Review: Project Pablo In Chester

Art & Culture

When I think of Canada I envision the fresh air of the Rockies. The spray of the Niagara Falls and a calming vision of a distant treeline. It’s a place where, like anywhere, everyday problems are faced, but everyone just seems a little more chill about it.

You might suggest that this calming spirit has found its way into its music. Some of the finest house music around is coming from the likes of Vancouver’s Moodhut, 1080p and Jayda G and Montreal’s Project Pablo. There’s something about it that’s so subtly Canadian. Its aqua marine like grooves splashing blues and greens across a disco tinged canvas.

Project Pablo is an artist I have become increasingly fascinated with. He has a very unique way of producing, somehow managing to maintain a ferocious euphoria amongst darkened room experimentation.  His latest release on Ninja Tune’s fantastic Technicolour label is a testament to this, blending minimalistic rhythms with dreamy melodies to create one of the releases of this year already.

Imagine my delight as I discover, on a weekend visit to see my sister in Chester, that’s he’s playing the Live Rooms during my time in the picturesque city. I simply had to go.

The Mango Club are the crew responsible for the booking. It’s headed by a lovely dude called Benito, who also runs nghtwrk, another Chester establishment that should be credited for bringing some of the finest names in dance music to the border of Wales, where a scene is virtually non-existent. Still, it manages to sell out every time there is a gig.

I enter the near pitch black main floor of the Live Rooms at around 23:45 and immediately ask my sister who is playing. She informs me it is a local by the name of Benedikt. We’re off to a good start. The selectors ability to draw his crowd in with a party like atmosphere whilst maintaining an offbeat, curveball like approach is something I’m immediately drawn into and something I make sure to compliment him on later that night.

I nip out for a cigarette while Alex Wilson takes over and enter just as Pablo begins his set. Viewers of the Sugar Mountain Boiler Room live streams will gladly recall the summer grooves that the Montreal selector dished out that day. It was flawless, the pick of the bunch amongst some truly fantastic sets. Here, in a room submerged in darkness, his selections took on a slightly heavier approach, as is to be expected. 

He masterfully and subtly transcended genre, switching from minimal techno to synth heavy house and breaks. A journey through a beautiful nightmare, menacing darkness and uplifting light blending to create an oxymoronic utopia. 

The difference between a producer and a selector couldn’t be any bigger really, but here I could see elements of Pablo’s production techniques filtering into his selections. That closed curtain experimentation combining beautifully with an addictive and never-quenched energy.

For me, he’s one of the finest producers and selectors in dance music. I left that night with a smile on my face. This turned out to be a great trip to Chester.


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