No Nonsense feat. Hernan Cattaneo @ Brown Alley, Melbourne (23/04/10)

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Considering Latin America’s love for all things musical it is somewhat surprising that there have been so few international level DJs to have come out of the region. That said though, those that have made it onto the worldwide circuit are truly a force to be reckoned with. Without doubt the top of the pile, the leader of the South American EDM scene, would have to be the legendary Hernan Cattaneo .

Known for his lush, melodic sound and lauded for his impeccable mixing talents there are very few places that Hernan has not spread his involving music to. It was an opportunity not to be missed when Brown Alley’s recently launched night No Nonsense managed to lock Hernan in for an extended six-hour set.

In support on the night was planned to be Spain’s Mark Marzenit and the UK’s Burnski, however when we arrived at the club just before 12 we were unfortunately informed that Mark Marzenit was unable to make it due to all the recent plane troubles over Europe. Thankfully though Hernan had been able to make the trip out to Australia and with some last minute reshuffles the night was good to go.

On entry to the club it was clear to see that the cooperative organisation of the Sunny and Darkbeat teams had paid dividends, as the layout was perfect. The downstairs floor had been opened for the international star and hung from the ceiling were large cotton drapes on to which were being projected a myriad of colours and shapes giving the room a tripped-out acid quality. The floor was two-thirds full as local stalwart Gavin Keitel wrapped up his two hour warm-up set in preparation for the man himself. Looking around, people were clearly excited at the prospect of spending the night with such a quality craftsmen. The crowd were a friendly group of progressive fanatics dressed for comfort not glamour and raring to get dancing.

When he began, it was clear that he wasn’t going to waste any time getting into it. There was to be no monotonous slow building start here, the Argentinean was intent on making every moment of the journey ahead engaging and musical. From the outset he showed technique and musicality that is missing from so many modern DJ sets. There was no reliance on a laptop or Mac, no screen to hide behind, just beautifully crafted tracks mixed by a master and appreciated by an enthusiastic audience.

Taking a break from the dreamy landscape downstairs we made our way up to the slowly filling Mushroom City loft space which was decked out in mushroom cardboard cut outs. Working the sound system were Brown Alley stalwarts Rollin Connection playing out some deep, bass driven progressive sounds to a small crowd as visuals of animated mosquitoes played out on the screens behind. It may have been a good idea to have more of a distinction in this room, as the sounds were a little similar to downstairs. That said though, it was well worth a listen and we stayed there a while taking in the atmosphere.

In contrast, The Backyard smoking area was bringing together a whole different style and feel. When we entered Ozzie La was dropping some serious funk bombs as he mixed up a wealth of ‘80s-style pop sounds with funky rhythm driven synth tracks and chunky basslines. The slowed down groovy feel worked really well and people were moving along quite nicely. The room wasn’t overcrowded so it made for a good space to chill and enjoy a drink before heading back down to the heart of the club for some more Hernan magic.

When we went back down at about two-am the room was packed out and people were clambering to the front to watch the master. As strong visual displays of pink and white swirls and purple aeroplanes swam round the LCD screens, Hernan kept it all flowing with more tripped out ethereal vocals and melodic sounds playing classics such as MANDY & Booka Shade’s Donut (Gui Boratto remix) and Peter Horrevort’s Bloody Hands (Marc Marzenit Monster remix).

Upstairs about three, the UK’s freshest talent Burnski was entertaining the crowd with his own blend of progressive funk and minimal sounds. Signed to some of the leading labels including Pokerflat and 20/20 Vision among others, Burnski has carved a name for himself as one to watch and there was no doubt that he had some fresh sounds. It was hard to stay away from the main floor though, as the quality was simply exceptional so we made our way back to close off the night.

I couldn’t stay until the end as Fridays are always a killer, but there’s no doubt that Hernan has a skill that few modern DJs possess and it is no wonder that his fans adore him. When we left at four-am, the room was still thundering along and showed no signs of stopping or slowing down. It was a really high quality performance played to a great crowd at a premier venue. Zabiela’s got a lot to live up to next month – the bar has been set very high.

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johnking said on the 27th Apr, 2010

VL, nice vivacity :-)