A Love Letter To Live Music

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Aphex Twin // Mayfield Depot, Manchester, 2019 – Charity Swales 

Stepping off of Manchester Piccadilly platform armed with half-empty cans of warm piss-tasting lager and anticipation, we make the pilgrimage to Mayfield Depot, a subconscious realm of Manchester’s pulsating heart. The biting Northern air is benign compared to the guerrilla sensory warfare electronic music’s sonic troubadour Aphex Twin is to release tonight. 

The industrial feel of the venue acts like a tabula rasa ready for Richard D. James to paint the scenery of his contorted world. As the warm-up acts ignite sonic ammunition, the dark and cavernous surroundings intensify the primitive combination of pulsing lights, throbbing sound systems and the gargantuan space.

Aphex runs his equipment through delays and filters, culminating into an acid bass-line. So begins the construction of his twisted world as the large screen flits from distorted images of Mancunian cultural icons to intoxicated bodies in the crowd. A synaesthetic deific, Aphex has his audience under his hedonistic anaesthetic, surgically manipulating soundwaves through programmed drum sequences locked around bass lines, manipulated through modified or self-building synths.

One of those “I was there moments”, the set showcased how live music can be a form of hedonistic madness—a momentary escape from university deadlines, 9-5 jobs and petty misdemeanours.

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