Secretsundaze
Closing Party / Secretsundaze Volume 1

By Kone-R

 
Six years back if you’d have suggested to me that London might host a large outdoor techno event that would take place regularly on a Sunday afternoon, I’d probably have laughed at you. However, I hadn’t figured on the rise of minimal 4/4 beats to the uber-hip heights that they currently hold. Richie Hawtin’s haircut has a lot to answer for — the success of Secretsundaze possibly among those.

I make my way up to the soon-to-be-rubble area behind Kings Cross that houses a number of regular nighteries and I wonder how much poorer the club scene in London will be for their loss — certainly, I can’t imagine Secretsundaze finding another terrace as suitable as the one at Canvas, formerly Bagley’s, so it’s strike one to the developers.

On arrival, the popularity of the event is clear — the queue is sizeable and the sense of anticipation as the beats float down from the roof of the warehouse is palpable. Upstairs, the party is in full swing, despite the distinct lack of sunrays in the area. Leaving their summer Closing Party until the end of September seems enormously risky, but the gods of rave are pleased with proceedings and ensure the rain doesn’t come.

The terrace is packed with punters. And they aren’t the kind of spangled casualties you might expect on a Sunday afternoon. Although many of them may indeed have carried over the previous night’s antics (Villalobos at Fabric, Hawtin at The End — it’s a veritable minimalfest this weekend), it doesn’t show. These people are well up for it and as Steve Bug tweaks the rhythms relentlessly, the atmosphere is indeed akin to a festival at it’s peak. Sadly this also means the obvious gripes of a) not being able to get to the bar and b) not really being able to get anywhere. It’s a sea of elbows and as the sun goes down things get even more difficult. You can’t help but be impressed though — that this event occurs at all is still a slightly mystifying thing of wonder to me; that it sells out to capacity, with people still queuing to get in an hour from hometime (which is a polite 10pm) is nothing short of incredible.
 
Various Artists — Secretsundaze Volume 1

The founding fathers of Secretsundaze, Giles Smith and James Priestley are also its resident DJs and they have just unleashed their debut mix album under the moniker. Smith’s is the finer of the two discs, plumbing some serious percussive grooves within the deeper end of techno and house, whilst Priestley opts for a more discofied eclectic mixture. Highlights among the tracks include Redshape’s Dog Day, the deep and dirty groove of Einzelkind’s Lumumba and a personal favourite from a few years back, DJ Q’s remix of Counterplan’s 90 Degrees, from Glasgow’s excellent Soma label. Priestley’s disc ends with Feel The Drive by Doctor’s Cat — a real disco-electro gem.
 
These selections are tightly mixed and a decent enough listen, but perhaps lack a cutting edge, a sense of the unexpected. However, this can be forgiven — after all, these guys mainly ply their trade on a Sunday afternoon in the sun, not 4am in a warehouse. Maximum kudos to them and here’s hoping that the end of yet another London venue doesn’t spell the end for an event that deserves it’s fast-growing reputation as an institution.
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