Sunday, 27 July 2008

London Paper 75

Tracy and Shaun, originally uploaded by oh1963wtsh.

On The Scene
Chantelle Fiddy

Aquarium in Old Street seems to be having something of a renaissance. The only club in London to boast a swimming pool, it stood at the forefront of dance when the doors first opened 12 years ago, but as the superclub generally fell into decline in the late ‘90s, so it seemed did Aquarium. Popularised by stag and hen parties, or those who came to Shoreditch but couldn’t get down to cutting-edge electro or with men who had a serious penchant for glitter, it became less cool than skool.

Fast-forward and we’re seeing a return to healthy queues and pool parties with a difference on a Friday night. Kosheen DJs, Decoder and Substance will play a rare London set at Prologue’s event this week, bringing their trademark, dub-infected techno sounds down from Bristol. Likewise, hotly tipped electro-indie four-piece Viva City, who’s debut single ‘Kate Bush’, drops in late June, will supply throbbing baselines and melodic electronica. Tickets cost £12 (£8 concessions), just don’t forget your bikini or Speedos – the no nudity in the pool rule still stands after all this time.

In addition, if you’re looking for somewhere to crash for the after-party or to get refreshed from a raving burn-out, Aquarium have joined the league table of great anti-social clubbing times, Redlight Afterhours running from the early hour of 3.30am till 11am on Saturday, with more filthy electro, twisted techno and house comes from the likes of Joe Le Groove, Giles Smith (Secret Sundaze) and Severino (Horse Meat Disco).

Saturday nights still offer too much cheese for some, but in an area saturated with music that’s off the beaten track, let us embrace Car Wash with its hip hop, D&B, R&B and funk. Ok, so you might have to dodge a few groups of girls armed with L plates but it’s no worse than avoiding getting socked by a mullet in Bar Music Hall.

Making a mark elsewhere in Old Street, on Saturday, Aaron Ross, A&R at leading dance label Defected, alongside his production partner Neil Pierce, A&R at Soul Heaven, will be stamping their Fanatix moniker all over Herbal, Kingsland Road. Since mastering the studio credentials, Fanatix have notched up a batch of releases under their collective belt. ‘Love Connection’ featuring Alex Mills, proved to be quite a dance floor thriller making way for the Fanatix LP, This Thing Is Ours, due out at the end of the month on BBE, with guest appearances coming from the likes of Shaun Escoffery, Sarah Divine and X Factor contestant Dionne Mitchell (don’t hold it against her).

“DJing is an essential part of A&R, it’s where I road test a lot of tunes” explained Ross. “I was quite instrumental in the Todd Terry Allstars ‘Get Down’ record and have signed some bits for Strictly Rhythm, on more of an old skool tip. I definitely aspire to people like (my boss) Simon Dunmore or Pete Tong. It’s not that I want to do what they do, but it’s the way that they’re still hungry for music, even though they’re in their 40s. It’s really important to have that and not just do it for the moment.”

They’ll be live performances, on the night, coming from Dionne and Kadija Kamara (whose voice is on par with Lauryn Hill’s) with DJ Spen headlining deck duties. BBE host the upstairs room. Tickets are £5 before 10.30pm, £10 after.

A version of this article appeared in thelondonpaper.

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