RA In Residence rolls on with a trip to one of Europe's most beautiful clubs.
In 2016, RA's In Residence series is celebrating club culture by throwing a month of parties at 12 of the world's best clubs. Clubs are the beating heart of dance music, and these are the venues that keep their local scenes thriving. Week-in, week-out, they open their doors to play the music we love.
Lux Frágil in Lisbon is our home for June. The club has been at the heart of the Portuguese dance music scene since it opened its doors in 1998. It's an incarnation of Frágil, an iconic Lisbon venue that, after opening in 1982, became a magnet for the city's artists, writers, directors and musicians. These days Lux Frágil's reputation extends well beyond Portugal, which isn't surprising when you consider its stunning multi-spaced interior and a booking policy that rivals that of any major nightclub in Europe.
As we settle in for a month at each of the clubs we'll be running features that, through a combination of different media, aim to provide lasting documents of these iconic spaces.
June 03 RA In Residence, Lux Frágil, Lisbon
feat. DJ Funk, L-Vis 1990, DJ Marfox, DJ Nigga Fox, DJ Lilocox & DJ Maboku, Paramida, Andre Cascais
June 09 RA In Residence, Lux Frágil, Lisbon
feat. Seth Troxler, Sassy J, Zé Pedro Moura
June 24 RA In Residence, Lux Frágil, Lisbon
feat. Floorplan, Hunee, Dr. Rubinstein, Dexter Lux, Tiago
June 30 RA In Residence, Lux Frágil, Lisbon
feat. Petre Inspirescu, Barac, Eli Verveine, Rui Vargas, Yen Sung
- 01AddressAv. Infante D. Henrique, Armazém A, Cais da Pedra a Sta Apolónia, 1950-376 Lisboa, Portugal
- 02Building completed1914
- 03Club opened1998
- 06Resident DJsAndré Cascais, Dexter, Leonaldo De Almeida, Nuno Rosa, Rui Vargas, SwitchSt(d)ance, Tiago, Yen Sung, Zé Pedro Moura
- 07Dance floors2
- 08Music policyA nossa vida é toda para diante
Rui Vargas and Pedro Fradique told me that Lux's Funktion-One system has been a key element in building long-term relationships with DJs. Yes, they say, Lux provides comforts like a nice dinner and hotel, but the quality of the experience in the DJ booth and the perception of the sound on the dance floor is what's kept artists coming back.
"The people at Lux are great listeners and ask the right questions," said Chris Hawkes, Funktion-One's representative for Portugal, who designed and finalised both the former and current systems. He told me about the conversation between himself and Lux that led to the first Funktion-One being installed eight years ago. "Their first question was, 'What do we need to do to get the best out of the system?'"
"Our answer to that question was quite expansive, from stuff that normally gets looked over like acoustic treatment, to changing the DJ booth position, which involved removing a wall. Incredibly the management agreed to all these proposals. They also reinstalled the air-conditioning and redecorated. They did this all in just two weeks, an accomplishment I have never seen before or again."
"We had the same Funktion-One system running for eight years and it was beautiful," said Vargas. "We were happy with it. But then last year said Funktion-One said that they have new stuff coming out with a new generation of speakers."
"We were aware that the improvement would need to be felt by all, and not just the specialist ear," said Hawkes. "We changed the double infrahorn to put in BR221's and acquired some new near-field excitement for those in front of the booth while gaining a much more even dispersion of the very low content. We changed the Resolution 5's to Funktion-One's new Evolution 7. These Evos bring in a new openness to the mid-hi frequencies, and the recently upgraded HF's have that magical stardust quality that we are loving. The MC2 audio amps have been replaced with XTA's new APA amplifier, which again has moved the audio experience into a completely new realm."
The results didn't go unnoticed. "People like Dixon or Michael Mayer, who come every year, they were really, really happy," Vargas said. "The difference is huge."
This mix was recorded at Lux's bar on a Friday night. I tried to cut the best hour from an all-night set to make you understand what the vibe can be and the freedom and fun we can have upstairs at the bar. Originally designed for a non-dance environment and more of a chill zone, quickly everyone understood that idea would be mission impossible. Since then the sound and lights have been adapted to the room so you can have both quiet intimate zones and a more predictable dance area. We are nine residents so the sounds will be different through the week, but they'll all be filled with energy and fun!
Our routine on a Saturday night is playing for six hours straight, so it's virtually impossible to sum it up in one hour. I opted to select some early hours welcoming classics and show a glimpse of the dubbier, spaced-out first half of a regular Saturday night. A lot of classics, too. What happens after this is better experienced on the dance floor.