This Friday gone, Kode9, Darkstar and Spaceape took to the few-more-grand settings of Turin’s Teatro Carignano for a Hyperdub label showcase at Italy’s Club to Club festival.

The theatre has to be seen to be believed, and proved an idyllic setting for the most intriguing performance of the festival, Kode9 playing Burial. Seeing as we know how many of you are Burial spotters, we thought we’d let you know how it went. The soundman wouldn’t let the bass get too high, as during the soundcheck dust had started to fall from the ceiling. As a result, everything sounded a little thinner than it could have – but we guess that’s part of the problem when it comes to playing a venue constructed in the first half of the 17th century. In fact, the venue was the main reason Kode9 had agreed to do it.

The Burial set probably lasted half an hour, and on more than one occasion used the beatless ‘Endorphin’, from second Burial album Untrue, to fuse the other cuts. The majority was new, or at least unreleased; one track had a fat El-B style bassline, and another sampled Wu Tang. What the performance really made clear though was how still Burial’s music is. God knows the guy’s had countless offers to play at festivals, but if he did a set of his own material it wouldn’t suit a pissed up field – when you hear it played in a theatre like this, it really emphasises how much more its place is in ambient music than dance music. Which makes it all the more remarkable how well-received and popular it’s been.

Kode9 was then joined by Spaceape for a live set. Like the Burial set, most of this was unreleased. Tracks never really began or finished, with Kode mulching everything into one long piece, though the biggest reactions from the crowd came for the recognisable moments, like the lead synth from ‘Black Sun’, the riff from ‘9 Samurai’ (and later the Quarta330 remix) and ‘Time Patrol’. Spaceape always seems to divide people, but he was really good here, echoing his own voice to add to the disorientating qualities of the music, which was usually based around slightly stuttered drums and big, polluted synths bubbling and dripping with paint. Kind of ‘Black Sun’-core, or something.

Darkstar suffered most from the thin sound, as they had music coming out of about four different sources (mic, synths, Macbook, etc) as opposed to Kode and Spaceape’s two. One of North‘s qualities is the way the vocals are treated, which obviously you lose live. That’s fine, as Buttery’s a good vocalist in the traditional sense, but when the synths were coming through as low as they did here, the vocals dominate too much, which isn’t what Darkstar’s songs are about. The band were visibly pretty pissed off, but I dare say it sounded worse on stage with monitors in your face than it did at the back of the venue, where it apparently sounded fine.

A full Club to Club report and photo gallery is due later in the week.



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