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Review: Kehakuma with Art Department

As Kehamkuma continues to grow as one of the best underground nights on the island, we check out a set from canadian duo Art Department.

By Spotlight

Over the past couple of years Kehahuma has evolved to now be considered one of the leading nights on the island for quality, underground music.  The roster of DJ’s this season has included everything from innovative house producers like Adam Shelton, Glimpse and Matt Tolfrey, to the harder sounds of Guy Gerber, as well as hotly in demand names like Maya Jane Coles, Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones.  And that’s only on the Terrace. Up in the intimate Red Box space, young producers that are really starting to make a name for themselves such as Subb-an and Jordan Peak have been playing alongside disco-house DJ’s Session Victim and The Revenge.

Resident Nick Curly has lead the line-ups almost every other week, keeping his sets interesting and diverse. Compared to the harder style typical of his label Cecille that I heard him play last year, he has kept the dancefloor engaged by mixing it up with softer, more subtle house tracks.

Line-ups considered, it’s no surprise then that Space has been heaving throughout August, with the main Discoteca room also open.  Running a free guestlist before 1am, the queue outside the club has sometimes been almost an hour long.  And after experiencing the party, hopefully they will be back next time as paying customers, contributing to the growing success of Kehakuma.

After the madness of Ibiza in August, I wasn’t expecting the club to be overly busy this week.  Yes, the line-up was one of the most intriguing all season – Art Department, Clive Henry, Shaun Reeves, Seth Troxler and Damian Lazarus – but it was still mid September, supposedly the calm before the storm of closings.  Just catching the end of Shaun Reeves’ set, the Terrace was packed and in full swing at 2am.  It was Art Department in particular that I was keen to hear, having seen them 3 times in the last year in London.  Initially I had loved their unique style and sound, but their last set about 6 months ago had failed to hold my attention to the end.

Starting off with slow chunky beats and deep, moody vocals characteristic of Art Department’s sound, it was perfect for getting into the groove.  The crowd was more than enthusiastic and the atmosphere only got better as they picked up the pace mid-set with percussive, tribally house.  Smoothly switching up and down the energy throughout the rest of the set, they dropped some nice melodic tracks, contrasted against the more cool, quirky choices.  The changes in tempo kept you guessing, never allowing the room to go flat – exactly what their previous set had been lacking.  A brief power cut added to the pair’s performance, prompting cheers and clapping from the dancefloor.  But Jonny White came back harder dropping a summer bomb; the newly edited version of Andre Lodeman’s ‘Where Are You Now’.

When you burst onto the scene like Art Department did last summer with a killer track and new distinctive sound, there’s always the danger of not being able to sustain the wow factor.  While there was a period when Art Department may have still been riding on the back of the success of ‘Without You’, their Kehakuma set proves they have longevity and are still one of the most interesting acts to listen to.

Another artist from the night who deserves a quick mention for never failing to be creative – Seth Troxler dropping a remix of Mousse T’s ‘Horny’.  So weird, but it worked!

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