Over the past few months Mantissa have attended nights leaning towards the lighter end of the spectrum. A strange fact for a collective who’s interest in the scene was sparked by the likes of Hessle Audio, Livity Sound and Swamp 81 (Boddika days). The need to return to this heavier and unpredictable sound led to my attendance at this night, filled with talent from top to bottom on the Don’t Be Afraid label.


Don’t Be Afraid Event Poster

Arriving at around 11pm , the club was relatively empty. The tough task of setting the tone for the night was left to Jason Wynters, Don’t Be Afraid’s latest signee, followed by rRoxymore. Both played great sets, particular highlights included rRoxymore’s brief cameo of Errorsmith – Cuica Digitales. The middle segment of the evening kicked off with MGUN and Semtek. The label head and label regular played a brilliant back-to-back, playing through breakbeat, ghetto house and techno with ease. Around this time, the club started to fill out more, and the energy of the crowd slowly increase, with much of this being due to preemption of a great night and the DJs delivering on this promise. This was a set of many wanted IDs, however the quality on offer and enjoyment being had, led to the phone remaining in the pocket for the set’s entirety.


Exclusive shot of the Don’t Be Afraid light show, a testament to Mantissa’s expert photography

Without doubt, the best sets of the evening came from Karen Gwyer and Batu. Karen Gwyer, playing live via her Elektron hardware played a range of hypnotic, hard hitting tracks, the highlight of which being the lead single, The Workers Are On Strike from her upcoming album on Don’t Be Afraid. The rapturous applause at the end her set said it all. Batu, playing at peak time showed why he is one of the most respected DJs breaking through. His style of broken, forward thinking techno fit perfectly with the night. Seamless mixing and spot on selections such as Peverelist – Sun Dance capped off a brilliant few hours.

Finally, DJ Bone closed out the final hour or so, setting the tone from the off with his opening track, Terrorize – It’s Just A Feeling. His set was filled with the kind early morning bangers the crowd needed to keep going.

The one room venue was ideal for a label showcase, helping keep the crowd on the same wavelength and creating a greater community feeling. The skill of all DJs was clear from the amount of vinyl on show. This was a night of dark, hard hitting techno, with the odd curveball and little, to no 4/4 in sight. The only downside was the length of sets, which was arguably made up for by the high standard and cohesion throughout the lineup.

Make sure to have a flick through some of the tracks below…

Written by James Acquaye Nortey-Glover

MGUN B2B Semtek
Karen Gwyer
DJ Bone

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