Benji B’s Deviation residency at XOYO has already boasted an impressive roster of artists, from Four Tet and Floating Points to Kenny Dixon Jr. himself.
Given the series’ success thus far, it was understandable that on this muggy day in June, Benji B looked on from the decks nodding with satisfaction. His warm welcome to Moodymann came against the backdrop of I Wanna Be Your Lover by Prince, and the crowd could hardly contain themselves.
True to form and cryptic as ever, Moodymann appeared in a beanie hat, a ginormous hoodie and his signature face net on this most stifling of London days: it was 80% humidity on the street, let alone in the Shoreditch basement. After exchanging a boisterous hug with Benji, Moody took the reins. A set flavoured with funk, house, soulful vocals and the odd jazz inflection here and there, Dixon had us wrapped around his little finger. He began by cooling down the crowd with the Âme remix of Howling, a lullaby for the masses after Benji’s raucous set. His choices were rich and purposeful, from RnB with Common’s Testify, to big brassy numbers and soul-ridden disco.
Moodymann’s range and depth as a selector served to enhance his mastery in sampling. He is an enigma, stealthy amid a Detroit haze, but is wholly unapologetic. Moodymann has referred to his old school ways and refusal to modernise as “ignorant.” Well if that’s the case, then ignorance is bliss.