For all the new house nights that have arrived in Edinburgh over the last year, Musika remains the big ticket draw. Regular headliners have been a small, elite circle of hugely popular acts—2manydjs, John Digweed, Sasha and Seth Troxler, to name a few—but such a selective booking policy has drawn the not entirely unfair accusation that they've played it safe more often than not. And that's what made their second party of 2013 such a surprise—Maceo Plex, another marquee DJ and past guest at Musika, doesn't often share flyer space with Hessle Audio co-founders Ben UFO and Pearson Sound. The addition of Huxley, whose early set had rendered the main room almost impassable by midnight, rounded off one of Musika's more adventurous offerings.
On a normal night, hearing two of last year's most ubiquitous anthems—George Fitzgerald's "Like A Child" and Huxley's own "Let Me Go"—by 1 AM might have drawn some eye-rolling, but in truth Huxley's bold selections seemed to be a response of sorts to a crowd that looked like they'd peaked already—for a spell, the leather benches on the periphery were almost as busy as the adjacent bar.
Beyond the venue's large outdoor smoking area was the Annexe, an auxiliary space where Pearson Sound played to what was probably his smallest crowd in a good while. Swaying without much conviction to a medley of Trax-era acid house and fidgety grime tunes, the crowd awoke a little from their stupor at the onset of Joy O's "BRTHDTT," as its womp-womp bassline beckoned stragglers from the smoking area, the proximity of which did the atmosphere in the Annexe no favours. Ben UFO's arrival hardly made this space feel less peripheral—a great shame, given that many of the night's highlights were found during his modestly-attended set. Brought together by his intuitive sense of texture and pacing, Pearson Sound's skeletal, spiralling "Wad" and the bittersweet bump of Terrence Parker and Claude Young's The 4 Play EP felt right at home alongside each other.
Back in the main room, Maceo Plex held a near-monopoly not only on the dancers, but on the quality of production too—while the Annexe looked, at times, like a poorly-lit school disco, a digitally-mapped Musika logo and other opulent flourishes complemented the night's true headliner. While a lineup of this quality should be applauded, it also felt like a missed opportunity—a lack of parity between the two rooms made Ben UFO and Pearson Sound feel like an afterthought.