The original Big Apple three – Benga, Skream and Artwork – unleash their visionary new Magnetic Man project at Manchester’s Paradise Factory.
It’s hot up here in Tony Wilson’s old office. With the floor heaving, the crowd rocking out.jumpinq, going insane to the futuristic sonics emitting from the crisp Funktion One soundsystem, sweat dripping, beer spilling, the scent of ganja palpable, you get the impression that the venerable, sadly departed Factory Records impresario is looking on from the spirit realm and nodding approvingly.
For herein the venue now known as 112- 116 Princess Street (previously the catchier Paradise Factory), the building that once housed that Manchester institution Factory Records, something special is happening. The two biggest names in dubstep – Skream and Benga – joined by compadre Artwork, are cranking out the real sound ofthe future with a livesetthat’s re-defined parameters of what dance music means in 2008.
If dubstep is rave entropy, the sound of hardcore’s ebullient energy slowed to an infinitesimal crawl, then the performance of this new collaborative project tagged Magnetic Man is something else entirely. Atthe end of the long, narrow loft room, packed to the rafters with Manchester’s bass fiends, a small enclosure houses the trio of innovators . Artwork stands in the middle, presiding over the performance, phalanxed on either side by Skream on his left and Benga to the right. Each is hunched intently over their laptops, working feverishly and each triggering the multi-layered, multi-leveled shards of metallic noise-funk. Complex, snaking, sinuous beats skitter, as sub-bass bombs erupt causing crowd devastation. The floor bows underourweight, and we bounce with abandon, as the floor seems ready to cave in.
This may be a laptop set but it’s unlike any that DJmag has witnessed. Our troika of heroes, all clad in Big Apple I-shirts. seem locked in intense concentration, mopping their brows of sweat, twisting evermore
outlandish rhythms from their machines, speedily conferring, antidpating reactions and working the crowd, as Iron-inspired, neon gridlock patterns are projected on theirfaces, evoking a triumvirate of retro-futurist noise dictators.
Cuts from Benga’s upper echelon classic ‘Diary of an Afro Warrior’ – the techno chord progressions of’Pleasure’, the warping bass sickness of ‘Crunked Up’ – are hyped, predsion-tooled smashers, bubbling with newly forged so nics and FX. When the stressed pigeon coos of ‘Night’ stutter and chop into the mix, the place explodes. Ravers balance on shoulders, shoulders barge, guys and girls unite in the mother of all shock-outs.
But it’s the new material that all three have created as Magnetic Man thattruly surprises. One track in particularseemingly the collision ofthe emotive, alien melodies of Aphex Twin or Squarepusher and one ofSkream’s ruffneck beats – astounds, the perfect collision between techno and garage. And make no mistake, this is an evolution from dubstep. Never content to sit on their laurels, Benga and Skream have always pushed the envelope, tirelessly surging forward with innovative productions, and now, alongside Artwork, they’re moving closer to techno than ever before. It’s transpires that Artwork formerly recorded techno for Fat Cat Records as Grain, and now he’s bringing his tech knowledge to the dubstep table to help hammer out new forms.
On the strength of tonight, their magnetic field will become irresistible before the year is out.
Original Source: DJ Mag