Review: Ilian Tape Takeover At Corsica Studios

Art & Culture

I’d been looking forward to this night since I first clapped eyes on it via Facebook last month, and decided I’d happily bop along solo if I wasn’t able to recruit a willing dancing partner. Luckily, an open-minded friend of mine had subsequently got in touch to arrange a long-overdue session, so of course, I hastily suggested it. A staunch Drum and Bass fan, I was confident that Ilian Tape’s signature blend of breakbeat-infused techno would be an easy crossover for her.

We arrive early to grab some pre-rave dinner in this weird shipping container cum French restaurant gentrification attempt nearby. After necking a few drinks, we decide to get the night started and make our entrance. Manse has kicked things off in Room 1 and I spot the usual gaggle of Red Stripe-swigging fair-weather types drunkenly fist-pumping in front of the DJ booth.

It’s my mate’s first time at Corsica Studios. She comments on the sound quality of the club admiringly and she’s not wrong; on that front Corsica have things completely on-point. They’re an unfortunately rare breed in that they understand that the music should fundamentally always come first.

Manse was on fine form, starting things with a selection of ceaseless four to the floor rhythms. I glance over at my friend a little apprehensively and wonder if she’s thinking what the fig she has let herself in for. I nod reassuringly and gesture going for a cigarette. At this stage in the night it’s not particularly busy, in or outside. Having previously experienced capacities that rival rush hour on the Central Line here, I was prepared for the worst. Thankfully, it was pleasantly well inhabited throughout the night and powerfully ventilated to boot.

We catch some of Stenny’s set once Room 2 has had a bit of time to fill up. Playing a varied set, he juxtaposes his own heavy-hitting techno productions with some lighter listening fare; skilfully throwing in some ambient house cuts as he occasionally runs from the booth to the dance floor to check the levels.

A bit later, Manse draws his 3-hour set to a close and the crowd pivots to face the former elevated dance platform. Everyone in the room eagerly anticipates the imminent onslaught that is Andrea live. He delivers a serious set full of that deep, post-industrial sound that has engendered the Ilian Tape imprint such a loyal following. Amongst a load of unreleased tracks, a deconstructed live version of his recent remix of Nothus’ ‘Fragments of Loneliness’ provides a particularly memorable moment.

We flit between the two rooms as Ilian label bosses Zenker Brothers and Skee Mask simultaneously play the 3-5am set, before finally settling with Zenker Brothers. They fire on all cylinders, offering a tough set with plenty of blissful, rolling basslines and hypnotically atmospheric interims. By this point, the Red Stripe drinking fist-pumpers are long gone and I’m pleased to see my mate stomping about the vastly available floor space with great enthusiasm. I suggest we check out the Ilian Tape Drum and Bass Allstars set assuming she’d be keen, but she’s adamant to stay firmly alongside her new-found techno-loving peers. As the night draws closer to the end set, we agree we both want to stay until it closes.

Things crank up even more as the elusive Rupcy takes to the stage for his live show. He delivers a relentless end-of-night dose of more abrasive yet emotive tunes, doing fine work in keeping us raving until the bitter end. Gathering our belongings, he concludes his set and we leave with dance-induced lower back pain, but elated – a formidable effort from all involved.

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