PPG Leeds 1st Birthday w/ Objekt @ Wire 31/05

Sheffield night Pretty Pretty Good (PPG) celebrated a year of taking their parties to a better Yorkshire city on 31st May, booking Objekt for their Leeds 1st birthday to play an all-night-long set at Wire.

Objekt’s music is known for being equally experimental, singular and challenging, adjectives that do not scream out ‘midweek student crowd’. However, the discerning tastes of Leeds’ student body combined with the inexorable fuel of the end of exams meant PPG’s gamble paid off, turning Wire into the sweatbox that was appropriate for Objekt’s selections.

One of the immediately appealing things about Objekt being booked all night was wondering how he would set the tone. Often in Leeds, DJs smooth their way into nights with a bridge between funk to soul to disco to light-hearted house, using the organic feel of these genres to slowly acclimatise the crowd to higher tempos. This was never going to be on the cards for PPG; Objekt’s music is far from organic. While his catalogue varies wildly, a uniting factor in the music he has written is its inhumanity. Each Objekt tune sounds like it could be the mechanical magnum opus of an off-grid AI bot, exploring the creative limitations of their newly designed consciousness.

Resultantly, there was no chance that crunchy disco was going to be on the menu. Instead, Objekt’s downtempo beginnings traced the dots between post-punk influenced chug, deconstructed anti-bangers and new-wave dancehall. One of the finest things about witnessing music mixed together is the context records are playing in making you hear them differently. The sludge of Objekt’s murky chug and celestial anti-bangers meant that whenever he switched to the dancehall, it sounded as if it mutated into something just as unworldly when echoing around Wire’s newly upgraded soundsystem.

The first hour and a half of warmup were sublime because of the breadth and depth of Objekt’s record collection, and his ability to play songs that made you look to the person next you and question if they had ever heard any music like this before. What followed it was amazing because of Objekt’s pure dedication to his craft. The high-achieving UK-born, Berlin resident studied at Oxford, before taking a job at music-tech company Native Instruments. The determination and skill that must have propelled him in these pursuits has been applied to his approach to DJing.

Objekt’s radical use of chops, fades, stops, starts, scratches, filters and layering makes beatmatching two records together appear sterile in comparison. As he peaked with some house, techno and electro selections, the clinical tightness of the mix was a given, meaning he could use the mixer to whip up a frenetic conversation between the records. The best reception was when he mixed out of an unidentified breakbeat garage tune, similar to something heard from Del Garda or Lutz, into his own anthemic Theme From Q. As the organs started to travel across the dancefloor, the number of fists punching toward the ceiling was like nothing I had witnessed before in frequent visits to Wire.

As the night moved on, the selections got progressively harder, until one euphoric breakdown fizzed into some jungle to entirely switch the dancefloor’s focus once again. Objekt’s final stretch again took influence from across the board: mixing jungle with hardcore and even some more jump-up style drum and bass, before slowing into footwork, Stingray-speed electro and ghetto-house, playing a rather questionable dubstep track and bringing the crowd back down to hands-in-the-air house music to finish the night. As the pianos rang out from the speakers and soulful vocals echoed around, a human touch was finally present in his selection, maybe to remind us all that despite so clearly operating on another planet, there is no reason we can’t join him.

John Hardy

(Image: James Reilly Photography)