[Dance: The Drop – Oct/Nov] A meditation on the art of chillout + the latest and greatest Canberra club culture

If everything in life has an opposite, a yin to the yang if you like, for electronic dance music it’s chill out music. 

Made with the same instruments (or lack thereof) and sampling techniques, chill music is designed for relaxing and reducing the heart rate. Like its high beats-per-minute counterpart, it’s about creating atmosphere and setting an albeit different vibe. 

A good chill mix can have just as much power as a good danceable DJ set, and throughout rave history the chill space has provided a welcome retreat from the thump-thump-thump of the mainroom. Lounges instead of lasers, if you will.

There are loads of different chilled styles to get into, from ambient to the slowest of house music, sparsely beated atmospheric jungle to psychedelic dub. It’s a total world to explore. Start with Tangerine Dream’s 1974 album Phaedra and go from there (and I won’t go into the full history because that would take a hell of a lot more than this column allows).

But one record you should definitely give a full listen to with your favourite bottle of red or Snoop Dogg’s finest, is the 1990 album Chill Out by The KLF.

The KLF’s Chill Out – the title and cover art says it all, really

The KLF played a special role in the early days of rave and electronic music as it is, but their 45-minute continuous mix of sound is truly something special. They combine weird synth soundscapes with samples of Tuvian throat singing, slide guitar, sheep bleating, a passing train, and snippets of radio from the deep south of the USA with echoed local news reports and even a Baptist preacher. 

It’s odd, it’s weird, but in my opinion is one of the most relaxing and existentially surreal pieces of music ever created. 

So next time you’ve just got back from the club and aren’t quite ready to go to bed, fire up YouTube and seek this one out. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

And now, to peruse and expand upon the events calendar!

My pick for club nights this first weekend would definitely be Australia’s king of breaks, Kid Kenobi,who’ll join the Headz Are Rolling crew at Mr Wolf on Friday, 18 October. Some fantastic locals on the line-up of course, with Dubdeckerbuss, Fourthstate, Boomtze, and Rascal & Tidy

Kid Kenobi returns, set to remember why early 2000s breakbeat was THE shit

The Headz crew won’t be letting up over the month either, with New Zealand’s Coco Bryce playing some tip top jungle on Saturday, 9 November at the Pot Belly in Belconnen, and VIVEK and Fixate at sideway (lower case ‘s’) for a day party on Sunday, 17 November. Put it in your diary!

Mr Wolf has some other sweet spots over the coming weeks too – young Sydney trap and bass music prodigy Badrapper returns to Canberra on Friday, 25 October. His latest mix on triple j was pretty darn heavy, so give this one a go. 

Department of Late Nights takes over the club with Melbourne’s Steve Ward flying up to spin some proper headcaving house and techno tunage on Friday, 1 November. He shall be joined by B-tham (Melbourne), Fourthstate, and T:mo.

Odd Mob is no stranger to Canberra, and will be back at Fiction on the Friday, 18 October, supported by Reubok, Toucan, Harry Howse, and Ryan Layt. Bangers ensured. 

Some other tasty nights announced include Will Clarke (UK) and Matroda (Croatia) on Friday, 25 October for some bassy tech-house on the EDM edge of the sound, while Melbourne’s Will Sparks hits the club on Friday, 1 November

Furthermore at Fiction, some big names have already been announced for early January if you’re in the city over the summer break, with Chris Lake on the Friday, 3 January, and Michael Bibi returning to Fiction the following Saturday evening.

You’d have to be seriously committed to attend all the cool things on offer at sideway, but on the dancey end, first check out It’s A London Thing on Saturday, 19 October for grime and UK garage with some local selectas. 

Monkey Marc and MCs Rider Shafique & Fyah Roiall bring the Vital Sound to sideway

Monkey Marc is bringing his Vital Sound album launch show to the club on Thursday, 24 October, while on Friday, 25 October a new regular Friday DJ residency starts, and this month features a mix of Afro-Latin electro-folk dub from Rafael, Solid Funk, plus party tunes from Maarten Vlot and Jungletronica and experimental esoterica from Horizon Eyes

Canberra House Social take over the room at sideway on Saturday, 9 November, with Budapest’s Route 8 exploring territory between and amongst techno, breakbeat, acid, and slapped out house. Supported by locals Amraks, and Carlyle

And finally from sideway, I reckon give Friday, 22 November a crack – there’s super interesting live group 30/70 coming with their blend of futuristic-jazz afrobeat trip-hop weirdness. Worth checking out!

Hard Attack has a few dates at the The Boardwalk in Belconnen. On Saturday, 19 October the crew celebrate their first birthday with Twisted Melodiez, while Saturday, 16 November features JTS. Lastly, Raveyard – A Halloween Rave is taking place in a secret location in the city on Friday, 1 November – as Pusha T once rapped – “if you know you know!”

Hope you have a chilled one. 

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