Art Of Dark @ Studio 338 26/09/2015

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This is the new clubbing blog that you will all be reading. Think of it like The Weekly Review Of Dance Music but much less funny, much less weekly, albeit with more reason to exist. Or at least a vague reason to exist.

Tonka was actually inspired by me. You might know me from writing about trips to fabric to see Ricardo Villalobos – or simply recognise me by my hair.

I was inspired in the late 80’s by house music (and hairstyles), and this has always been the case, taking in various trends along the way but it always comes back to that 4/4 beat at 125bpm. Or perhaps a little slower, and much more minimal, given my age.

See, I am now closer to 50 than 20. Only just but clubbing really takes its toll nowadays. In fact, just one glass of wine does too. Long gone are the days when I would go out on a Friday night and get to bed on Sunday evening, and still make it to work on Monday. One big night out now takes nearly a week to recover.

Very occasionally I wonder – am I actually too old for clubbing? The aim of the blog is to answer that question – am I too old for clubbing? Are you too old for clubbing? Is there such a thing as being too old for clubbing? See, I told you there was more of a point to this blog than Tonka’s, bless his dayglo cotton socks.

I’ve wanted to go to an Art Of Dark party for some time. For me, they have been booking some of the more exciting DJs and acts in this new second wave of minimal. Actually, if you want to be pedantic and go into your music history, you could argue this is really the fifth wave of minimal electronic music, there being one in the middle of every decade since the 1970’s, give or take.

But minimal only really came to be a force widely across the dance music world in the mid-2000’s – and the kind of DJs that Art Of Dark book are part of the next generation so for the purposes of my life and this blog, it is the second wave.

I had a bit of a predicament for this event. It started at 2pm and finished at 6am. I can manage about 8 to 10 hours in a nightclub without falling asleep. Oh I should mention that I also rely on National Rail to get home – it isn’t as simple as getting Ahmed from Eritrea to take me home in his beaten-up Datsun.

In the end I chose to arrive early, so I could watch my buddy Iain Kemz play, see Cristi Cons play for the first time ever which excited me (that Anatrack…wow) and then get the last train home.



The two warm-up DJs in the car park at Studio 338 (usually the chill-out area with the tables) did just that. Both played an error-free gentle warm-up, suitable for what was a very quiet car park to begin. Turning up this early meant that I could spend some time catching up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while – though by time the second warm-up DJ was half-way through his set I was itching to dance – and the only so seemingly so.

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(Photo is of the first warm-up DJ – Iain Kemz)

I always think I’m being rude when I discard my friends because I need to dance but hey, that is what we are in a nightclub for.

There was no big fanfare for Cristi Cons’ arrival, he slipped on un-noticed to me, I even had to double-check that it was him.

He proceeded to play several hours of glistening minimal, some really sumptuous sunshine grooves. Sunshine was sadly at a premium in the car park. It’s an excellent idea to have a little outdoor area fully ensconced in the sunshine, but the angle of the sun at this time of year, and a badly placed sign-post and building meant that much of the rays were diverted away from the dancefloor.

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Photography is by Carrie Tang – you can check out her other photographs here and here.  Highly recommended…though you can see that for yourself if you check her website.

It did take quite a while to get going as an event too. There were not healthy numbers until around 9pm on the terrace and in the car park, although any shred of sobriety had left me by this point.

I came to around midnight to find myself in a traffic-jam in a taxi, absolutely nowhere near Waterloo station with no way of getting home until the next morning. Oops.

I really enjoyed my night there and will definitely be at another Art Of Dark event before too long. If you like your minimal then I highly recommend it.

Everything in the world should have a number attached to it, and as such I am going to give the day 7 out of 10. I am sure it would have rated much higher had I been there for the night instead, but I made the right decision for me.

The crowd likely made the correct decision in turning up late and going for the night portion. I do think that there needed to be more of a reason for people to turn up during the afternoon but apart from that they got it pretty spot on in terms of programming and line-up – Art Of Dark has a big future ahead of it as a party and is very much one to watch.

Am I too old for clubbing? Hell no. Not daytime clubbing anyway.

Next up I’ll be The Hydra for Levon Vincent, Mr G and Move D – quite some line-up.

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