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Review: RBMA Presents Altered States With ItaloJohnson & Dj Koze

RBMA Altered States Just Jack, Italo Johnson and Dj Koze on Cone Magazine

The RBMA UK tour in Bristol begins to draw the festivities to a close by teaming up with local party starters Just jack to present a German roster of trio ItaloJohnson & the ever entertaining DJ Koze.

The penultimate leg of the Red Bull Music Academy UK tour, Altered States, turned out to be a reet arty party. Set in Bristol’s prominent gallery and exhibition space, Arnolfini, the event, this time teaming up with fellow good time champs Just Jack, offered Bank Holiday revellers bite for their buck featuring not only sounds by Italo Johnson and DJ Koze, but visuals by Bristol artist Victoria Topping and an ‘interactive exploration of the Amygdala’. The venue filled up with all the enthusiasm an Easter Weekend usually does, with some party goers on their last legs after a fun filled few days with RBMA.

Sound was provided by Funktion 1 Audio X Soundystem, which didn’t quite fill the space enough, but along with the large, open planned room with bare white walls, added to the free party feel. Large scale visuals by graphic designer and illustrator, Victoria Topping, donned the walls in the main room, fading from a 90s rave smiley face to a pineapple, to an Aztec mask, to a Galaxy theme that made the DJs look like like they were in a spaceship with the decks as their control panel, here to take us off to a land far away.

Kicking off the nights musical showcase was ItaloJohnson. The trio got the crowd thumping with their Berlin vibes, dropping iconic house tunes to match the iconic house visuals, their set ranging from techno to deep house and two-step garage. The guys proved their high level of pro when an accidental slip on the power button was effortlessly saved, with only a handful of people noticing.

Next up was DJ Koze, who begun his set with dramatic, atmospheric music then built up the tempo, taking the crowd on a inter dimensional journey. Tying together the theme of the night, he played tracks from his album Amygdala resulting in a roar from the crowd. His house and atmospheric set gave a feeling of unity, as I looked around in the well lit room and caught the eyes of the now sweaty crowd.

The main explorative part of the night, created by Royal Society research fellow, Dr David Glowacki and his crew of Danceroom Spectroscopy experts came in the form of an ‘interactive molecular dynamics experience’. Hosted in the side room, ravers got a feeling of how the atoms and energy of their being reacted within the space. Silhouettes of those participating were projected onto the wall, with more movement inside the space creating more cosmic colours and patterns to flow (like the James Bond intro, but more acid). The molecules of the space were there too, represented as little bouncing balls. I found my self cuddling a Just Jack girl to see how our particles became one and trying to shield myself from passers-by who were stealing bits of me. I left that room with a slight feeling of self realisation that, I imagine, would be similar to the effects of certain narcotics, a feeling that stayed with me as I made my way home.

Though the production value of the night was very much up there, and the venue was certainly inspiring, the poorly serving sound system coupled with the bright lighting made this feel more like an art exhibition than a loose-yourself- club night. However Hats off to the Red Bull Music Academy and Just Jack for another memorable night.


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