© Andrea Macchia

Club To Club 2015

Turin, Italy
4 - 8 November

Based in the Northern Italian city of Turin, the main venue of Club to Club – a huge former Fiat plant – is no beauty spot, but the quality of the festival’s electronic-leaning line-up leads to many stunning moments taking place inside it.

With the Friday and Saturday schedules running until around 7am, daytime explorations of Turin take a backseat on the weekend. Just as well, then, that the festival’s programme gently eases you in, leading us to the stunning 300-year old Teatro Carignano theatre for its annual Thursday night concert, which sees Floating Points noodle through the subdued jazz experiments of Elaenia with a ten-piece band.

With a desire to turn the night up a notch (no drinks are served at the Teatro Carignano), a cheap cab ride takes me to the smaller (but still sizeable) room of the festival’s main Ligiotto Fiere complex for SOPHIE’s set. Having turned heads by dancing among the crowd in what seems to be a silver perspex outfit, PC Music’s human avatar QT joins SOPHIE onstage to mime and dance during latter half of set. The crowd smiles, and it feels like good fun. Nothing more, nothing less.

Working with a similar formula, Mumdance then performs alone before welcoming regular collaborator and recent Crack cover star Novelist onstage. The dancefloor’s a little sparser by the time we’re approaching the 4am mark, but with Mumdance’s choice of leftfield yet hard-hitting instrumentals behind him, Novelist whips the remaining crowd into a frenzy, spitting with precision and grinning as crowd-surfers are thrown up during the rowdiest moments.

For those who are inclined towards electronic music with a forward-thinking vision, the schedule for the next two nights is a blissful prospect. Carter Tutti Void sustain a slow, lurching pulse while generating hissing feedback with low-slung guitars, Holly Herndon shares powerful messages about the refugee crisis with her A/V show, Houston grime experimentalist Rabit mixes murky instrumentals with Southern rap acapellas, while the succession of Todd Terje from Anthony Naples creates a joyful party atmosphere that reaches sweltering temperature levels with a packed out crowd and a liberal policy on indoor smoking.

An unusual highlight of the weekend is Lorenzi Senni’s set. The Milan-based artist, who was fresh from Evian Christ’s Trance Party tour, specialises in what’s loosely described as ‘ambient trance’. With intense synths eternally teasing a euphoric drop which never happens, his formula is something of an acquired taste, and somewhat inexplicably, he’s booked to play at 5am in the Ligiotto Fiere’s colossal main room – straight after Jamie xx’s crowd-pleasing set. By this point, it’s been two hours since the venue stopped selling alcohol (due to a curfew set by Italian law) and, hilariously, the room empties at a rapid pace. But those still present are mesmirised, clutching the crowd barrier with eyes closed – soaking in Senni’s emotionally-charged, beatless synth tracks – including those he wrote for How To Dress Well’s 2014 album What Is This Heart? It’s a beautiful finale to the night, and it feels like a neat summary of Club to Club’s adventurous attitude.