Report: De School’s De Zomernacht
Last weekend, on Saturday July 2nd, we had a look inside De School’s new recurring ‘De Zomernacht’ special. With near perfect sets from Somewhen and Roi Perez (Ostgut Ton) on the first round – the venue has so-far made a solid start at rekindling the spontaneous spirit of Amsterdam’s fringe nightlife.
For those unfamiliar with De School’s new program ‘De Zomernacht’ – its a summer special that masks the lineup a few days up to the event, in order to catalyze spontaneity vital for a proper party. Alongside the new branding strategy, De School opened a small, new bar in its garden area, and invited the Amsterdam-based visual artist duo Children Of Light to showcase their distinct installation style. For those who have not been to De School – the space is remarkable and the lineup’s are top-notch, but what it lacks is a consistent and vibrant community.
Hence, that’s the very point of developing ‘De Zomernacht’ – an event attempting to establish a new fringe atmosphere that stands on its own from its predecessor – Trouw. With all extreme points of view aside, Saturday night was spectacular – and Somewhen absolutely murdered the floor, launching everyone into a wavy, whimsical state of mind – and allowing me to literally rip my pants at the penile area (yes, this actually happened). The music was so on point that both Tim Hydecker AND Greg Turkington would have agreed on 5 bags of popcorn and two sodas.
From around 1:30am (the time I arrived) until say about 3, Roi Perez set the night off by building the architecture of the party. He did so by gradually increasing the intensity of each track, moving the track’s percussive bite up one timbre at a time, with the occasional (and slightly predictable) melodic break-up track such as Dusky’s Ingrid Is A Hybrid. Its a classic technique of establishing hypnosis with a monotone drive, something Marcel Dettman is greatly renowned for in his DJ sets. Lacking the rawness of what many New York-based artists such as Anthony Parasole or Umfang seem to project in their sets, Roi created an atmosphere that felt rather packaged. On the other hand, perhaps it was a matter of creating structure in order for chaos to ensue. Regardless – it was a mixing job of pure class and quality – and it likely crystalized the illusion of what was to come later in the night.
There was a slight pause during the DJ rotation, but Somewhen immediately picked it back up and threw everything into an unexpected path of late-night delusion. It was a deranged mix with all the latest stylistic trends of dance music combined – a complex puzzle piece. A few examples of tracks dropped: The Prodigy – Voodoo People (see below), Romina Cohn – The Night, Regal – Repeat, and Somewhen – SRX.
At one point he’d be spinning terror acid, then ’90s rave breakbeat, then move into something resembling Soviet outsider techno, then punchy EBM, then to a classic Kraftwerk track, back to acid, etc. rinse and repeat. Around 4 AM was the moment of lunar eclipse, where everyone had been lured into the paradoxical world of Ostgut Ton. As I was moving through this aural tunnel of stylistically diverse selection – the options for my own dancing designs were superfluous.
On top of that, its very rare that I find a DJ who can keep me moving for nearly 5 hours straight at 200% speed. The only others have been Ron Morelli, Rødhåd, Konstantin, and Florian Kupfer – although none of those DJs have ever ripped my pants. Its DJs like this that let you dive into some imagined theatrical alias you can create for yourself for a night and then just go with the flow. Too much curation is boring and predictable when the style becomes established within the institutional paradigm. There is nothing better than flipping out on the floor like a hapless Magikarp, patiently waiting for the DJ’s surprise, and evolving into Gyarados for the thrill of it.
With that said and done, I’ll give De Zomernacht 4/5 stars and a punch in Justin Bieber’s face – because why the fuck not.