ARK02: Lunar Modular, Afternaut, Bantam Lions, GhostChant, Acrobat, Kepla, JULIAN: Drop the Dumbells, Liverpool


Deep Hedonia present their second showcase of emerging Liverpool EDM, Getintothis’ Robert Alcock finds electrical enlightenment within the frosty environs of Drop the Dumbells.

With its jagged, mathematical properties there has always been something curiously architectural about electronic music.
This renders the venue for Deep Hedonia‘s ARK nights particularly apposite.
Drop the Dumbells on Slater Street is a minimalist, lowly lit space that provides its performers with a backdrop of the most wryly belligerent order: a mural impelling you to ‘Adopt a Snake or Fuck Off’. Super Hans, with his use of Squarepusher CDs as a romantic matching tool, would surely dig the vibe.
Providing a centre of gravity for the city’s burgeoning leftfield EDM activities, the Deep Hedonia collective styles ARK as an ‘Exposition of Liverpool Electronica’. And this notion of a showcase for a scene is no empty rhetoric: ARK02, following last December’s inaugural night, features seven local acts performing over eight hours – and draws a crowd whose passion for the music abounds in toilet-queue conversations.
Afternaut takes to the controls for Deep Hedonia’s ARK
Following on from opener Julian, Afternaut crafts meditative, darkly introspective soundscapes that evoke Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky‘s take on sci-fi cinema.
Hunched over his laptop, Adam Rowley drifts spectral synth lines above glitchy beats and dense, languid minor chords – unleashing music that is in turn both weightless and as heavy as a dip in a mercury bath.
With support slots including Beak>, Walls and Sun Glitters to his name, Rowley is fast emerging as a force moving cosmic electronica on from progenitors such as Autechre.
Bantam Lions generates some kinesis from an audience that is mostly well wrapped-up in preparation for a frankly nippy Dumbells. A returnee from ARK01, Mike Carney radiates warmth by welding juddering dub-inflected rhythms to chiming keyboard loops; before his set mutates via the house-y kick patterns and chunky bass riffs of One to One.
Lunar Modular and their armoury of analogue kit at Drop the Dumbells.
Assembling Lunar Modular‘s battery of analogue kit involves a wiring exercise worthy of work aboard a Mir space station.
What follows is a premium blast of propulsive, downright funky techno from a troika that includes seasoned Liverpool DJ James Rand.
Claustrophobic synth pads, off-beat stabs and even an old-school acid drop feature in a set that further evidences the awesome potential captured on their Charlie recording.
This is music with the potential to size up with such titans as Tiny Reminders-era Two Lone Swordsmen. It demands further exposure.
GhostChant fused guitar and soulful delicacy to stunning effect
Soulful hues colour GhostChant‘s set, which lays down echo-heavy vocal lifts within a delicate two-step envelope. Joe Cornwell‘s oeuvre has a depth that has already secured plaudits for releases such as his Late Night Talks EP, augmented on stage by some live guitar work and a Foals rework that guarantees plenty of blissed-out head nodding.
The night closed with euphorically triumphant sets from Deep Hedonia‘s own Kepla and Acrobat. A next instalment is already in the pipeline. This ARK is preserving some mighty fine musical creatures. And maybe one or two snakes.

Further reading on Getintothis
Getintothis on Afternaut‘s Orbit
Lunar Modular, Afternaut and Bantam Lions in Getintothis‘ Ones to Watch in 2013.