He Said/She Said: ENTER.London

Richie Hawtin’s Ibiza clubnight ENTER. at Space is one of the most popular on the White Isle. About to start it’s fourth season in July, he brought the concept back to London, England on Saturday, April 11th for a day party at Wapping’s cavernous Tobacco Dock followed by an afterparty at Studio Spaces. Adam Beyer, Ida Engberg, Paco Osuna, Maya Jane Coles and Hot Since 82 were among the acts supporting Hawtin – Mike Barnard and Ann McManus donned their best black attire to join the day party.

ENTER. regular Paco Osuna injected energy into the room with increasingly pounding beats dished out on the tip of percussive breakdowns.

He Said: “Hawtin’s ENTER.Ibiza easily translated from vast superclub Space to East London’s Tobacco Dock at spring time. Sunshine poured into the atrium of the Grade I listed warehouse through its glass ceiling and gaps in the roof where the smokers were allowed to congregate – given the number of clubbers donning shades, you could well think you were on the Space terrace. Off the atrium were various rooms recreating the ENTER. experience including the Terrace, Mind and famous Sake bar where Hito would grace the decks for the latter half of the day. When we arrived at 4pm, Richie Hawtin had made way for Mind Against following his early set in the Terrace room while Alex Under was midway through his four hour set in Mind. We armed ourselves with drinks and headed straight to Alex Under, but noted there was already a lengthy queue forming for the Main space in the long, narrow car park beneath Tobacco Dock where Whyt Noyz was playing.

“CMYK label boss Alex Under often plays pacy live sets of micro house with hypnotic loops entwining with subtle shifts in bass and tempo, however for the Mind room he was going deep with a progressive sound. There was the same intricate attention to detail with every drop, but he was down tempo, giving the room a chilled mood and perfect for chowing down on food from the street vendors next door. Groups were happily immersing themselves in Mind by chatting with friends while the dancefloor would fill and disperse in regular waves – always the perils of an extended set in one of the smaller rooms at large events. We kept with Alex Under until 6pm, then decided it might be wise to check out the car park where Adam Beyer and Ide Engberg were going back-to-back.

“Exiting Mind, the atrium was throbbing with people basking in the sunshine and milling around between bars and dancefloors, but there was definitely one place few were dropping in and out of: Main. The queuing system to get in made it painfully obvious that the area so popular at Tobacco Dock was seen as the place to be, so we made the executive decision to get involved with the Main crowd once in and go the distance armed with enough drinking tokens to see us through. The early signs weren’t ideal: Beyer and Engberg looked uncomfortable behind the decks together, dropping the frankly bland remix of KLF classic “What Time is Love” by Antidote and never connecting with the crowd. Luckily the low-ceilings with pipes just above our heads and some inspired lighting which looked like shafts of colour shining through a giant spinning ventilation fan behind the decks gave the set an epic feel.

“We weaved to the front toward the end of the Drumcode pair’s set as the flat speakers in use were lacking punch in the middle of the crowd, not helped by being able to hear the general murmur of people talking over the music. While certainly an epic space for a techno party, the car park at Tobacco Dock was lacking in a set of speakers halfway between the front and back sets so the main throng of revellers can still feel the beat and is something that needs to be addressed if the venue owners want to retain its status as a quality day venue. Nevertheless, ENTER. regular Paco Osuna injected energy into the room with increasingly pounding beats dished out on the tip of percussive breakdowns – with a curveball of Breach’s “Jack” – before Hawtin stepped up for the final two hours.

“The Minus boss has been playing a linear sound of late and seemed to be holding back at Tobacco Dock, perhaps with an eye on saving something special for the afterparty round the corner. His set ebbed and flowed with the rolling drums and effects he so loves to toss in before throbbing beats whip you back into the rhythm yet there wasn’t quite the intensity I’d come to expect. Even so, the place was packed until the final synth tone was wound down to nothing. While not the transcendental clubbing experience Hawtin would love us to think it is, ENTER was still a lot of fun.”

Everyone was ready to succumb to the power of Richie’s dose of blacker-than-black, technically-spotless minimal techno.

She Said: “It being a beautiful day, donning all in black in tribute to ENTER. chief Richie Hawtin to go to a daytime warehouse party seemed a little unfitting. However, with a line-up including Adam Beyer, Subb-ann, Ida Engberg, Hot Since 82 and Hawtin himself among many other techno supremes, I took the overly optimistic British attitude that summer was here to stay and I would be missing nothing heading into former shopping-mall-turned-ace-music-venue Tobacco Dock for the afternoon.

“Alex Under welcomed us with comfortingly-deep techno, showing no signs of his already having played for hours. Walking between stages on the upper gallery, revellers were making the most of the sun streaming in through the open top roof. The sun had everyone in a great mood, one indication being the fact that I didn’t once go to the toilet without having made at least a few new friends.

Spotting the queue to get down into ENTER.Main in the car park, we thought best to make a move down early in order to get a good dancing spot for Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg’s b2b. Having fuelled the past few months’ gym sessions with Beyer’s Drumcode podcasts, I had been looking forward to this set for months and I was not alone. The suspense was palpable among the crowd as the duo took stage. The set was consistently varied and generally very good, however it was quite obvious throughout that Beyer was fully responsible and Ida took a backseat making only very minor adjustments. While seeing a DJ as hot as Ida pose on stage is enough for some, I was very disappointed by her lack of effort DJing.

Paco Osuna swooped swiftly in straight after, marking his take over with haunting, owl-like sound effects. He quickly worked to build on the tremendous atmosphere left by Ida and Adam by increasing the bpm and setting off the smoke cannons alongside a series of snares that within 5 minutes moved everyone’s dance energy up to level 9. Richie Hawtin, as expected, was mind-blowing, Paco’s set having provided the ideal build up so that everyone was fully ready to succumb to the power of Richie’s dose of blacker-than-black, technically-spotless minimal techno. We were dropped back out the black hole and hit reality again with a thud as the set drew to a sudden close and like vehicles in slow motion, we manoeuvred back out the car park and into the night.”

She Said by Ann McManus.

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