The first ever label showcase in Distort Decay Sustain’s history took place at London’s Village Underground on Friday October 7th.

Label founders Demdike Stare, the highly creative dark ambient and experimental collaboration between Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty, headlined the night, and brought along a selection of diverse, genre-defying talent, all of whom have released work under the DDS imprint.

The remarkable dissimilarity of the night’s performances somehow worked. The transitions from one act to another proved seamless, and the contrasting genres and styles made it all the more compelling. It was amusing to observe how the crowd kept changing noticeably throughout the night – a number of people had come to see a specific artist, and then decided to stay to check out the other acts.

The first show featured Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) fame. The anticipation for his appearance was almost unbearable, and justifiably so. Across a dim stage, O’Malley conjured a thundering cloud of impeccably crafted ambient doom, intensified by atmospheric visual work, creating a sort of meditative ambience for anyone needing a moment for contemplation. Once again he proved that he is, without doubt, the kind of artist you must experience live to fully appreciate.

Stephen O’Malley. Use left and right arrows for more images.

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Micachu struck me as the sort of secret discovery that tends to generate an eclectic fan base. She brought a more danceable mood to the party, playing from the side of the stage which gave the room a relaxed, unpretentious vibe, allowing people to drink and talk to their buddies while enjoying the beats in the background.

micachu
Michachu.

Equiknoxx, the ultra-hot avant-dancehall squad from Jamaica, delivered a superbly entertaining set. Through interacting with the crowd, it was clear they were having a great time. Their elevated positive attitude transferred onto the dance floor which was packed for their energetic set.

Equiknoxx. Use left and right arrows for more images.

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Finally it was time for Demdike Stare to take the stage. The initial disappointment for the lack of visual material disappeared shortly into the show when it became clear that these guys could simply play in a pitch black room without any decorations whatsoever and still be the kings of the night. The duo unleashed force from beginning to end, taking the audience on a captivating musical journey of electronic experimentalism. They played for an hour which flew by way too fast.

Demdike Stare. Use left and right arrows for more images.

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The bill was rounded out by Jon K who closed the night with a techno set.

Jon K.
Jon K.
Jon K.
Jon K.

Overall, the DDS showcase seemed like a great opportunity for people to discover different styles of music they may have not had considered before.

The night was hosted by Baba Yaga’s Hut and was also the opening night of the Clock Strikes 13 season 2016 series of fantastic parties. Catch one of their next events.