22nd Oct @ The Mash House Loft, Edinburgh
Clubbing in Edinburgh can be a notoriously fickle affair. Many of the variables that give Edinburgh its signature charm conspire against a decent club night: a small city full with many old, inadequately soundproofed, yet historically protected buildings; middle class residents who want peace and quiet yet refuse to move to the suburbs; a large population of students, many of whom don’t seem to mind what form of deep house they listen to as long as it’s loud, dark inside, and the night has a trendy theme. Any independent night that enters the scene without a ‘special sauce’ of its own is bound to have a short life span.
Fractal Club appeared out of nowhere this fall, distributing enigmatic flyers with high-quality design, advertising nights especially geared towards those with discerning ears. Word travels quickly around the Old Town, and the club promoters wisely chose to leak information slowly, allowing potential punters room to ask questions and speculate. Their residents were announced to be Hi & Saberhägen, a duo of producers from Glasgow quickly making a name for themselves as top prospects, and E.Wan & Chris G – two Edinburgh Ex-Pats now making waves in the London scene. Their launch night was kept shrouded in mystery, with the special guest DJ announced the morning of the event, and the location just hours before everything kicked off.
The secrecy was not part of some Halloween runaround gimmick. Rather, Fractal Club respectfully gave their enthusiastic audience as little as possible while at the same time avoiding inconvenience. The announcement that Berlin’s Panorama Bar resident Dinky would be doing a three hour set set off tiny lightbulbs above heads, and probably helped pack the place out. The Mash House’s Loft Space was the chosen location, the upstairs room completely redone with twinkling fairy lights, an atmospheric cargo net, and two stacks of formidable speakers blowing waves of air over the heads of happy dancers.
The night was refreshingly free of pretentiousness and snobbery. To add to the good intentions, the booking fees from advanced tickets were donated to the Josh Nolan Foundation, which provides counseling to those who need it. The crowd was polite and the bar within easy reach (if, like this reviewer, you’re participating in Sober October, free soda came as an added bonus), creating a vortex of happy party-goers revolving around the dance floor. Dinky stood on the ground, the decks at waist level, completely integrated with the crowd, occasionally looking up from her decks to smile at the audience. Her mixing was immersive and seamless, with tracks by Tiger & Woods, Move D, and Delphi pushing the sound system to its limits.
If Fractal Club continues to host nights of this quality – which seems likely with a Secretsundaze party at the Caves coming up on 30 December – then the capitol is going to have another contender for dance music excellence, alongside forward-thinking promoters like Overground, Substance, Optimo, and Rhythm Machine.