Situated underneath one of Elephant & Castle’s new luxury up-and-coming apartment blocks, Corsica Studios fortifies itself (for now) as one of London’s best small club spaces. On Friday night, Tessellate utilised said space with the likes of HNNY from the Hundred Acre Wood and Marcellus Pittman of the mighty Three Chairs.
Following an excellent warm up from Tessellate representatives, Aaron F & Chukwudi – who also run a nice little blog, Dusk Mag – HNNY blazed through with some gorgeous deep house, slowly building up to his blend of colourful, techy, European dance music. Dropping the likes of his edit of Steve Reich, igniting Room 1 with marimba and Moomin’s ‘Loop No. 1’.
Entering peak time, Mr. Pittman took over and brought us into some Detroit house, very swiftly building into some Detroitian laser-gun techno (the best kind). It was, of course, fantastic, and you found yourself sitting in the exact picture of rolling thunder, one imagined in the queue on the way in.
One of the staple attributes of a Detroit DJ is the ability and tenacity to move between genres with great ease and without being too scared of breaking some sort of seamless blend-type mentality; you rarely see this mindset so concomitant in any other areas of the dance music world other than the Motor City. It says a lot about how some people perceive the notion of ‘party’, and how members of the Three Chairs love to bring a party rather than a display of a ‘perfect’ DJ set (whilst ironically, playing the perfect DJ set).
Pittman moved from his peak-time techno into pumping peak-time disco, and it made total musical sense. It was almost as if he had replaced all the elements of a techno track with real instrumentation, disco musicians playing at 130bpm+. Pittman had such an arsenal of long dancefloor fillers, disco and neo-soul alike, giving him ample time to play on his rotary mixer (again, not something more ‘serious’ DJs would hope to get away with). Coming into his encore, he dropped an extended version of Flying Lotus’ Tea Leaf Dancers, bringing us down for the night.
While getting as much of this review down as I could (on a napkin as I ran to Victoria bus station), it dawned on me that there is something about the way Marcellus Pittman cradles his records, and the occasional crippling of his brow, that shows him reliving the history he has with each track. Not simply a man who picked up DJing in his early twenties, but someone who plays because it is part of his heritage. This is why seeing these Detroit guys is always such a cut above many other DJs out there. They bring such a genuine attitude to what they do and it really shows; it’s rather beautiful.