Timo's coming! The Maas has roared into town on the 3rd leg of his short Asian tour, which also takes in Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Osaka and Tokyo. It's part of the HK Clubbing 7th anniversary celebrations, co-hosted by Lotion Communications. The Li Hua Restaurant in Lee Theatre Plaza is hosting this bash for the first time. Local support is ably provided by DJ Moretts, a resident at Volar and Jason F who never seems to miss the big name gigs. It's 2330 and no sign of Nick W. so I head upstairs where Derek Wong, the PR for Lotion, sorts out my entry and apologises for asking me to stash my rucksack. (No worries, mate).
Inside, the floor is covered in plastic sheet. There are about 30 people here, some slowly swaying to the sounds of DJ Moretts. Some intricate proggy keys, thumping bass and polyrhythmic drums stutter and clatter, echo and fade around the room. The mixing is near seamless with some deft knob twiddling. The tunes are pitchshifted, phased, interspersed with ambient white noise, twinkly melodies and a sense of sun, sea and Samba squirming within the soundscape. Haven't got a clue what any of the tracks are, What with all the sub categories of music these days, you can make up your own definitions. Is it dub-trance meets progfunk? How about some hard lounge versus chillcore? Nu-electroglam? There are hints of Timo's trademark "dark and wet and squelchy" sounds as well. The first tune I recognise is a remix/splice of Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" which is raptuously received. I'm not sure if it was Moretts or Jason who played the tune. Jason seems quite adept at tailoring his sets to complement the headliner. He was a bit proggier when John "OO" Fleming played here and more breakbeat with The Plump DJ's. Tonight he's a little bit starker and darker than Moretts while veering in and out of the former's template. I've caught up with some old party buddies like Karina and DY. Peter K is here and Kumi, who organises and leads a monthly Drum Jam at The Fringe. She only knew at 2230 that Timo was coming, coz I told her, and she made the 2330 ferry off Lamma.
Timo arrives as a "routine" police check is occurring. There's about 600 or so people inside, by the entrance and along the corridors to the toilets. The ladies queue is about 4 times as long as the gents. Behind the decks, Timo's getting ready and doing some impromptu PR, posing for the grip-n-grins with happy punters. He's got a well-deserved reputation as one of the most friendly and unprentious DJ's on the international circuit. He enjoys bonding with his fans and giving out special CD mixes to a selected few. We met up for a great day out on Lamma when he was last here. Big hugs (aw how sweet!) and he tells me "Bob sends his regards. I knew you'd be here. I asked around and was told you're coming". "Wasn't going to miss this gig, mate", I reply.
Last time, Timo kicked off with "Seven Man Army" by The White Stripes and finished with "Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. This set starts more low-key with hazy electronica and fairly minimal drum and bass melodies. A tune with a chorus of "Don't rush round me" draws applause. There are skittery drum patterns, meshing and colliding, hints of Depeche Mode style new Romantic-electro, a capello choruses floating above the mix. There are nods to early Rave with acid squelches, squiggles and squollops bursting free, amid clusters of pulsing blips and Spinal Tap-esque basslines (as in these go to 11!). I think he may have played some tunes from his recent Mixmag cover mount CD as well. It's a 2 and a half hour Maasterclass in minimalist mixing. He uses both turntables and the 2 CD players to full effect. At one point, a guy in the front row is beging for an autograph. Timo looks at him, and doles out CD's to 4-5 ladies who are surrounding him. The guy looks crestfallen and after a few moments, Timo hands him a CD as well (probably with a sly wink to boot!).
Late in the set, Timo leans over and tells me the next song is his new mix. A cracking version of "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode blasts out and the crowd go wild. Dave, who is Timo's tour manager, introduces himself and we chat affably. He also pours me a vodka-cranberry cocktail. (always a pleasure to help you drink your rider Timo!) and I delegate the reviewing duties to the wacky backstage contingent. Julie S, opines "This rocks my face off" while Carey John Anderson is "having the time of his life" Nice to hear, considering he lives in Florida. Chris wants to say "thanx for rocking the fuck out" while the lovely Kobby is "psyched" Timo winds down his set with a song that has the chorus "if I can be free from the sinner in me" and Jason returns for a second brief set to end the festivities. Top night. Honours are deservedly shared and Timo, don't keep us waitng anoher 3 years for a return bash. You've got a lot of good fans here my friend.
(A random afterthought) Timo has remixed quite a few Depeche Mode tracks. I'd really like to hear his version of DM's 12-inch remix of "Master and Servant" overlaid by the vocal track of "Venus in Furs" by The Velvet Underground - maybe a few whiplash FX and orgasmic squeals spliced in as well. A dark and wet SM remix. How about it? See you next time, Nick.
Review by Nick Lovatt