The resurgence of London's electronic music culture
Once one of the homes of the genre, London's electronic scene has suffered through the sanitisation that eventually hits all popular subcultures. As demand grows, the need for more spacious venues forces acts into the light, giving them a bigger potential audience but also threatening that unique, intangible magic that comes from the underground. It's hard to create the same connection when the commercial demands are a more pressing concern than the art. 23rpm organisers Mango + Sweetrice Records & Bit-Phalanx Music counter this by moving away from a soulless superclub location to the less conventional setting of a church for the event, giving the music – and the experience – the reverence and space it deserves.
Explaining the theory behind the festival ahead of 21rpm in 2016, Léight Bit-Phalanx said, “I really like to kind of fuck about a little bit, and have different elements of dance, arthouse, niche, avant-garde – I like kind of fusing that into one gig.”
Having previously played in Soho and Bethnal Green, the festival occupied two rooms at the Mayfair chapel: the main room featured live headliners Murcof and Frank Bretschneider, and the second room with a three-channel silent disco, including a label takeover from FLOAT. Special guest DJ sets from Sutekh, Sofia Ilyas, DF Tram and Si Begg.