Monday, 16 November 2009

Seasonfive - The Tube, 14th November

At the tail end of 2009, the whole dubstep/techno crossover ideal feels increasingly less an isolated concept, as 4/4 motion assimilates as merely one of many influences driving bass music into new and ever more exciting territories. Yet Seasonfive, hosted at the Tube once a month by Furesshu and Snugfelix, probably does more to encapsulate the sheer diversity and weighty calibre of Detroit and Berlin-inspired UK sounds than any other Bristol club night.

Last month saw a co-headlining bill from Untold and Pangaea, with the latter’s spun out garage flex and soul mutations going head-to-head against his former labelmate’s increasingly chaotic future grime. As the best evenings tend to be, it was all a bit of a blur by the end, but special mention has to be made of the new tracks Pangaea’s been taking on the road recently - ‘Why’ in particular is stunning, following on from where ‘Memories’ left off with a deftly chopped bit of soul sampling and churning stabs of sub-bass.

So it’s appropriate that his fellow Hessle Audio head Ben UFO makes an appearance at the follow up. As the swung soca rhythms of UK funky make further inroads into the realms previously marked by garage mutations, his own DJ sets increasingly skim along the bleeding point between genres, shifting between four-to-the-floor derivatives and the increasingly broken beat structures favoured by his labelmates. One moment in particular stands out above the others: I’m at the bar when the strains of Geiom’s second collaboration with Marita, ‘Sugar Coated Lover’, ring through the Tube and force a fairly undignified dash for the floor, minus drink. Still, it’s worth it – certainly the most accomplished track he’s produced at house tempo, its minor key pulses and sweet vocal hook summon the same sense of bittersweet longing that made ‘Reminissin’ so addictive.

Blunted Robots mainman Brackles follows with a set similarly heavy on London-style rudeness and his label’s well-attuned sense of post-garage swing. The man’s a consummate skill on the decks - being able to stand a couple of feet away to watch him mix merely enhances the experience further.

Yet it’s testament to the weighty calibre of tonight’s line-up that the venue is comfortably full with people by the time of Peverelist’s set at the comparatively early time of half twelve – although perhaps unsurprising, given his local reputation and the fact that his debut album Jarvik Mindstate is due for release in the next couple of weeks. As far as these ears are concerned his is the set of the night, ‘Not Yet Further Than’ in particular honing the ever-shifting dynamics of his earlier tracks into a subtly morphing synth-driven epic. Its pleasingly circular title perfectly fits the track’s maze-like paradoxes that seem to wrap themselves around the room’s edges and cut through the crowd with unerring accuracy. Later on, the insectoid dynamics of The Hizatron’s ‘Von Glooperstein’ bring to mind the click and scuttle of giant mandibles, yet its darkened intent is offset by a lurching bassline that poises itself somewhere between willfully psychedelic and utterly hilarious.

Once again, things have gotten a little blurry by the time Furesshu closes, although his airing of Brackles’ ‘LHC’ marks an appropriate energy boost for the unwanted return to street level and chilly cab ride back to a flat weighed down in empty cans and bottles. Next month’s second birthday party is set to feature a two-hour set from Scuba, as well as Hotflush labelmate Sigha – yet another lineup it would seem foolish to miss.

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