Escape 56, the party series of Zig Zach, marked its first 2017 show with an impressive line-up headlined by Red Axes, who is making their debut in Singapore. The highly-acclaimed Israeli duo has been making waves in the electronic music scene, with their tracks heavily rinsed by top DJs like Âme. With a supporting cast of Haan, Jonathan Kusuma and Eric Volta, this edition of Escape 56 has morphed into a mini-festival of sorts as it ran for seven hours from 11pm till 6am. There was even a hot-dog stand for those who needed a quick refuel to last the night. This time round, Millian was transformed into an intimate stage embellished with an impressive laser light show.
Haan started the night with a 1-hr set at 11pm. If you noticed, this is his 3rd consecutive weekend appearance in Underground Reactor Reviews and his style surely needs no further introduction. Towards the end of his set, however, Haan showed a softer side to him as Patrice Bäumel’s remix of Cubicolor’s “Dead End Thrills” marked the transition into Jonathan Kusuma’s set. For the uninitiated, Jonathan Kusuma has a track featured on Midland’s BBC Essential Mix, which was also the Essential Mix of 2016. That is certainly no mean feat. Jonathan Kusuma’s set was an interesting mix of tribal, funky beats with occasional vocals and glitchy synths. Disco also seems to be a specialty of Jonathan Kusuma and Benedikt Frey’s “Out Of Here (Roman Flügel’s Cosmic Disco Drama Rework)” was a treat.
Red Axes came on at 130am to a packed dance floor and they picked up from where Jonathan Kusuma left off with an even more eclectic and diverse set. Besides breaking down the barriers between rock and dance music (which they have become known for), the duo was also not afraid to rope in interesting sonic elements such as a Hindi track and weird samples such as tongue-rollings and whistles. Even the tempo was not spared from their experimentation. Playing a 2.5-hr set, Red Axes took off in their last hour with a series of their own tracks and remixes, much to the crowd’s delight. Starting off with their remix of Moscoman’s “Fernandez”, they also played their reworks of Autarkic’s “Rotation Rotation” and Michele Mininni’s “Hyper Martino” among others. There were plenty of hands-in-the-air moments and Red Axes truly delivered as the night’s headliners.
Resuming from the highs of Red Axes’s set was always going to be difficult but Eric Volta was definitely up to the challenge. Beginning with Pink Floyd’s “Welcome To The Machine”, Eric Volta continued with the night’s eclecticism as he closed the night with interesting tracks such as Alien Alien’s psychedelic-house track “Uhura”.
The Escape 56 party series continues to deliver the goods with its line-up curation and event organisation. The next time round, it would be wise to grab the first-release tickets before they sell out! The foray into a cashless system with WAAVE is also commendable for being forward-looking but the app is not perfect and certain kinks will still have to be sorted out. It is nevertheless an exciting glimpse into the future of the underground music scene here.