The relationship between Detroit techno and one of Singapore's most prolific music institutions, Zouk, goes back a long way. Since Inner City first played at the venue in 1993, both Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May have become regular guests at the club. In 1996, May even played a consecutive three nights across each of the club's three rooms, a set for each night. 2011 brought together Saunderson and May at Zouk for the first time. The date, May 7th, was also a significant one for Singapore. It was the General Elections Polling Day, and a palpable energy was clearly in the air that night.
When we arrived a little past midnight, Zouk resident djb was playing a noticeably adventurous tribal house set, warming the floor nicely. A smooth transition saw Saunderson take control, building a solid base for May to add his individual flair. There's a misconception in Singapore clubland that foreign DJs must play an overly hard or banging set to rock the crowd, but Saunderson and May took the road less travelled.
Photo credit: Franco Toh
Together they delivered a set that was delightfully warm, melodic and full, never letting the energy down. Saunderson teased with loops that never bloomed into full tracks, while May lifted the mix in tangential directions, though remaining absolutely relevant. When classics such as E-Dancer's "World of Deep," Inner City's "Big Fun" or Greg Gow's "The Bridge" came in, each track entered the room so naturally it was almost surreptitious. Perhaps it was the case that the best person to play a track is its creator, but it was also a case that these were the players who created the very genre they were showcasing.
To say that it was a great performance is an understatement. What was originally meant to be a two-hour set stretched into a voluntary four-and-a-half hours, with May finally wrapping things up with Henrik Schwarz's dub of Code 718's "Equinox" at 5:40. Spent and satisfied, the night ended with the floor still respectably filled but forced to go. No doubt, the good feeling was mutual. As Saunderson shared later, "It was the best gig for Hi-Tek Soul to date." He elaborated, "It is always good to play at Zouk. As a venue, it is sonically amazing."
- Published /
Mon / 16 May 2011
- Words /