Last year may have seen an explosion of noisy, filthy electro courtesy of Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Teenage Bad Girl et al but dance music was also being served up something more subtle by London-based outfit, Echaskech.
Their debut album, Skechbook, married cool ambience, offbeat electronica and more uptempo dancefloor numbers, all laced with melody and emotion.
Consisting of Dom Hoare and Andy Gillham on musical duties and Mach V providing visuals, tonight sees the trio road-testing new material to the friendly, cheery crowd. Theres a definite party feel to proceedings as they have come to the stripped-back yet welcoming Corsica Studios to bid farewell to SoxaN, a club night set up seven years ago by a collective of Big Chill regulars.
A fundamental part of Echaskechs sound comes from their live sets where they try out new ideas and jam off-the-cuff in response to the crowds reaction. So while they may do the majority of work on their laptops it doesnt involve just gawping at the screen, they actually produce a unique live set. This means the new material being showcased tonight may take unplanned twists and turns along the way.
They begin with floating, melodic ambience then gradually gear up, track by track, to mellow electronica before progressing to more bass-heavy, kick-led dance. Grins on faces, the crowd seems to be enjoying it, as does Dom who spins his mic around to capture some of their whooping. Mach Vs visuals thoughtfully follow each track with images that are at times beautiful and at others humourous as he uses everything from scenes of nature to old footage from black and white films.
Having played a set made up entirely of fresh material the encore comes in the form of Skechbook track, Unsynchronised Swimming, which gets twisted into an epic, twisted acid beast laced with samples and drenched in bass and breaks. They even pinch and mix in a part from close musical cousins Orbital which goes down a treat.
While Echaskech may provide a true refuge of the acid house spirit, thats not to say their sound is dated. They take that old school impulsive, energetic ethic and lace it with melody, fun and a contemporary edge. Filthy electro has its place but tonights set arguably offered a much more varied feast for the ears.