Late April sees London’s XOYO and Frankfurt’s Robert Johnson team up, as the former hosts an evening with Roman Flügel, Oliver Hafenbauer, Simian Mobile Disco and Robert Johnson’s founder, Ata. Robert Johnson, the intimate minimal club which is widely recognised as being one of the world’s best environments for techno, is famous for its inbuilt Martin Audio sound system and long line of big-hitting residents, including the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Dixon and Gerd Janson. No surprise then that listeners and performers alike reserve such reverence for club and its founders, and so this unique London session should be an instant mark in the diaries of the most tuned-in London heads.
Roman Flügel’s seat at the very top table of German techno is far beyond debate, with three LPs among an extensive discography dating back to 1996, when he burst onto the scene with a release on Ata’s Ongaku Musik imprint. A versatile and intelligent producer, Flügel’s productions carry many of the same qualities that make his DJ sets so unmissable, with crisp percussive loops and ambient soundscapes cut apart and brought to life by delectable melodies and subtle layering achieved with the greatest attention. With boundless rhythms to move the feet and agonising detail to ensnare the mind, Roman has been captivating audiences whether setting needles on wax himself or simply by providing some of the biggest tracks in the armouries of his peers. Any doubters need only refer to the BBC Essential Mix that he released last year for confirmation of his immaculate ear for contouring and enchanting techno.
The name of fellow Robert Johnson resident Oliver Hafenbauer might be a little less recognisable, although his behind the scenes work at the club has made him an indispensable member of the RJ team, particularly as one of the main drivers for the Live At Robert Johnson record label that has featured Arto Mwambo, Dixon, Fort Romeau and various other friends of the Frankfurt club. An important proponent of the minimal sound that has become the club’s signature, Hafenbauer will be a welcome presence in London alongside the similarly inclined Ata, who is equally synonymous with the club’s sonic aesthetic. A founder of the club alongside Sebastian Kahrs, it simply could not be a Robert Johnson night were Ata absent from the bill.
Hosting three of Frankfurt’s most important musical figures is an envious privilege in itself, but XOYO will have the additional pleasure of welcoming Simian Mobile Disco as special guests. The London duo will bring their analog electronica to the party in support of the men behind the club that they described as the “ideal listening environment” in a chat with XLR8R back in 2014. See if they find similar joy in XOYO as they help with the Robert Johnson takeover on April 22.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Magnet Musik