Two Tribes: Xplicit and Musika
This article is from 2009.
Henry Northmore checks out two big club events, Xplicit and Musika, that help bring the Festival to a suitably frenzied finale
The closing weekend of the Festival Fringe has become a traditional highlight in Edinburgh’s clubbing calendar. And this year doesn’t disappoint, with dates from Vegas!, Optimo, Tackno, Taste and more across the bank holiday weekend, but it’s two consecutive nights at the HMV Picture House that really stand out due to their impressive and varied roster of guests.
It’s a game of two halves and genres all tied together by sheer quality. Xplicit take over the venue for a Friday night of drum & bass and hip hop beats from London Elektricity, DJ Yoda, The Scratch Perverts and Hervé. On Saturday Musika weigh in with the best in electro, house and techno from Felix da Housecat, Slam, Smokin’ Jo and Japanese Popstars (live).
Xplicit usually specialise in hard drum & bass, but for their festival closing party they have widened their remit for some bass heavy electro from Hervé, liquid drum & bass pioneers London Elektricity (Hospital Records) and the dazzling turntable talent of Scratch Perverts. Not forgetting the enviable cut and paste skills of DJ Yoda (aka Duncan Beiny in real life). ‘I would say that I’m a hip hop DJ, but I don’t really play much rap music,’ explains Yoda. ‘In other words, I mix and scratch, but I play any kind of music that I like, from the more traditional types of club music to country, reggae, TV themes, Indian music, Brazilian music … anything!’
A true child of the hip hop era it’s unsurprising Yoda moved into DJing. ‘I grew up on hip hop, and throughout the whole of the 90s I don’t think I was exposed to a single song with a guitar in. As rap music started to go downhill – around 2000 in my books – I suddenly discovered all these other kinds of music existed.’ It’s this incorporation of seemingly random records, genres and soundbites that makes Yoda’s shows so dynamic and unpredictable.
The following night is just as exciting, with Glasgow techno heroes Slam, underground house from Smokin’ Jo and a live set of ‘stadium rave-tech’ from Japanese Popstars at Musika. All of course headlined by Felix da Housecat (Felix Stallings Jr when not behind the decks). Felix was an electronica early adoopter in his native Chicago. ‘I was doin’ it at 14 years of age. It was called house music then,’ explains Felix via email, ‘so I was born into it. Muzik is muzik but at the end of the day I am an artist that loves makin’ elektronik muzik. Boo! Pow!’
Starting in house alongside contemporaries such as DJ Sneak and DJ Pierre he helped pioneer the electroclash movement with his album Kittenz and Thee Glitz especially the single ‘Silver Screen Shower Scene’ featuring vocals from Miss Kittin. There’s still a stong electro element coupled with deep P-funk grooves and a pop sensibility running though current album He Was King.
‘I usually feed off thee people,’ adds Felix. ‘So I never know what’s gonna go down. I jus’ flow, whenever u plan things too much it never goes accordingly too plan. But I do look forward to rockin’ it out.’
A deliciously enticing double bill to end this year’s Festival.
Xplict, Fri 28 Aug, is followed by Musika, Sat 29 Aug, both at HMV Picture House, Edinburgh.