Review: MINUS @ The Warehouse Project

Skiddle heads to The Warehouse Project for a MINUS showcase of Richie Hawtin, Magda, Marc Houle and more.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 18th Oct 2010

Reviewed by: Tim Cook and Oli Byrne

Arriving to an already heaving venue, we were treated to the final two tracks of Ambivalent, who is, without a doubt, the leading Minimal Techno artist of the moment. Both were surprisingly dark and hard for such an early slot, so we were impressed.

Next up was the ever stationary, yet absolutely creative Magda. She’s a funny one; her emotionless stance leaving much to be desired. But then, is that just an act for her to say “don't look at me, just listen to the music?" Probably not. But she managed to mix her way through upfront House, Disco and Techno, of which we noted Brian Sanhaji’s 'Critical Mass'. It was something to dance around, that’s for sure.

It was around this point that we noted the visuals were not as up to scratch as expected. We understood that this was a showcase, and not a Contakt show, but it felt disappointing that with such a creative and art based label such as Minus they did not provide the visual representation they could have done. Instead we had continuous loops of the same graphics… Surely it doesn’t cost the earth to apply a bit more thought to such things?

Next up was Marc Houle. If there was one particular artist I wanted to see tonight, this was it. An Ableton Live based performer, Houle managed to mangle sounds, loops and vocals to an amazingly twisted reality. As with Magda, Houle kept huge bass lines running throughout, with minimal and glitch percussion over the top. As well as playing newer material, Houle played classics such as ‘On It’  and 'Buchla9' (though this may have been another track, not a hundred per cent sure). If you haven’t seen Houle live (he played at Belly of the Beast earlier this year) then we can wholeheartedly recommend you do. Immediately.

As Houle was coming to an end, it looked liked Hawtin may have had some problems with his Traktor setup (may have been the MIDI clock from Houle's Ableton setup). However, he didn’t let this phase him and began a half tempo number with huge synth pads. We heard a few people say “Is this Dubstep?” (they only looked about 18 so we’ll forgive them), until Hawtin quickly faded in a House beat, in a way that only the professionals can do. 

Richie kept the energy going for as long as he physically could, playing a mixture of House, Techno and Tech-House, before settling on the Detroit techno sound he has become known and loved for. It was plainly evident why Richie has picked up such a huge following along the years; his ability to tease the crowd whilst maintaining superb flow is truly remarkable. Gradually adding more pace and intensity to the tracks, he kept the big grooving bass lines coming. 

This was one of the best times I can remember having in the Warehouse in a while. Richie kept things interesting and incredibly danceable. No one wanted to leave, and the main room was still pretty much full, past 5am. 

At 5.15am we had to call it a night, but what a great one it was.

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