Review: Interstellar feat. Xhin

24/03/2017

The local calendar shows no signs of slowing down as it was another packed weekend with Kirk Degiorgio and Fragrant Harbour Soundsystem in town.  This week, Underground Reactor goes to our second Interstellar outing at the expense of the aforementioned events. The reason is of course none other than Xhin. With an upcoming EP on Midnight Shift (sneaks here) and European tour, it is already looking like a busy 2017 for him.

3HM was the opening act for the night. However, with a District event running simultaneously at the terrace, our attention was diverted to the quality music by Deen and Shane O’Neill. Although they were separate events, it felt like two different stages in the same club and we were eventually free to roam late in the morning, with Yazyd and Tye West playing the later sets. The potential of what Millian could be continues to surprise. Two stages are par for the course in many clubs, even in our region (see Savage in Hanoi). The variety of choice is a huge plus for attendees and the next step here is to grow the pie of listeners and partygoers to fill the stages.

Xhin was slated to play a 4hr set, an exciting draw itself given the short set times in Singapore. The lengthy set time meant that he had much more freedom to construct a musical journey compared to his last DJ set here in July last year at CATO and it showed. In addition to dropping N2 from his recent self-released album under the moniker NIHX, Xhin also embellished his signature techno sound with variety, such as Depeche Mode’s Behind The Wheel and DJ Pedro’s Funk All Star. Cycling between IDM, industrial techno, house and even funk,  Xhin opted for several mini arcs rather than a grand storyline. While transitioning between these genres alone can be daunting for some, Xhin goes one up by layering them and using the volume knobs as a killswitch. This is nothing new if you have listened to his sets before but this trick does not grow old and Xhin employed them to near perfection.

Xhin’s set was undoubtedly top-drawer. The venue set-up could have been better done though. With Answer Code Request and Red Axes sets at Millian still fresh in our memories, having the DJ booth on the same level as the crowd is crucial for engagement in a small club venue. Light shows also work both ways. When the floor is filled, they are a sight to behold. When it isn’t, they expose the bare spaces and make the floor less inviting. We would have been content with just the projection, which was excellent by the way. Perhaps things will be better the next time round?

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