently please, and indeed it was frustrating to watch the first half hour of what felt like, for his standards, a rather mellow, crowd-pleasing selection. However it soon picked up and he delivered what can only be described a momentous final hour satisfyingly resonated through the beefy Warehouse soundsystem. Stand out tracks of the set included Cray 76 – “Burning Inside (Earth Mix)”, Four Tet’s hypnotic “Lush”, and of course his unreleased tune “Halo” that only ever seems to emerge in live performances such as these.
Madlib brought something fresh to the night. It’s not often that hip-hop graces the ears of a Warehouse crowd, and it was warmly received. The song selection was everything the crowd had been hoping for, playing a mix of Otis Jackson’s own tunes and old school gems. The set was accompanied by vibrant, at times pornographic, visuals making for a truly immersive AV show.
(Madlib brought a rare hip hop set to Store Street)
Floating Points’ much awaited set for me was disappointing. There were moments of brilliance such as the dropping of Los Hermanos’ ‘Birth of 3000’, or Floating Point’s own remix of Four Tet’s ‘Sing’, and a cheeky teaser for the final act of the night with Daphni’s ‘Medellin’, but for the most part the set was, for Sam Shepherd’s standards, rather unvaried. Floating Points’ final song, ‘Back Into Your Heart’ by Majik, for me was definitive of a style that was simply laid on too heavy, following on from the much darker sets earlier on in the evening.
Meanwhile in room two, Benji B was tearing up the dance floor with one roof raising track after another, ranging from Champion Bubbler’s ‘Tifa’, to Dotorado Pro’s, ‘African Scream’. Playing to a room of no more than 50, with everyone else squeezed into Floating Points’ headline set in room one, this was one of the surprise stand out sets of the night.
Finally it was up to Daphni to close the show. Daphni has a reputation for bringing out wild and unpredictable sets and this was exactly that. It was erratic and exhausting moving from drum and bass to industrial techno to disco and back again so quickly the audience barely knew what to do with themselves. We heard Champion x Riko Dan’s, ‘Landslide’, followed bizarrely by Cybordelics’ ‘Adventures of Dama’, only to dive straight back into Danny J Lewis ‘Spend The Night’. The song selection was extraordinary and I can’t deny that the moment that dubplate classic, Origin Unknown ‘Valley Of The Shadows’, was played was a real night highlight, however the set as a whole was simply too erratic to properly enjoy.
The night ended appropriately with the Mercury Edit of Mary Clark’s ‘Take Me I’m Yours’, a 2016 favourite of both Four Tet and Floating Points. It had been an epic journey, there is no doubt about that, and one that I’m sure music heads will be reeling from for some time.
(As always, the high production of The Warehouse Project delivered a visual spectacle at Store Street)
Photos courtesy of The Warehouse Project