It’s a Fine Line: Ivan Smagghe and Tim Paris
The Loft, London | 25th January
For ex-ravers of a certain age, the prospect of a marathon set from a legendary figure (say, 12 hours from Danny Tenaglia) is the perfect excuse to dust off the disco pants and book a babysitter. To be fair, it’d be reasonable to question the appeal of these kind of mega-sets. Having said that, there is something underwhelming about line-ups that pack ten DJs into as many hours. If you like an artist enough to pay to watch them, the surely you’d want to gurn over the security railings at them for at least a good few hours, right?
At The Loft, a swanky complex of photography studios hidden away in West London where hipsters fear to tread, Ivan Smagghe and Tim Paris got the whole night to themselves (minus a cameo from Border Community upstart Fairmont). And the elongated staging worked perfectly, allowing It’s A Fine Line (their collective moniker) to indulge in a slow-burning, subtle, measured transmission of wonky techno.
If you’re thinking that ‘slow-burning’ and ‘measured’ sound more like words that should be attached to a description of a speech by a European bureaucrat than an evening of hedonistic 4/4 beats, then you need to widen your definition of hedonism. There were girls on shoulders, men without t-shirts: all the trimmings. But this all happened in response to a gently breaking sonic wave, not a series of contrived peaks and troughs.
It’s a Fine Line make sexy house music – not through girls yelping or talkin’ dirty, but through crafting a groove that has algorithmically captured the pleasure principle. They make dark house music – not through scary noises or inducing deafness, but by weaving a menacing melodic path. But most of all they make house music that works through the sum of its parts, rather than leaning on the occasional crowd pleaser (with filler in between). And that’s why we love em.
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Words: Adam Corner