The Warehouse ProjectCurated by Daniel Averyin association with Crack Magazine
Words: Ben Murphy
On 20 October Daniel Avery hosts a specially curated night at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, inviting a handpicked selection of his favourite DJs to play alongside him at one of the last ever Store Street events. The Store Street venue has become synonymous with the long-running club series, and occupies a former air raid shelter beneath the Piccadilly train station. For Avery, devising an event there allows him to pay tribute to a space very close to his heart.
“Manchester has always felt like a special place to play,” Avery says, “and WHP has been a part of my life for several years now. When asked to curate a night as part of the final season at Store Street, I knew I wanted to present something beyond simply a regular line-up.”
Avery’s recently released album Song for Alpha found him delving into an array of influences and styles, from spine tingling ambient to elysian techno and juddering IDM beats, and his line-up of DJs for Warehouse Project is similarly diverse and expressive. Spanning the futuristic breakbeat wizardry of Skee Mask to Avalon Emerson’s leftfield electro rhythms, the night promises to be a dazzling snapshot of where dance music’s at in 2018. “I didn’t want to rely on a bill of festival headliners, and instead saw this as a way to shout about some of the newer stars in the sky,” Avery says. “This is a collection of artists and DJs who I fully believe in, each doing something unique in the electronic underground.”
We asked Avery to tell us why he’s booked each of the acts for his WHP event…
“A couple of years ago a friend of mine gave me a beautiful track called Spring Ballade, but that was as much as I knew about its identity. I was playing it most sets and it always shone a light into the room. Around the same time, I kept hearing reports of a new DJ from Russia via Copenhagen called Anastasia Kristensen who was destroying every party she played. You’ve already guessed the ending to this story, but I can confirm that the rumours were true.”
“Avalon already has an iconic energy around her, and with good reason. She’s one of the most exciting and risk-taking DJs around. In the last year alone I’ve seen her captivate an entire arena at Sónar, bring the front row of De School to joyful tears and come close to getting an LA warehouse party shut down by making it rain indoors.”
“There ain’t no one like Blawan, the crown prince of today’s techno wave. I can’t see anyone coming close to him. Everything he does has a raw power, while maintaining an elegance that is impossible to fake.”
“I’m a fan of any artist who consistently wrong-foots expectation and Joe is the epitome of this idea. His latest album Arpo was as much a love letter to his hazy jazz influences as it was to the club, and all the more interesting for it. Plus Acephale II, man! Fucking Acephale II. I still can’t describe how much I love that track.”
“No one needs me to tell them what an innovative and important musician he is.”
“Come inside and let Dr Acid blow your mind. Every time I’ve seen Rubinstein play, I’ve run up to her with a list of track IDs like the biggest mark you could imagine. Now a staple at Berghain, her sets have an emotion to match the intensity that sets her streets apart from the pack.”
“Two years ago I picked up a magazine on the tube and saw an article about Phonox’s new resident HAAi. She talked about her love of psychedelic music from around the world, and how it influenced her taste in techno. The following night I was at a party in London and recognised her face. We started talking and pretty much became friends instantly. She had a magnetic energy. Cut to two years later, and HAAi bids farewell to her residency with an Essential Mix, a legion of hardcore fans in every country she visits and a string of incredible productions under her belt.”
“John and I can’t decide if we first met in a swimming pool at Butlins or in a grotty dressing room eating someone else’s hummus. Either way, I can tell you that he is a fantastic musical digger, excellent DJ and something of a Manchester legend.”
“A true hero of modern techno, Dettmann continues to prove what makes him special, whether it’s marathon sets in Berlin, composing pieces for contemporary dance performances or releasing interesting and non-generic music into the world.”
“Peach is a figurehead of the new wave of DJs injecting life and vitality into the club scene. She has an infectious energy that translates into how she commands a room. It feels like the walls are falling in when she plays.”
“Another new name making waves by doing things entirely on her own terms. Part of the inspiring Siren collective, re:ni plays heavy and blistering music informed by an upbringing on jungle, but does it with a poise and grace that is rare to find.”
“I’m forever banging on about how I’m looking for machine music with a human heart, and I’m certain Skee Mask defines what that idea can mean today. He’s already released two modern classic albums and he’s still only a kid. In many ways Skee Mask summarises what I wanted this line up to represent, and I’m ecstatic he’s a part of it.”
“Afterparty stories are boring and identical, but this one felt different. This one time in Aberdeen, lying on the floor of a sun-drenched apartment, every single record I heard knocked my mind sideways. A girl with blonde hair was rifling through her collection, throwing sleeves across the room. It felt like an education. Anyone can be taught how to beat-match, but good taste cannot be manufactured. IDA is proof, and one of the best new DJs I’ve heard.”
Flat-e are the studio creating Daniel Avery’s immersive visual setup
Words: Theo Kotz
When MTV arrived at the beginning of the 80s many contended audio and visuals would be forevermore entwined. That may have proved to be a false dawn, but A/V has matured as a medium and today there are countless artists playing at the boundaries of what’s possible.
One of the most respected audiovisual studios working in music today is Flat-e, a project run by Matt Bateman and Rob Slater that carries the torch lit by legendary music video producers like Chris Cunningham. Recently they made a film to accompany the entirety of Daniel Avery’s lauded album Song for Alpha, a grainy, almost overwhelming interpretation of the record. They are currently developing the visual aspect of Avery’s upcoming show at The Warehouse Project in partnership with Crack Magazine, so we caught up with Slater to delve a little deeper into what they do.
Hi Rob. Could you start by telling us a bit about Flat-e and how it started?
Matt and I met at art college about 20 years ago. We make stuff like visuals and light installations. Lots of the work is for musicians’ live shows but we also do music videos, public installations and what people who earn more money than me call ‘experiences’. We started doing visuals for Warp Records artists like LFO and Aphex Twin, and then started working for other acts and doing work outside of music.
How did your relationship with Daniel Avery come about?
We both loved Drone Logic so we’ve always kept an eye on what Dan’s been releasing. Our paths crossed and we jumped at the chance to meet and listen to what would become Song for Alpha. We chatted about early Autechre, the collaboration we’d done with LFO and the human connection with the sound he was creating for Song for Alpha.
What made you want to take on visualising the entire album?
Dan mentioned early on the idea of letting people see all the videos together in one sitting. I loved this idea because in the early 2000s lots of things seemed to point to a future where cinemas and TV channels would be dedicated to audiovisual stuff like that. For example we once did a tour of theatres for the launch of the Warp Visions DVD. It started with everyone seated watching visual experiments before the screen was raised revealing a massive rave behind. Everyone jumped out of their seats and listened to people like Plaid and Jamie Lidell whilst watching visuals on the screen. I remember thinking this is it… in the future we’re going to embrace this stuff. Fast-forward to 2018 and it is very clear that nobody should ever listen to any predictions I make. Regardless, I loved the idea of creating a cohesive set of visuals that could be viewed singularly.
Did you have any reference points or influences in mind when making it?
Scientific reference videos of things like microscopy are fascinating because they show us things we can’t normally see. Most of the videos explore this idea in some way. We were also inspired by computer games like Elite and Rez; the idea of generating forward motion that hooks on to the tempo. Some of the colour palettes came from looking at old Warp Records graphic design that the Designers Republic did which we love.
How about Daniel's involvement?
From early on, it felt like we were on similar wavelengths when it came to aesthetics. The concepts came from chatting with Dan about the music, then sharing ideas. Dan had themes that informed the work but he wasn’t prescriptive. For us, the best collaborations are when you‘re interpreting someone’s work and giving them something they hadn’t preconceived. It’s pretty rare and I’m thankful this project has turned out that way.
What exactly was your process when making these visualisations?
We wanted to make visuals that explored the concepts of hope emerging from fear, euphoria from dysphoria or of light from darkness. The music is really hopeful and timeless so we didn’t want the visuals to look modern or too threatening. Nor did we want them to look too clean. For some of the videos we had a daisy chain of a cameras recording an object, with the camera outputting to another screen being filmed by another camera and so on until the image was being duplicated six or seven times creating a very natural degradation.
How is the approach to the live show different?
It’s a good opportunity to further explore the visuals without having to go back to the drawing board. At Dan’s York Hall gig, we made a projection-mapped cube that floated above as he performed in the middle of the space. The set started ambient with people lying on the floor and the sculptural screen floating ominously without anything on it. By the end, as the music is more hectic, those same people are going nuts and the screen has come to life.
What drew you to working with music and audiovisual projects in the first place?
We were studying when those seminal Chris Cunningham videos came out, and Chris Morris was putting out things like Jam which was subverting the notion of traditional media. We got to work with some of those people whose work we really admired — we did a web-based project with Chris Morris and we started doing visuals for Warp artists. We did a show with Aphex Twin and Chris Cunningham which was amazing - 30,000 people in a field in Turin. Creating work that’s intrinsically linked to music and can be experienced in so many different ways is really exciting.
Lastly, what have you got in the pipeline?
We’re at the early stages of a really interesting project working with climate scientists at Leeds University. It’s an exploration of the unseen interactions in the natural environment. We don’t know exactly what form it’s going to take but right now the journey is fascinating.
© Flat-e for Daniel Avery