Thursday night (19th of may), the Berlin based dynamic duo, Max Graef and Glenn Astro descend into Dalston’s Dance Tunnel with their blast session of back to back infectious boogie tunes.
Launching their album, The Yard Work Simulator (May 27) on Ninja Tunes, many were here to see the two maverick dj’s present their signature recipe of sun-kissed, wonky jazz-inflected house cuts. With clearcut traces of Madlib and J-Dilla immersed in their own production, this EP characterises the fluid synergy that many attribute to Madlib and Doom’s creative collaboration. A familiar kind of cut and stitch approach to production and lots of crossovers in their musical sensibilities
Entering through the narrow hallway of the Dance tunnel (soon to be an old relic of the Dalston club scene) warm jazzy melodies wafted through the stairwell; inviting and enticing. The narrow dance floor at first modestly populated, later peaked to become awash a mixed bag of art student, Dalstonist, house aficionado and other characters few and far in between. Both Berlin-based producers have been on their grind over the last few months, laying down the groundwork in anticipation for the release. Hooking up with Gottwood, Brownswood and a few others, to cement their brand of mixed up jazz funk, and yet still seeming to have a lot of fun with it.
Live in action, they surfed through a vast array of genres. Interspersing oddities like Balkan beats into the fabric of downtempo progression. Stitching together a tasty medley of flamenco fusions, latin jazz, Digi-funk, disco house. Hip hop cuts alternating between the dancier tunes. Graef and Astro vibed off each other in a way that was effortless, impromptu even. There were small traces of chit-chat, the occasional nod, and hand exchange as dancer’s shoulders swayed, grins fixed on beaming faces. The crowd, contained a mixture those who had attended the PHONICA store lock-in with both Dj’s a few hours before. “It was so packed at Phonica, you should have seen it..” Chris mentioned to me. Despite the heavy session a few hours before, both Dj’s were still on top form. Heads bopped, trainers shuffled, the crowd feeling ecstatic in energy. A couple of groups advanced eagerly, huddling close and hanging on the sides of the DJ booth, trying to catch a better eye of what was being played.
Laying down some joyful cuts of soulful melodies, skits and snippets, Astro and Graef were class acts in their flow, presentation and timing. The crowd was receptive and trusting of the eclectic musical flow, letting the progression happen, knowing that they were in safe hands and that the grooves would be continuous. Of course, there were some prime cuts resonating through the cavernous narrow of Dance Tunnel. A polished quality sound, flowed from the Bespoke Funktion One Sound-System speakers. It was a fine musical rally between the two upcoming connoisseurs who like to keep it old school, and yet throw a few colourful flavours into the mix. Clearly, a vast amount of vinyl digging has worked in their favour. It was night to celebrate their knowledge and finesse.
Make sure to catch them live and locked in at Gottwood this weekend. We look forward to seeing you there.
Words by Leah Abraham