Damn, what a way to kick 2013 off. Warp record’s legendary LFO heads down to Red Bull’s Music Academy showcase at XOYO for a full live show, replete with hypercolour visuals. A slew of indebted young producers drop by to pay homage – bringing the spirit of ’92 if hopefully not the fashion.
While new talents such as Lone and Zomby have been busy re-configuring rave music for a new generation, it’s always refreshing to see the true masters show us how it’s done. While you may not know LFO you will definitely have felt their influence – formed in Leeds way back in 1988 the duo played a key role in the development of UK techno. A string of seminal tracks like LFO, What is House? and We are Back defined the Warp sound of the early 90s. These early releases still sound boxfresh today, adding a muscular power to Kraftwerk’s minimal electro framework and complementing it with that uniquely rave forged atmosphere – simultaneously spaced out and uneasy.
Now a solo project for Mark Bell, a regular Björk collaborator with production credits on her last three albums, it is actually a single from late in the band’s career likely to get the biggest response. Accompanied by an unforgettable Asian horror inspired video of possessed body-popping Chinese schoolgirls, Freak is a feral mix of rattling acid house and French-electro toughness. The number works best when accompanied by hyperactive visuals, as anyone who’s witnessed the unforgettable neon nightmare opening credits of Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void can attest. Handy then that visual artist Flat-E is on hand to bring some LED magic to a worked-up crowd.
Warming things up at the Academy are a slew of new producers whose own work attests to LFO’s almighty influence. New R & S signing MPIA3 pays respect to his Dutch label’s early days with a full-bodied and beefy take on acid techno. London based but Slovenian born, Nightwave has yet to step out of the shadow of romantic interest and sometimes collaborator Rustie, but promises a set of bracing techno gems tonight to make her name with. Finally we have Loops-Haunt, whose brilliant EP Zenith takes us back to the restless energy of the UK’s IDM scene, all jagged edges and spat-out loops.
Red Bull Music Academy presents LFO, MPIA3, Nightwave, Loops-Haunt @ XOYO, Cowper Street, EC2A 4AP, Friday 11 January, from 9pm. Tickets and information.
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