Various Artists - Live At Nature One 2008, mixed by Chris Liebing
Fri 13th Feb, 2009 Music Reviews 2012 viewsin
So Chris Liebing has come and gone again, leaving another trail of gushing fanbois in his wake. If you missed his gigs this weekend, as I did while roasting at Playground, then at least there’s the small grace of this slamming live set that will allow you to drown out said fanboi gushing. Trust me, it’s working so far.
Nature One is 3-day dance festival in Germany, 60,000 people camping and raving to the world’s biggest DJs. In 2008 Tiesto, Armin, and PvD were all there, but the lineup is dominated by techno acts. Last year, Liebing was one of a glut of acts from nearby Frankfurt, a cavalcade of names bearing testament to Frankfurt’s role in the history of dance music (it was Berlin before Berlin was Berlin, don’t you know). Väth, Heil, Rother, the sort of names that give you that stirring in your loins – admit it, you’re a little moist.
And I’m not afraid to admit it – the news that Chris Liebing was releasing a recording of his set at Nature One made me more than a little moist. This is a live CD in the proper sense, delivered in the inimitable style of a man well known for playing some of the toughest techno whilst being one of the nicest guys in the game. In fact, Liebing addresses listeners in the sleeve notes, sheepishly apologising “The track IDs on this Mix CD may not really make sense at times, due to the fact that my mixing is a bit chaotic and all over the place… :)” Oh Chris. You had me at :)
There’s no need to apologise, because to be fair, this rough and ready sound is the precise reason people will get excited about this release. Liebing is a delicious throwback to the good old days of dark warehouses and pounding techno. To be fair, his style has been tempered by time, he is not immune to the spread of minimalism, and we have slowed down a lot since the golden years of the Stigmata series.
But there’s a lot of old fogeys out there that will be giggling like little schoolgirls as they prepare a nice hot cocoa, put the mix on the gramophone, and get ready to have their ears blasted apart. Well grandpa, ‘blasting’ is perhaps too strong a word for a mix which shares two tracks with Papa Sven’s Ninth Season – the Cirez D mix of Total Departure which is positively melodic compared to the original, and a remix of Grindhouse, albeit not the overplayed and quite frankly boring Dubfire edit.
However, older listeners won’t be disappointed if they’ve mellowed along with Liebing, because the CD bears his unmistakable signature (literally too, on the poster bundled with the album). The mixing is not perfect, nor the programming, but it’s not meant to be. This is techno for the Ableton generation, but not borne of it. With the first kick of the bass drum you can instantly imagine Liebing presiding over the Nature One crowd, nodding his head and smiling from ear to ear, surveying the carnage he is causing in the arena.
If you’ve ever been to the Church of Liebing, you’ll know what I mean. This man takes hard techno and turns it into a joyous rapture. He’s been doing that at Nature One since 1999, whatever form hard techno has taken in that time. Some things change, others stay the same – Chris Liebing is a man that still deserves any true techno fan’s full attention.