[Above image credit – NME]

Set of the Year: Pearson Sound Garage Only Set – London Underground, Glastonbury 2017

Having moved to London fairly recently, 2017 has easily been the year when I was most exposed to the dance music scene. With so many good events on at the same time it was sometimes difficult for me and the mantissa crew to choose where to go, and it is fair to say we all attended more incredible nights than we can count. This made it extremely difficult to pick one as my favourite of the year. Highlights of 2017 include Move D at Oval Space, Joy Orbison at Corsica Studios, DJ Koze at Percolate, Hunee at Pickle Factory and, most recently, Skee Mask at the Waiting Room. However, If I really had to pick one set which was my absolute favourite of the year it would not be one which I saw in the capital, but Pearson Sound’s garage only set, at London Underground at Glastonbury Festival.

This set could only be described in one way, captivating.

Everyone reading this will be familiar with the positive rush, and uncontainable need to dance, you get when a DJ drops a garage tune… which is always a welcome but, sadly, rare surprise amongst techno DJ sets. Pearson Sound though, paid full tribute to this genre by taking the crowd on a garage-education voyage of 2 and a half hours, making it genuinely difficult to step away from the dance floor.

Goes without saying that the Hessle Co-Founder didn’t just provide a great track selection, which in my opinion is harder when dealing with only one genre, but also showcased his sublime mixing skills, with rapid transitions, continuous beat-matching and endless loops to keep the crowd constantly tapping their feet.

The venue also matched the quality of the performance. Set in the Bloc 9 area, London Underground provides a mystical feeling thanks to the overwhelming fog. Because of this, it is basically impossible to locate the DJ and the decks, making you truly get lost in the space. Add a world class sound system to the mix, and you have ticked all the boxes.

Exiting London Underground I couldn’t help thinking that I rarely had that much fun and got so drawn-in during a set, a feeling I could read on the faces of my friends and the people around me. Ultimately, I believe this is the experience a DJ should provide the crowd, and the epitome of dance music. Hence why this gets my vote.

As we were walking out we also caught Steffi b2b with Virginia, with the latter doing live vocals. Not bad for a Sunday morning!

Below are some of the tracks played during the night.

 

Tune of the Year: Bicep – Glue

Bicep have undeniably had one of the fastest rises to fame in dance music of the last few years. Starting with a music blog in 2008, launching their Italo-Disco parties in Corsica Studios, and swiftly progressing with their residency at XOYO in London, the Irish duo are now one of the most sought after electronic acts around, especially since they began playing live sets.

2017 marked the launch of their first album, full of tunes which they had been playing with live for almost an entire year, teasing the crowds without releasing them.

Although this was another near-impossible choice, Glue, from Bicep’s self-titled Album, is my track of the year.

Glue, as the rest of the album, carries a different sound from Bicep’s previous Italo-disco inspired remixes, and for me falls into the trance category. It isn’t an overly complex track, yet is extremely gripping. A short drum segment is repeated throughout the whole tune, feeling almost like a continuous chop and change, synchronised and accompanied by a high-pitched sound. The synth which drops a bit later into the song, and the soft, faded, sample singing “when I’m alone” confer an eerie connotation to Glue, which, personally, can invoke an extrovert or equally introvert experience when listening and dancing to it.

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