Suxul Showcase @ Raum, Barcelona

Beat Factor was first alerted to the presence of Suxul (a music, fashion and art programme from Germany) thanks to the rather special 'Fancy EP' by Sugar Jim Jr and Elmar Schubert, complete with a stunning remix from the electronic master that is Jon Tejada. So when the team arrived in Barcelona to cover Sonar 2006 and came across the brightly coloured flyer for their Sonar week Suxul showcase it didn't require too much persuasion to drop off our luggage and head straight to one of Barcelona's many understated but vibrant club spaces - Raum.

Further examination of the showcase schedule revealed an original and refreshing line up that combined the new school Detroit drenched soul of Sonar Kollektiv's immensely talented Ame, and one of Detroit's finest exports - DJ Rolando. In a week characterised by international music and sound experimentation spread across countless parties and nights, and during Sonar itself, the Suxul music team had managed to quietly prepare one of the most intriguing musical directions on offer.

Upon arrival the basement space contained only a scattering of people, all of whom were enjoying the deep grooves of Jon Tejada's 'Sucre' and Agoria's beautiful 'Les Beaux Jours' regardless. Suxul's main protagonists, Sugar Jim Jr and Elmar Schubert, effectively communicated their label sound despite some shaky mixing and the inclusion of several trance inspired riffs. As their sets progressed Raum began to swell with an interesting mix of music enthusiasts, passing tourists and some overly energetic club kids who even managed to dance like men possessed during times of restrained breakdowns and down tempo beats. The sense of anticipation increased throughout the enclosed dancefloor area as Ame took to the decks. Ame (suitably the French word for 'soul') hail from Baden in West Germany and normally consist of Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer. Tonight, however, the duo had been reduced to just one - although the ability to combine Detroit rhythms, deep house and modern minimalist techniques continued to shine. The next 3 hours bought some of the best soul filled, deeply musical house and techno that confirmed not only Ame's adept understanding of inspired and groovy rhythms but also their capacity to impressively build a set that ebbed and flowed with elegance and feeling. A few mixes were out of synch but the overall quality of the music managed to over ride any technical issues. Key tracks included Ame's own compositions, in the shape of their remix of 'Insomnia' by Rodamaal on Buzzin' Fly and the modern classic 'Rej' on Sonar Kollektiv. On the evidence of tonight's performance it will come as no surprise when Ame make just as big an impression on the DJ circuit this year as they have in the world of techno production since 2003. Wiedemann and Beyer have been lined up for an essential mix slot in July, exposure that should also add to Ame's growing standing in electronic music.

It would have been hard for any ordinary DJ to top the showcase set from Ame - but luckily for everyone at Raum DJ Rolando is anything but ordinary. Taking to the decks in trademark head down and lightning quick technique, the designer of 'Jaguar' sequenced a blisteringly fast paced and musically funky techno set. Predominantly playing on vinyl and a few CD's Rolando engineered a 3-deck set that moved the packed dancefloor throughout. In the long tradition of Motor City techno sets Rolando rarely played full records, instead preferring to cut and slice components from various sources - in the process creating a layered mixture of high quality grooves. Highlights of the set included Theo Parrish's sublime 'Falling Up' remixed by Carl Craig, blended flawlessly into Funk D' Void's heavenly 'Diabla'. Despite Rolando's shy demeanour behind the decks he still managed to demonstrate defined moments that reflected his quirky personality alongside the serious business of delivering powerful techno. Lars Sandberg (aka Funk D' Void) made a brief appearance in the DJ booth and after shaking hands with Underground Resistance's front line soldier - got a nice surprise with the quick introduction of his creation 'Diabla' to rapturous response. Further surprises involved a rather camp techno mix of Byron Stingley. Things got progressively harder towards the end with the slamming Ben Sims mix of Inner City's 'Goodlife' still ringing through Beat Factor's mind as we finally ejected from the club.

What started off as nice warm up to Sonar actually evolved into the highlight of the week - a night that contained the best DJ sets seen all week. On reflection this is quite an achievement given the quality on display during Sonar 2006. Ame was perhaps the biggest surprise. Being familiar with their productions did not prepare us for the soulful dynamics of their DJ sound, a unique combination of musical textures and dancefloor-designed techno. Ame are without doubt an act to look out for in the future. Rolando, unsurprisingly, once again proved his undoubted talent as a DJ. He may not be as famous or as in demand as some of Detroit's other main DJ exports but he is certainly just as proficient when it comes to moving a crowd. The night was a success for Suxul also. Not only did they present two different but extremely good acts in one night, but they also managed to demonstrate what they represent musically - as well as understanding how to throw a great party. Everyone at Beat Factor are excited to hear more from the label soon, and can't wait for their next showcase.

For more information on Suxul visit www.suxul.com

To hear from Ame visit www.sonarkollektiv.de

Suxul Showcase @ Raum, Barcelona
PUBLISHED

July 6, 2006 at 10:43 PM CEST

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