Art Of Dark 5th Birthday @ Studio 338 – 02/07/2016


I keep saying that I want to try different nights at different night clubs, yet I ended up back at Studio 338 this weekend for Art Of Dark. Neither night or club are vaguely new to me.

But the lure of Sonja Moonear, one of my very favourite DJs was too much to resist. Not to mention the outdoor beach – which was new to me.

Somehow I managed to spend 6 hours getting there – one train, one overground train, one tube – quick stop to pick up my friend which wasn’t so quick as we booked a holiday to Ibiza at the same time, then back onto the tube-sauna, change to get the Thames Clipper (why not?) then decide we cannot be bothered to wait, walk over the bridge to Waterloo, then decide we are getting the Thames Clipper, then have to wait for 3-4 boats before we can finally get on.

Yes it would have been quicker to get to Ibiza.

A thorough search and we were both in – a quick tip to all readers – do check your wallets for accidental leftovers before going into a club. Oops.

We headed straight for the new beach which looks and feels fantastic. At first I was slightly bemoaning too much cover from the sunshine, but as the dark clouds slowly edged closer, I was about to be very thankful.

For a good 40-50 minutes it poured down. The areas of tarpaulin did provide just about enough cover from the rain, though the rainwater collected in the middle of the tarpaulins and sagged – cue a game of chicken as people tried to empty them of water without soaking anyone oblivious enough to be passing by. Surely a more diagonal sloping design would help the rainwater to drain off naturally?


Eventually the rain passed, and Slow Life (made up of Laurine, DJ Tree & Cecilio – Laurine I am a big fan of, the others were new to me) continued their slightly discombobulated warm-up – never really settling into one style with minimal, house, garage and occasional techier grooves all mish-mashed somewhat. It didn’t always flow but it was good dancefloor music.

There was no question that Sonja Moonear’s set would flow and it was indeed sublime. It maybe took her a little time to settle in – the vinyl decks were jumping occasionally (both outside and inside) which she seems a little miffed about but once the minimal was flowing I was pretty close to musical heaven.

Sadly it came to an end at 10pm and we went inside.

I’m not going to pretend I know who was playing first – I know I should pay a bit more attention if I’m intending on doing a write-up but I just prefer to get lost in the moment – I’m more likely to pay attention if I’m not having that good a time. I wasn’t really taking too much notice and it took me a while to get into it after having such a good time outside – part of me considered getting the last train home but I knew I was slightly too battered for that.

Onur Ozer seemed to be on next but I really wasn’t paying attention to who was playing, I was just happily dancing. Musically slightly left-of-centre with some slightly more unusually structured tech-house, mixed with other styles typical of an Art Of Dark party.

My feet and back were showing signs of age towards the latter hours – though roughly after 2/3am the music tended back to the minimal sounds that I prefer and in between sit-downs I did enjoy the music much more – though Sonja remained the highlight for me.

I think we left around 4am – nearly 12 hours in a nightclub isn’t bad going for someone closer to 40 than 30. Shit. I’ve just realised that I’m not far off 40.

The crowd was mostly good – a couple of dickheads in the afternoon were barging into me outside for no reason (jealous of the hair), then I got a bit freaked out that I was surrounded by Vladimir Putin’s goons later on and they were about to take revenge for me tweeting “Putin’s A Paedophile” when England played Russia the other week. Too much “vodka” is probably more the reality.

The terrace is moving towards completion – the temperature was pleasant in there – though the “Nothing but love” sign might need a little rearranging as after a couple of drinks it seems to suggest “nothing buttlove”.

Overall it was a lot of fun – music sometimes blissful, other times less interesting and I’m sure I’ll be back next year. I’m giving it a 7.1 out of 10.

Next up for me is Ricardo at fabric.


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