Live Transmission: Leon Vynehall & Joy Orbison, Abandon Silence, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool

© Gemma Parker Photography

As Abandon Silence celebrated 7 years on the Liverpool electronic music scene,  The Waveform Transmitter’s Jack Threlfall was on hand to soak in the birthday atmosphere. 

The tapestry of Liverpool’s electronic music scene is woven with such a varied fabric and entrenched so deeply within the cultural consciousness of the city that it is hard not to be overwhelmed by an ubiquitous panorama of musical history.  The central institution of the scene’s portrait is Abandon Silence; it is a party that has defied the frays of time and managed to keep its finger on the musical zeitgeist without compromising on integrity or its hedonistic tendencies. Now with 7 years under its belt, the team behind Abandon Silence celebrated the best part of a decade on the scene at The Invisible Wind Factory with a landmark b2b set from Leon Vynehall and Joy Orbison.

Upon entering the cavernous alter of The Invisible Wind Factory it was clear to see that Andrew Hill and the event’s organisers were a committed band of cultural enterprisers. It was only 11PM but the crowd, already a throbbing throng, were completely awed by the spectacle of abstract projections beamed onto several asymmetric canvases above. The burgeoning sounds of Vynehall and Joy Orbison took on a decidedly neon tact, with bright, resonant chords filling every square inch of the industrial space; quick draw snares tip-toed in the wake of galloping basslines whilst silky caws of “oooo” spread themselves like mercury atop the hungry crowd,  simultaneously soothing and rattling their craniums. It was already apparent, at such and embryonic stage of the night, that this was the seamless melding of two serious and highly complementary record collectors.

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Joy Orbison digging through his record collection // © Gemma Parker Photography

The pairing drove the night forward with a venture into a Detroit dreamland of silky trumpet stabs and cowbell hits. This nod towards a refined and classic house aesthetic with tracks like Derrick Carter’s Winter Crazy Dub Reprise of Dialect’s Sitting in the Sun was something that really set the selectors apart, as their ability to display such a depth of musical knowledge bestowed upon the crowd a virulent desire to launch their limbs in any direction that space allowed them. All the while the continued projections billowing on the monolith canvases above continued to entrance all that happened to look 45 degrees upward. A 3D bronze bust, bearing the Big Brother-esque face of Abandon Silence founder Andrew Hill, rotated on multiple axes; DNA-like mesh structures evolved and morphed with hypnotic purpose and ethereal fog rose and fell.

Pushing the intensity forward – the two DJs were clearly communicating on some mental level unavailable to the rest of the crowd as they levelled a double time hat on the soundscape invigorating the crowd into undiluted rapture. Minutes later, the BPM of the music slowed to a standstill, stopping the dancers like robots running out of battery. An absence of noise filled the room and created a palpable tension. The snap of myriad instruments reclaiming the room from the silence was a special moment, in which the entire room burst with cries of “YES!” and proceeded to dance in unison with those around them.

The tug of war between the two DJs was blissfully strategic. Mortar shell techno rained upon the crowd whilst return volleys of cluster bomb house reverberated around the space, bestowing an infectious bounce upon the crowd. DJ Seinfeld’s Disco Dancer pulsed through the speakers and the resulting effect  seemed to encourage people to sway, jostle, jump and jolt all at the same time.  The ebbs and flows of the marathon b2b began to charge with a growing momentum, the BMP was steadily rising as Tessela‘s With Patsy immersed the mass of bodies into a fully-fledged techno onslaught. The resulting scene was no longer anything like a party – this was now the last days of Rome.

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Leon Vynehall & Joy Orbison // © Gemma Parker Photography

The carefully constructed battle between house and techno raged onwards. Dirty House Crew’s Movin’On and Karizma’s Nuffin’ Else quelled the intensity and lulled the crowd into a momentary sense of grooving security. Seemingly out of nowhere, the familiar sound of Rock the Cashbah neutralised the electronic theme and forced the entire crowd to sing along with a palpable glee.

The evening was drawing to a close, and the punk sensibilities of The Clash had all but exhausted the voice boxes and legs of those in attendance. However, the voluminous pump of New Order’s Blue Monday crept up behind the trickling piano of the Rock the Casbah and signed the night off with a sense of riotous intemperance.


Author: Jack Threlfall

A loquacious disciple of electronic music and the written word.

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