Published Oct 01, 2014Bristol-based producer Matt Preston, best known as Phaeleh, is no stranger to a Funktion-One sound system, having performed at Shambhala 2014 on the newly redesigned Grove stage to great effect, and he brought the same joyous BC electronic music festival vibe to Fortune Sound Club. Following a near-fatal bass attack from Westerly, and the turning of the page by Omnika In Motion, who eased the transition with a fan dance performed by two silky smooth belly dancers, Phaeleh took to the decks. Fortune's Funktion-One was in rare form, producing an unthinkable amount of bass, rattling fillings all the way at the back of the room, but remaining clean and precise, without a hint of distortion despite the discombobulating amplitude.
Phaeleh (pronounced "fella") is a technical producer. His cinematic hybrid style (call it future garage or chillstep, but not to his face) touched on dub, drum and bass, old school breaks and world music, absorbing them into his streamlined aesthetic, with pulsing sine wave bass lines and ethereal vocals. His sublime, hypnotic grooves with snappy percussion and sweet, breathy female vocal samples melded perfectly in the space. You could hear, if not feel, every sound from anywhere in the room.
Clearly made up of Bass Coast and Shambhala devotees, the crowd made the dance floor admirably thick for a Tuesday night, but everyone still had room to move, and they took advantage of it. That's why they came here: to get down. Yet, people were generally respectful of each other's space — even that dude liquid dancing near the back with light gloves.
However, as great as the sound and vibe was, the performance aspect of the set was lacking. Preston had a couple of sloppy mixes early on, but aside from that, every sound was so perfectly balanced throughout that it was difficult to discern exactly what he was doing on the mixer. With not much happening performance-wise, all the loping bass lines and feminine vocals started to run together after a while, the attack of the sine wave levelling out smoothly in its decay. It was mostly a chance to shake tail feathers while listening to Phaeleh's tracks on a good system, but it was an epic system and his tracks are fucking cool, so it worked well enough in the club, though one pines to see him at a festival.