Tag Archives: Substance

Stellar international techno DJ Helena Hauff returns to the Bongo for Easter, Friday 14th Apr

04 April 2017 -

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German taste-maker Helena Hauff, one of the DJs who perhaps singularly sums up a Substance party most, returns to the Bongo, riding high on the wave of multiple standout shows and a BBC Radio 1 residency.  Having received a tremendous reception when she played last year (and recently the cover star of DJ Magazine), the Hamburg spinner is guaranteed to deliver the goods.

Here’s an interview with the woman herself, copy/pasted wholesale from Newcastle’s excellent Crack Magazine.  It’s  a great read and well worth your 10 mins, not least as Ms Hauff comes out with some hilarious comments about her penchant for more doomy, gothic styles….

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Helena Hauff has a thunderstorm inside her.

Sometimes it comes out in tangible ways: a cloud of cigarette smoke, her throaty, thunderous laugh, or the flash of a genuine smile. But mostly, it’s projected in her music; in the hammering techno of her DJ sets; the white hot intensity of her acid and electro; the nocturnal mood of her more sombre productions. There’s a turbulence to her style that would fall apart in the wrong hands, but Helena Hauff knows how to walk the line between disorder and control.

When we meet in her ground-floor apartment on a rainy evening in Hamburg, the city where she was born, Hauff is surrounded by records. The place is flooded with them. There are overflowing stacks all around the living room and in her studio there are crates teetering on top of crates. Hauff looks upon the mess fondly. She seems content with chaos.

“I’ve always loved it when music – especially techno – sounds a bit nasty and a bit raw and unpolished,” Hauff tells me, lighting a cigarette. Visible amongst all the vinyl is her set of analog machines, which she started collecting five or six years ago and with which she produces exclusively — just a Juno-60, a Roland-303, an MPC, and a couple of other classics. “The aesthetic of machines is so appealing to me,” Hauff explains. “People tend to think it’s more like robotics, they think it’s soulless because it doesn’t sound like it’s made by a human being. But I like that concept. It’s almost like the machine comes to life and becomes something with its own soul. I’ve learned to let go of the more analytical part of my brain and just let the machines do their own thing. They have a mind of their own, and I love that.”

There’s also a thrilling spontaneity to Helena Hauff’s DJ sets; something journalists tend to describe as ‘eclecticism’ or ‘unpredictability.’ Her selections range from jarring acid to banging techno with infusions of old school industrial, Dutch electronica, post-punk and EBM. And while she’s maintained an experimental, punk attitude, the past few years have seen Hauff rise to become one of leftfield dance music’s most in-demand artists.

January of this year marked the first show in Hauff’s BBC Radio One residency – a landmark achievement that’s testament to her rapid growth. “It’s more work than I thought it would be,” she admits, “because I want it to be really diverse. I wanted each episode to showcase a different style of music: a bit of house, a bit of techno, sometimes more wavey, or one episode will be all punk.” Her anything-goes approach is carried through in her self-made label Return to Disorder, which she launched in 2015 with an EP from Leicester psych-rock band Children of Leir. “I don’t want to just put out one type of music. Whenever I get something sent to me, if it’s good, I want to release it,” she insists. “I want to return to disorder in the sense that releases don’t necessarily have to make sense together.” It’s with this attitude that Hauff has established a career that so many artists dream of, without having to compromise her integrity.

The story of Helena Hauff’s DJ career begins at Hamburg’s Golden Pudel, a small but legendary portside club renowned for its rough and ready vibe. Hauff discovered the club as a teen and her name is closely associated with the club’s tight-knit family. “When I was younger, I only ever went out to the Pudel. There just wasn’t any other club where I felt at home,” she explains. “Eventually I just got bored with clubbing at some point, around when I started touring. The Pudel was the only place that I never really got bored with.”

The Pudel’s spirit was a perfect match for Hauff’s own; the club famously cherishes its sense of freedom – DJs play whatever and however they want. Hauff affectionately dubs it a “playground”. I read her a quote from fellow Pudel regular Call Super, who claimed that the club is a place where you feel that everyone really listens. “I actually disagree!” she exclaims. “When you play on a Friday, there are loads of young people, lots of tourists, and to be honest, sometimes it feels like they really didn’t care at all. They just want to get drunk and have a good time! But I personally don’t have a problem with that at all. The good thing about Pudel was that half of the people were really into the music, and the other half just didn’t give a shit. It’s not just this elite club where you can only enter if you know everything about electronic music.”

In February 2016, the Pudel closed after a fire destroyed the venue completely. Hauff found out while heading back to her hotel after a gig in France: “People were calling and texting me, ‘The Pudel’s burning, the Pudel’s burning,’” she remembers. “It was at a time when we had fought with the owners of the café upstairs from the club, so a lot of conspiracy theories just popped up immediately. It was a really stressful time.” Hamburg’s music community banded together to raise money for the club’s repairs — Hauff herself played a few benefit events, and added her own homemade cut to the selection of “Save the Pudel” videos on YouTube. The club is set to re-open this year, if all goes well.

© Vitali Gelwich
Jacket: MISBHV

“I was going for bleak Hamburg winter vibes actually,” Hauff laughs. She rolls another cigarette. “I wouldn’t call it ‘dark’ necessarily, because this type of music makes me happy. Even when I do feel sad, for example, I want to listen to the saddest most depressing music in the world. Maybe I feel a bit sadder for a while but then it gets me out of it. It’s like celebrating the sadness… And then it’s over.” She takes a long haul and blows the smoke out, thinking. “Some people think dark music makes you feel horrible and depressed. But you don’t have to be happy. You can be sad, it’s okay. You’ll be happy again tomorrow, it’s just one day.” She laughs — a kind of half-shrug, half-laugh — and leans forward to ash her cigarette.

I wonder if Hauff is into the type of melancholy art or dark poetry or noir films that her productions would suggest. In fact, I am banking on it — I’ve based half my interview questions around it. “I’m not into poetry. I’m not even really into album art, I end up throwing out record sleeves and covers because they take up so much space in my bag!” She does the shrug-laugh again. “They’re heavy to carry around as well. A beautiful cover is nice, but in general I’m not an artwork person.” The cover art for Discreet Desires might suggest otherwise; a grainy, tightly cropped photo of Hauff leaning in, mouth-open, towards a mirror version of herself. It’s alien and slightly erotic, the perfect moment to illustrate the album’s title. Hauff took the photo herself a few years ago when she used to study Fine Arts in university, but it’s a world she’s since grown out of.

“I WOULDN’T CALL IT ‘DARK’ NECESSARILY, BECAUSE THIS TYPE OF MUSIC MAKES ME HAPPY.”

“I’m just not interested in Fine Arts anymore.” She moves a hand as if to wave the idea away. “My professor, Nikola Torke, I really admired her. She told us, ‘Art can be a fucking horrible world. You have no money, no work… I don’t know why you would do this if you didn’t have that need for it.’ And that’s when I realised, I don’t have the need for art. But I have the need for music.”

Hauff’s Fine Arts degree was undertaken alongside a major in Systematic Music Science. When she eventually dropped out of school to pursue music full time, that sensibility transferred over. Where music is concerned, Hauff’s method is logic over poetry, realism over romance. Even her music videos, which at first glance appear to be deeply artful and symbolic, come from a left-brain way of thinking. The video for Discreet Desires track Sworn to Secrecy Part II, for example, is a roughly edited piece that features sinister scientific clips in quick succession: chemical containers, a gloved hand, sallow limbs, and a particularly alarming close-up shot of an eye being rinsed out with water. I’m sure that it’s Hauff’s take on a David Lynch-style short film, but Hauff is all logic in her explanation. “It reminds me a bit of a Luis Buñuel film, but I actually just nicked that video from the CIA,” she confesses. “It’s some kind of educational footage from the fifties that the government put together in case of a gas attack. So I just found it on YouTube and I really liked it so I took it for myself.” She pauses. “Don’t put me in jail for this!”

Outside, the rain comes down in sheets and Hauff gets up to close the window. I wonder if there’s a romantic aspect to working with machines rather than software, like writing a letter with pen and paper. But for Hauff the beauty is all in the technical process. She references The Fall’s frontman Mark E. Smith, a deranged genius to his fans, who once described how writing lyrics on a computer completely altered his way of working. “I feel exactly the same,” Hauff says. “It’s not a romantic idea, but I choose not to use them because it interferes with my creative process.” She shakes her head. “I don’t think about music in an emotional way, music is not therapy, you know? I don’t want to romanticise it like that.”

Hauff’s aversion to modern technology extends beyond music production too. She’s not on any social media. She uses few online resources other than email and SoundCloud (when I ask how she promotes things, she answers simply, “I don’t!”) and she still uses a beat-up old mobile phone. She talks affectionately about the archaic methods of gathering music in her youth, by collecting tracks from CDs she’d borrowed from the library and recording them to cassette tapes. “I think that experience probably made me a DJ, I loved how certain tracks would blend together on the recording,” she says.

“It felt like I was the only one interested in music in my school,” she remembers. “I wasn’t even that deep into it but they all just followed MTV. I listened to that too, don’t get me wrong, but I was really looking for something else. I liked Wu-Tang Clan, Radiohead… I loved Joy Division, Nirvana, The Cure… I remember this television channel where they’d stream the Love Parade and stuff like that. [But] when you feel miserable and you’re a teenager, there’s nothing better to listen to than Nirvana.”

It’s easy to imagine her as an outsider during her teenage years, and I ask if young Hauff was anti-mainstream. She laughs: “Maybe I thought I was at some point! I did feel like an alien at my school sometimes, but not because of the music, that was mostly just because I was a very weird person. The worst part about it was that I wasn’t an alien, I just thought I was. People actually liked me, I think, I just thought they didn’t so I turned my back on them. And there was no need for that, really. At the end of the day, it’s not even important. Just do what the fuck you want!”

It seems as if Helena Hauff will always live by that mentality. For her forthcoming EP, she tells me, she’s moving away from Discreet Desires’ melancholy tendencies back to making that rougher, more acidic music. Outside, the rain has finally stopped but it’s nighttime now, and the sky appears to be endlessly black. I wonder if this new release will take a step away from the darkness of her album. In her usual way, Hauff strips her answer back down to reality: “Proper darkness is a bad place,” she explains, rolling one last cigarette. “The rest is just life.”

Photography: Vitali Gelwich
Styling: Fabiana Vardaro
Hair & Makeup: Gabrielle Theurer

Helena Hauff appears at Sunfall Festival, Brockwell Park, London, 12 August / Helena Hauff appears at Dimensions Festival, Croatia, 30 August – 3 September

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Substance Easter Weekend Special

Helena Hauff (3hr set) (Return To Disorder, Hamburg)
Substance djs

Good Friday, 14 April 2017
The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh
11pm to 4am* (*late license tbc)

Tickets on sale from RA

substance-audio.com

Recognised by the authoritative Resident Advisor to be “one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass”, Substance brings a wide ranging collage of classic and cutting edge underground electronic music to the Bongo.

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Gerald Donald performs Arpanet Scottish live debut at Bongo

24 November 2016 -

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This is the one. Possibly the single most important, living electronic artist in our world – Gerald Donald aka Heinrich Mueller, founding father of Drexciya, Dopplereffekt, Der Zyklus and Elecktroids et al – makes his first ever Edinburgh appearance, with the essential Arpanet concept live show, fusing proto-internet vision and next level futurism. Truly unmissable.

Read RA’s news item here.  And there’s a great Gerald Donald primer on FACT.

Tickets available here and also via Resident Advisor.

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The Substance crew also thought it only right to ask some past guests what their favourite track was. Picks from Ben UFO, Surgeon, Substance aka DJ Pete, DJ Stingray, Rolando, Tessela, Manuel Gonzales, Bleaching Agent, Velocity Funk, Gavin Richardson, Dominic and Adam!  Featuring Arpanet, Drexciya, Japanese Telecom, LAM, Dopplereffekt, Abstract Thought and Der Zyklus:

BEN UFO: Arpanet - Wireless Internet

 SURGEON: Dopplereffekt - Infophysix  TESSELA: Drexciya - Black Sea  DJ STINGRAY: Dopplereffekt - Scientist  JOHN HECKLE: LAM - Balance of Terror EP  DJ ROLANDO: Drexciya - Dr. Blowfin's Experiment (Somewhere in Detroit)  DJ PETE: Arpanet - Illuminated Displays  BLEACHING AGENT: Japanese Telecom - Mounting Yoko  MGUN: Drexciya – Birth of a New Life  VELOCITY FUNK: Arpanet – Infinite Destiny  GAVIN RICHARDSON: Abstract Thought – Hypothetical Situations (Bermuda Triangle & Galactic Rotation!)  DOMMM: Japanese Telecom – Making of Ultraman  ADAM RICHARDSON: Der Zyklus - Formenverwandler 

NB The Soundcloud post below is from 2012.

Donald also released a new album this year under his (collaborative) Der Zyklus alias:

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Ben UFO opens the Bongo’s 20th Birthday festivities at Substance this Friday!

27 September 2016 -
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Copyright Anne Kokalj
From The Courier (Dundee):

The legendary Bongo Club in Edinburgh marks its 20th birthday with a month of celebrations. The party starts on Friday night with a set from one of the world’s best DJs, Ben UFO. Gayle Ritchie finds out more…

Twenty years is a huge milestone for any club to reach these days.

So get on your dancing shoes because the Edinburgh institution that is the Bongo Club is alive and kicking and marking two decades of its commitment to diverse, alternative acts, music and DJs with a month of celebrations.

Despite being forced to move location twice, the club is now firmly rooted on the city’s Cowgate and is as popular as ever.

For those into underground techno parties, Substance – billed as one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass music – is hosting a night to remember this Friday (September 30), with Ben Thomson, aka Ben UFO, on the decks.

As co-founder of Hessle Audio, Ben confounds expectations with his seamless dancefloor heavy sets that encompass everything from hard techno to Afrobeat, house and electro.

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Substance and Ben UFO -get your dancing shoes on! © The Gentleman Amateur

Over the past five years, Ben has built a reputation as one of contemporary dance music’s most daring and wide-ranging selectors, with his keen ear and razor-sharp abilities enabling him to cut between eras, lineages and mixing styles with dazzling ease and fluidity.

Having cut his teeth in early dubstep and drum and bass, his roots lie in UK rave culture – yet his selections cast the net wider, drawing new mutations of this culture into the orbit of house, techno and other global dancefloor sounds.

In clubs, his sets manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, sliding from sidewinding broken rhythms into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or broadsiding you with unexpected tangents, old favourites and bizarre secret weapons.

Ben has come far since broadcasting internet radio from two turntables on his mate’s bedroom floor. As well as holding down a residency at London’s club fairyland, Fabric, he stays busy touring Europe’s festival circuit, while continuing his now-eminent radio show with Hessle Audio on Rinse FM.

Substance’s Adam Richardson is more than just a bit excited about the night.

“Ben is obviously much in demand and we’re delighted to have got him on board to play what is a relatively intimate venue,” he said.

“His eclecticism is fitting for the occasion, the Bongo being a broad church both musically and in the diversity of its crowd. Add to that the biggest and highest spec sound system we have ever worked with, brought in especially for the evening, and you have a pretty unmissable party.”

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Ben UFO – a master of contemporary dance music (Photo: Steve Dykes).

With support from residents Gavin Richardson and Velocity Funk, Friday night is the first of a big run of four parties for Substance up to the end of the year, which includes their 10th birthday on October 28.

Substance has been serving up some of the most thunderous innovators to the capital for ten years so you’re guaranteed a good night out.

The rest of the Bongo Club anniversary month sees everything from grime and UK bass, theatre, funk, spoken word, jazz, hip hop, reggae and rock. Check out www.thebongoclub.co.uk

Tickets for Substance: Ben UFO are available here and here.

Article reproduced from The Courier (Dundee).

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Munich mystery man Skee Mask (Ilian Tape) headlines Substance, Friday 15th April

14 April 2016 -

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Continuing their custom of breaking new ground and introducing the cutting edge of electronic music to Edinburgh, Substance are very excited to be welcoming Munich artist Skee Mask to make his Scottish debut on Friday 15th April.

February’s release of his debut album, Shred, is only the second long-player to have emerged from the Ilian Tape label run in Munich by brothers Marco and Dario Zenker.  Exhibiting a penchant for the classic, Nineties techno sounds of labels such as Warp, Chain Reaction and Counterbalance, Shred combines deep, atmospheric textures with refined dance floor aesthetics.   No wonder the likes of Scuba have been hailing Shred as one of the releases of the year so far, with Skee Mask recently making his UK debut at the finale of Scuba’s XOYO residency in London.

To paraphrase the Ilian Tape website, in his DJ sets Skee Mask aims to create a deep trip, constituted of organic grooves and diverse clang accompaniments: techno, ambient and mostly experimental, forward thinking.  Naturally, we can’t wait!

There’s a good write-up about the new album on Juno.

More info / tix

His recent Boiler Room is well worth a listen, too.  Deep indeed:

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Techno innovator Tessela headlines Substance, Fri 18th Mar

17 March 2016 -

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One of the UK’s most exciting new producers, Tessela brings a DJ set to Substance this Friday 18th March.

The guy known to his mum as Ed Russell set out a bold stall when he released Hackney Parrot via his own Poly Kicks label back in 2013.  Channelling hardcore rave for a new generation, all jungle-style breakbeats, a neatly processed soul sample, swirling synths, dramatic stabs and sub-bass that’s sure to get a rasta’s pulse racing, its energy and production finesse set it apart immediately as one of the records of the year and a bit of a game-changer for the scene ever since.

B-side Helter Skelter was no less frenzied and his releases since then, via Poly Kicks and legendary Belgian imprint R&S (who snapped him up quicker than you could say Outlander, The Vamp, back in 2013) have followed a similar trajectory.  In short, if you like hardcore, rave, bass music or techno, this is for you.

Here’s a great interview Russell did with Pitchfork back in 2013.  This chat with him and his brother, Tom (alias Truss), for RBMA is equally revealing and there are unsurprisingly some great hardcore tunes assembled in this Top 5 for XLR8R.

More info/tix here.

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UK techno star Blawan returns for Substance x Pulse, Fri 27th Nov

19 November 2015 -

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We’re very excited that UK techno producer Blawan is returning to the Bongo on Friday 27th November with a DJ set for the Substance x Pulse head-to-head.

First witnessed when he played Substance’s 6th Birthday at our former venue back in 2012, the Yorkshire-born producer, DJ and sound design buff has become quite the international sensation of late, treating massive festivals all over the world to his exciting brand of punishing beats and moody soundscapes.

Blawan continues to provide evidence that he is currently one of the hottest and most versatile properties on the electronic music circuit. Seemingly rising from nowhere, he first came to prominence with his debut release on Hessle Audio, standing apart from the crowd with his clanking, stepping percussive beats, following it up with the acid-flooded ‘Bohla’ on R&S, its raw, techno-influenced beats championed by DJs such as Surgeon. ‘What You Do with What You Have’ followed and a remix of the Radiohead track “Bloom” helped his popularity grow. He has since become one of the biggest artists in techno, winning over the heads’ hearts with his raw percussion and a nod to the UK’s techno heritage as seen on productions such as ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ (Hinge Finger).

A hardware-only project, Karenn, combining with fellow R&S producer Pariah for some outrageously exciting live shows and dynamic recordings and couple of startling performances on Boiler Room all brought fresh acclaim, cemented when UK pioneer Surgeon joined forces with Blawan for a release on his vinyl-only label (Works the Long Nights) under the guise Trade.

This mix from 2014’s Aquasella Festival in Spain should give you an idea of what to expect from his DJ set at the Bongo.

Blawan @ Aquasella Festival, Spain 2014-08-08 by Core News Uploads on Mixcloud

While his 2012 Boiler Room is unsurprisingly still one of his most popular sets online…

After two stand-out shows with Rodhad and DVS1 earlier this year, Pulse and Substance join forces once again for this event, with respective residents Gavin Richardson and Darrell Harding providing the DJ support.

Tickets

 

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Only a few weeks to go until the Bongo’s Fringe break!

10 June 2015 -

Holidays (700 px)As you may already know, since we moved to our new home underneath George IV Bridge, the terms of our tenancy require us to vacate the premises for the summer months (Sunday 12th July until we reopen on Saturday 5th September this year), so The Underbelly can move in to use the space for the Fringe.

NB Without a venue, we’re unable to run any of our regular nights (or any Fringe events).  We don’t have any control over this, nor do we have any involvement in what happens in the building during this period.  The Underbelly is a completely separate business from The Bongo Club.  It was here first and thus it takes precedence at this time.  Sorry, folks, but ‘them’s the breaks’, to quote an old favourite by hip hop legend Kurtis Blow.

This does mean that things are likely to get pretty bouncy around here, as we get geared up for our enforced leave of absence, not least at Messenger, far-and-away our longest running night (established in 1987 and running at the Bongo since 1996), which is on the final night before we close (Saturday 11th July).  Here’s how their last dance before summer went off last year:

The next few weeks are also likely to be a lot of fun, as people make the most of the final parties of the season from our other residents:

There’s a free party from resident techno dons Substance this Friday 12th June; Saturday 13th is the penultimate Messenger party with MC Ramon Judah; Rally & Broad cap a tremendous season for them early eve on Fri 19th, while bass supremos Electrikal get geared up for a busy summer on the festival circuit later that night; Saturday night party-starters Mumbo Jumbo keeps things bouncing on Sat 20th; soul-jazz and funk boys Four Corners and grime dons Big n Bashy have their last blasts of the trumpet on Fri 26th and Sat 27th respectively, while garage/techno/house party Headset and soul champs Soulsville have their final blow-outs on Fri 3rd and Sat 4th July.

 

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It’s Substance’s 8th Birthday on Halloween and they’re pulling no punches!

07 October 2014 -

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With last year’s anthemic LTTLWLF smash record still ringing in people’s ears and new album Linear S Decoded championed by the likes of Dazed & Confused and Pitchfork, awe-inspiring Swedish techno duo Shxcxchcxsh (Avian) bring a new live set to Substance, with support from Ryan Martin (All Caps) plus resident Gavin Richardson.  Banging.

Shxcxchcxsh (Avian) 

Stream the new album and read the interview on Dazed Digital.  Check out the video for last year’s beast, LTTLWLF, by clicking on the image below.

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Ryan Martin (All Caps)

Martin is behind Glasgow’s up-and-coming All Caps label alongside Bake and Matthew Muir.

Read The Skinny’s feature.

Recognised by the authoritative Resident Advisor to be “one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass”, Substance opens its doors to all for a wide ranging night of classic and cutting edge dance music.

Check out the Facebook Event for more info/audio links etc.

Website

BUY TICKETS

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SUBSTANCE presents Head High (Power House, Berlin): Fri 16th May

13 May 2014 -

 

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We’re massively looking forward to Substance‘s party this Friday, as they welcome Berlin house/techno player, Head High!  Here’s what they have to say about it:

63 parties in and, at last, our man as Rene Pawlowitz – better known to most as Shed – travels in from Berlin for (unbelievably) his Edinburgh debut with a rare performance as Head High, one of his most loved aliases. Expect the visceral, honest, emotive Power House classics alongside choice Pawlowitz cuts as the likes of ShedThe TravellerCraftWaxEQD and Evil Fred, the forthcoming Head High material and loads more. See you down the front.

Recognised by the authoritative Resident Advisor to be “one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass”,Substance opens its doors to all for a wide ranging night of classic and cutting edge music.

Check out the Facebook event for more info / audio links etc.  Book tickets here.

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