Review: Electric Minds x Hydra @ Studio Spaces
I’m loathed to begin this review with reference to the venue, but a lot has been said about Studio Spaces. If it’s not the sound, it’s the layout, or the heat, or the toilets etc.
OK, it’s not the logistical dream that was Matter, or the chilled cellars of fabric. However, what The Hydra have done is come correct with their programming and have constantly done so for the past three years now. Drawing upon several decades worth of experience, they have been able to curate some of the most diverse and enjoyable underground music events in the capital right now. Electric Minds was another brilliant example of The Hydra doing what they do best.
Label honcho Dolan Bergin, started the night well with a beautifully measured set. Undulating the tempo with restraint, lest to send the crowd into peak time rowdiness. He’s a great DJ in his own right but when warming up for his own curation, he clearly understood the importance of balance, playing solid yet groovy techno ahead of Levon Vincent‘s arrival. Nearing the end of his set he began to ramp it up, with his last record leaving the crowd teetering and primed, ready to receive the first selector of the remaining triumvirate.
Levon’s sets can range from calculated syncopation to jazzy collages, but there is always intricate elegance to them and this was no exception. It was never going to be the night where he opted for “dancefloor destruction”, but that’s not to say he shied away from the weightier stuff. He used it as a framework in which to inject jazzy, melodic riffs; with the odd woozy hiatus. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and reel off a list of superlatives in reference to any medium of Levon’s output, but in the context of the night, it was a sturdy set that got the room moving with abandon. There’s no doubt he consistently comes with the goods.
Nevertheless, Levon, much like Dolan, well aware of his imminently arriving successor, finished with a flourish of swing and a groove that heralded the arrival of the long awaited debutant. With his kit all assembled, filled with exuberance, verging on hyperactivity, Mr G started with the drums and the rest followed. G’s energy onstage instantaneously transferred to the crowd, as he lashed his unmistakable grooves.
Some people may draw on the simplicity of his productions, or moan that “it’s just house”, but don’t be in any doubt, this particular veteran, certainly has the formula. “If house was a nation, I wanna be president” cried out as the beat shuffled the along. On the evidence of his Hydra debut, it’s not a farfetched ambition, for a man who’s longevity alone would make him a front runner. As the cymbals and highs rode to the end, they faded to applause as the crowd acknowledged what Mr G had just given them.
Following on from one legend is a daunting task, however with Levon and Mr G already gone, only another could step up, and that was Move D. Tasked with the longest set of the evening, you’d be hard pressed to find a more apt selector to take you to the end. He bought a wildly eclectic and vibrant mix to the table. Throwbacks and nods in various musical directions whet the crowd’s appetite, as he slung through a musical library full of TIPs. A real treat was, nearing the bottom of the night he had everyone shoulders down to The Streets’ ‘Has it come to this?’, then resumed the tempo with ‘Bax’. Both tracks would sit far back in the mind of many, but there and then felt fresh and cohesive. A memorable moment.
In my eyes (and ears) the night was easily another success for the Hydra and EM crew. With a slightly reduced capacity, the venue felt a bit more homely, which contributed nicely to the vibe of the place. Everyone was here for the same thing. The Black Studio, who played host to Yam Who? and Blackbeard, was a nice entry point, but just felt somewhat misjudged when you have three icons conducting the dance in the main room. Nevertheless, don’t let it take away from what was an amazing piece of curation and a top evening.