Published Mar 23, 2014With stern black curtains adorning the walls, raised platforms lining the dance floor and no fewer than 6 disco balls perched elegantly in the rafters, the ever-changing space of 99 Sudbury could have been written off as overly kitsch for Saturday's marathon disco voyage. That is, if anyone was actually paying attention to the décor. In the end, the net effect of last night's re-imagining of the venue's modular space was merely a dark glinting backdrop to what might well have been the crowning segment of this year's Foundry series.
Throughout the series, Foundry has consistently given a generous platform to local DJs and producers. Saturday was no different, with Toronto's Members Only duo taking the warm up shift. Tight mixing and an infectious, dance floor-ready selection stirred movement on both sides of the decks, even getting the sparse crowd of early birds to groove.
The duo behind Invisible City Editions, arguably Toronto's most compelling musical export of late, took the middle slot, unabashedly stamping their unique aesthetic on the evening with record after record of raw disco, electro and house from around the globe. Sticking to vinyl throughout, Invisible City toned down the frenetic energy of the previous set and kept it simple, letting their astute selections speak for themselves. Unafraid to let the various intricate synth lines play out, the set was marked by occasional jarring transitions, but the intertwining grooves were undeniable and the swelling crowd responded accordingly, creating a mood that would last the night.
DJ Harvey has been credited with saying "You can't understand the blues until you've had your heart broken by a woman or whatever, and you can't understand my music until you've had group sex on Ecstasy." With no specific comment on the efficacy of this statement, it must be said that his presence stirred by far the most uninhibited and euphoric atmosphere of the series thus far. Playing an ample four-hour set, Harvey exuded the restrained confidence of someone who's been doing this sort of thing for a while.
Moving deftly from long playing '80s space-rock numbers to disco and raw acidy house and back again, Harvey stretched subtle changes of tone over full swathes of his set, alternating between tension and release but never deviating far from the relentless pulsing bass. The reality is that both the staggering depth and the precise presentation of his selections are largely unparalleled, and the sheer energy of the late night crowd reflected that. With Harvey in total control of the densely packed room there was never a still moment. The final weekend has a tough act to follow.
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