This year, Manchester International Festival and WHP came together in Mayfield Depot to bring us two nights of spectacular live acts, commemorating ten years of Warehouse Project in Manchester.
Friday saw Four Tet live in concert, supported by Tyondai Braxton and DJ Koreless. As Shuf arrived to the soon to be demolished venue, Glaswegian Koreless was easing the crowd into the industrial setting with dubstep tracks like 'MTI' and 'Lost In Tokyo.' He then went on to his newer material from the more cinematic 2013 EP 'Yugen' with the highlight of his set being 'Sun.' These long building and atmospheric tracks filled with rolling bass and glorious synths greeted the crowds as the sparsely populated venue started to fill up in anticipation.
Next on was New York based Tyondai Braxton, who has been creating music under his own name since the mid 1990’s. Usually released under Warp records, he is also creator of experimental rock group Battles. His experimental brand of production has been called 'glitchy' and certainly was not concerned with regular beat or any kind of systematic BPM. Instead it seems his own music felt hugely interested in the way sounds work off of each other. These highly abrasive industrial noises sounded fantastic on the sound system put in place at Mayfield Depot.
Another flawless aspect of the night was the presence of the Now Wave DJs who played throughout the night, in-between sets, keeping the crowd engaged by playing selections by Aphex Twin, Bicep, Daphni. They were particularly great after Tyondai, smoothly changing the tone and getting the crowd warmed up, ready for the much anticipated headline act.
Having seen Four Tet many times both in the UK and abroad, I have come to learn to expect the unexpected. Although I thought I had an idea of what he might play, some of his selections surprised me, proving that he is still as unpredictable as ever. In more recent times his tracks and focus have been aimed more towards a club environment than his earlier “studio based albums”. This combination of dance music bangers and more ambient studio work had the room under his control effortlessly. His track selections favoured towards the showcasing his newer work. This included the hugely underrated collaboration with dubstep pioneer Martyn with the track ‘Glassbeadgames (8 Hours at Fabric Dub)’ which was my highlight of his entire set
Visually, this performance was unparalleled, with what can only be described as a spectacular light show. The crowd were particularly taken aback, ooh-ing and aah-ing when the hundreds of dangling strip lights first turned on and lit up the dark industrial space. This continued as the light show throbbed in time to more bass driven tracks such as 'Buchla' off of his release Beautiful Rewind. If this show was anything to go by, then I would say the people who managed to get Four-tet All Nighter tickets at Brixton Academy in October (which sold out in 3 minutes) are in for a real treat.
Words: Natasha Smurthwaite