Maria Paradinas reviews Crack Magazine’s much-anticipated takeover of Motion.
In early December thousands descended upon Motion for what has been dubbed the most highly anticipated club event of 2017. Crack Magazine’s takeover produced sets from some of the most high profile and sought after names in dance music right now. World–renowned artists such as Moodymann, Hunee and Ben UFO were among them, but most exciting of all were the women producers and DJs making waves in techno and electro, and carving out a space for women in the male-dominated sub-culture.
As I first entered the building the energy was palpable. Aroused presumably by a blend of clamorous fervour and narcotics, the swelling crowd flocked around the venue. Flocked, perhaps, being the active word as it necessitated a sort of farmyard-club politics: the system of being herded like cattle and battery-farmed like hens. Nevertheless, this discomfort was completely ameliorated by the refreshingly eclectic and unfalteringly high-quality sets offered.
Berghain’s resident DJ Tama Sumo and Bristol’s own Daisy Moon spun discs, assuredly insisting that this is not just a man’s game. Tama Sumo, an openly lesbian activist who has criticised the lack of female DJs being booked for mainstream club nights, brought a blend of house and sultry soulful vocals that inflected a bit of funk on techno.
Helena Hauff played her signature brand of severe but enchanting electro and techno in room two. Seductively resolute and directly hard-hitting, Hamburg-based Hauff’s electrifying selection served a delectable mixed assortment of upbeat tracks that were rapturously indulged in by all. At times industrial, at times intergalactic, she interweaved sounds with an elegant conviction that marked her set as otherworldly. There is a kind of truth in that unvarnished severity of her sound that appeared to resonate with everyone. It aligned itself with a subconscious undercurrent in us and shook it violently from its dormancy; as the crowd revelled in ecstasy they confirmed Hauff’s genius. The authenticity of her trademark style seems to be a result of her uncompromising attitude in regard to her artistic vision – it’s clear that she plays exactly what she wants. The resolution in her craft is inspiring not only in itself, but also as it comes from a woman.
Wired Magazine discovered that women are especially underrepresented in the electronic and dance music scene. In 2016 women made up only 13% of the Dimensions Festival line-up, and according to THUMP in the same year, women, transgender and non-binary people made up 17% of headliners at electronic music festivals worldwide. Women producers and DJs often face being condescended and infuriatingly mansplained to, having to prove their worth much more than the men in their field.
Crack Magazine’s night showcased and celebrated the talent of women DJs and producers. None of them were women of colour, and they were greatly outnumbered by men (more than 2:1), but the slowly growing visibility of women in this field is sure to catalyse further change. Be it by putting pressure on clubs and festivals to book more women, or inspiring more to DJ and produce music, women in dance music are reshaping the landscape.
Collage by Maria Paradinas.