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Review: Klockworks present Photon at Printworks

Review: Klockworks present Photon at Printworks
Jack Smith

Ben Klock’s Photon returned to its spiritual home – the former newspaper-plant-come-rave-megalith called Printworks which launched the Berghain resident’s multi-sensory extravaganza two years ago – on an impossibly glorious early Spring afternoon. A jarring juxtaposition this would have been, especially for those of us with a lifelong need for just a hint of colour, but not here.

When the stars (or should that be rays?) aligned in such an orderly fashion for one of the most anticipated events in the calendar so far, it would have been impossible to resist being swept up by the sheer grandeur of the occasion. The magnitude of Printworks itself has of course been well documented, so the stage was most certainly set. But did the cast equally inspire?

Once inside, the light-to-dark contrast gave the surroundings a festival-esque haziness as punters formed a spaghetti junction on their way from A to B. Disused nooks, crannies and passages all alluded to a fascinating history as surgically-optimised lighting and low-slung subs pierced through, creating a perfect storm within.

Almost straight off the bat a peculiar interaction set the tone. A guy who’d ordered three bevies in a hurry made a beeline for the nearest bin. I walked past and asked if he was with anyone who could help, to which he replied by necking two in quick succession and pocketing the third, stating “Yeah, him” as he flicked his chin towards the stage. In hindsight this was a telling glimpse into the feverish following Dax J, the London-born Berlin expat back on home turf for the first time since his storming performance at fabric’s 19th birthday weekender, has come to enjoy over the past few years. Hurtling his way through breakneck industrial and acid, it’s easy to see why – his set was a thrilling middle-finger to inhibition. Bassiani Raver, indeed. Sadly, this sense of abandon remained unmatched as the night flew past.

It’s both a blessing and a curse, then, that the precision of elite performance can paint thematic consistency as homogeneity.

Rødhåd’s brand of intergalactic expanse is world-renowned for its purity of vision, and yet a set woven with loose percussion, simple melodies a la Reeko’s ‘Behind You’ and indecipherable vocals – mimicking the games of Telephone happening in the mass – came to define rather than embellish.

Precious little too was made of KiNK’s heavyweight bout with his more functional alias Kirilik – a peculiar subplot which would have verged on the absurd in the hands of a less established name. Aliases exist to separate and differentiate artist output, but in a context such as this whereby intuitive variety and inspired moments should be par for the course, his hybrid-live set blurred the lines between hardware and selection too much, rendering them indistinguishable from the other. The resulting change of pace after an aggressive few hours from the aforementioned shifted the intensity down a notch when really we should have been flying through towards Klock’s endgame. Beauty needed her beast.

Alas, a sell-out production promising a royal ransom can turn a believer into a cynic, but in reality such a spoil of riches in this volatile clubbing landscape we call home deserves the benefit of the doubt. The night may have still been young as the last of us sauntered out towards its encore, but one thing was certain – we’d arrived at B after all.


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