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Live music review – Recondite

A renovated Club 77 played host to Berlin-based house, techno and acid producer Recondite. At home in the underground basement, the German took the stage right on lockout in front of a crowded 77. It’s a venue that has come and gone in the years, but it’s recently making an attempted revival. In its latest iteration, the club venue feels much larger, having done away with the display cages and sealed DJ booth.

Warming things up from a 9:30 pm open until the 1:30 am kick-off were locals Aaron Robins and BROHN, both playing some typical house to deep house one would regularly find at a S.A.S.H night. After a while of this, the floor lost momentum, with melodic breakdowns and track changes out of nowhere being the most frequent transgressions. None of this was grinding enough to warrant some fresh air, though – just a break on the couches with a beer in anticipation.

Recondite’s set was billed as “live” – but this should always been taken with a grain of salt. The use of “live” here just implies the set will be short and composed of his original content (in contrast to a longer DJ set of probably three hours with varying input).

What “live” did mean for us basement dwellers was an hour-and-a-half-long set of Recondite’s catalogue of tracks from huge international labels such as Ghostly International, Hotflush and Acid Test, as well as recent EPs from Innervisions and the suitably themed Berlin-based label Dystopian. The platform of DJing with his own productions allowed him to do some small edits of his own tracks while completely respecting their intentions and architecture. This “live” show wasn’t going to mindlessly rearrange tracks for the sake of doing something creative live.

Visiting his own take on the old Roland 303 sound in tracks “Felicity” and “Tie In” from his album On Acid, Recondite changed the mood completely when he took control of the Funktion Ones. Perfectly suited to the dark basement, tracks “Cleric” and “EC10” had their eerie melodies floating off the walls, while the deep sub bass seemed to visibly force the crowd to move.

The crowd did thin as it approached 3 am, mainly due to the lockout. Anyone who actually did leave missed the closing few tracks from the most recent Innervisions PSY EP. “Fiery” and “PSY” are a step away from the melancholic house or acid on albums On Acid and Hinterland – instead, they pace further in the direction of degraded Berlin-inspired techno.

It’s always special when a little piece of Berlin makes its way to Sydney, be it Dettmann’s set last month or Len Faki playing just last week. Recondite was no different, treating Sydney to a special set composed entirely of the catalogue of this rising house and techno star. Keep an eye out for more releases on Hotflush and Acid Test this year.

Kyle Redman