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Review: Richie Hawtin debuts at Solomun +1

Back in August, Hawtin popped his Pacha Ibiza cherry

Solomun's +1 residency is in its fourth consecutive year at Pacha, and his +LIVE project has grown to include Ushuaïa as well as Destino. Plus he's sure to be riding high off the back of a stonking date at DC-10 for Diynamic's 10th anniversary. If the Balkan beast's Ibiza domination isn't at its peak, all I can think is, man, what do we still have coming for us?

I fell a big bit in love with Solomun after getting hurled through a tunnel of serious eargasmic pleasure at the above mentioned DC-10 gig last month. My god, it was special, and the whole shebang took me clean off guard – not that I was thinking I was in for a second-rate experience, but I felt as if I hadn't been sonically pushed to react in such a heightened, heated manner for a long time. So at this point, after a chunky hiatus from his notorious Sunday showdowns, I figured it was time to get back as soon as possible, and you couldn't have asked for a more exciting date than the night he was getting hold of Richie Hawtin's Pacha cherry to pop it a beauty.

In 2015, Solomun was able to boast that he'd bagged Sven Väth for his first Pacha appearance in two decades, and this year, he's surely got to be blowing his own trumpet for luring Hawtin to the club for the first time EVER. Earlier in the season, I'd managed to squeeze Solomun for some Q&A time. I quizzed him on what we could expect from their contrasting styles, to which he had this to say:

"It's a huge challenge. Richie and I have never played B2B before, so it will be an interesting experiment - we will see how it works out. But this is something I like so much with the +1-concept, that I can play B2B with such artists who play a different sound than me in general like Richie, Sven or Dubfire. And the people at Pacha, they know since four years now that they can expect also a harder sound on the Sundays, so I am not worried about that at all - I'm totally looking forward to it."

Sitting here still feeling the effects of a good dance floor battering, I can easily say you're quite right on having no worries, because Sunday 28 August went down a storm and is sure to have careered itself to the pillar position of being a season / holiday highlight for hundreds.

On entry, I caught the tail end of Redshape's 'Tel Aviv' being blasted by Solomun, which took me right back to DC-10's Diynamic bash – nice one. In that rammed crowd there were appreciative whistles aplenty and as soon as Hawtin came on the energy of the room dramatically lifted. He seemed to be playing with live elements and the opening track was a live programmed drum groove with classic 909 snares and that unmistakable 909 clap harking back to his 'Decks EFX & 909' days - arguably his most interesting period. With a slight nod to yesteryear he followed this up with the big room techno sound he's known for today and kept it fairly high octane throughout, occasionally breaking it down into more housier sounds, which was perfectly in line with the Solomun's penchant for channelling emotive escapism.

Hawtin teased the live elements throughout, adding drum patterns and affects to masterfully built tension and dynamics, which gave the whole set an unpredictable live element, keeping the dance floor second guessing his every move. The club itself was decked out with minimal decor and lighting, often sticking to one or two colours. The impact of the change in lighting really lifted the set and as the crashing live claps and snares rolled through the club it was met with intense strobes that made way for a dramatic shift in colour as the kick dropped back in.

Solomun and Hawtin have very distinctive styles and, to the ear during their closing b2b set, you could detect Solomun was driving his sound to the heavier tech edge to complement Hawtin's pioneering techno roots, whereas Hawtin tamed his techno rawness to fit perfectly into the feel of Solomun's now well established Ibiza residency. Just before I bowed out, Solomun slapped on Ben Klock's classic track, 'Sub Zero', which ambushed our senses and propelled the packed out dance floor up a level to hyper states of minds. It was eargasmic ridiculousness. The place was levelled and I came out near horizontal. Job done.


WORDS | Aimee Lawrence

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