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Cocoon London at Building Six, 22nd November

Sven Väth returns to East London with his esteemed label, Cocoon.

I had mixed feelings when I heard Cocoon was teaming up with London Warehouse Events to put on an event back here in the UK. OK well mostly just REALLY excited – after all, I'd heard only good things about Sven Väth's previous trips to the Greenwich venue, and this month's line-up included some of techno's finest. But those magical Tuesday mornings in Amnesia had raised the bar to such lofty heights, part of me was worried that Cocoon London wouldn't live up to my high expectations, like a holiday romance that doesn't seem quite so perfect against the humdrum of everyday life.

Despite my apprehensions, first impressions were good. It was my first trip to Building Six, and I quickly saw why Sven had returned again and again. Buried deep in the O2 Arena, the cavernous main room is an impressive sight when you're used to the Capital's usual underground offerings. A deep belly of a dance floor is overlooked by two mezzanine levels, and a caged skywalk stretches across the room below, giving anyone with a head for heights an unparalleled view.

Poker Flat boss Steve Bug was in the thick of his high energy set when we ventured up, and looking down at the mass of moving bodies you could almost see the energy dart across the room as he propelled through a stream of funk-ridden cuts. Not one to plateau, Bug boldly threaded different genres and sounds, the crowd falling in time with the rhythm of Isis Salam's urban groove Nasty Girl, before the funky percussion in Traumer's Hoodlum lead them to more well-trodden, bass-lead techno.

Over in Room 2, having forgone the usual techno DJ attire of black, black, and more black in favour of a rather jazzy shirt, French all-rounder Popof was working the decks with reserved concentration. As we entered, the deep chug of Nick Curly's summer release Hiya Power reverberated around the room, drawing in those exploring the upper floors. His sound far more understated than Bug's, Popof's carefully selected mix of minimal techno and electro worked perfectly in this more modest space.

The crowd thinned as 3am crept nearer, and we too spilled off down the stairs to Room 1 ready for Papa Sven's arrival. After celebrating the big 5-0 last month, we were delighted to find that the German taste-maker was clearly still very much in the mood for celebrating. The usual muted blue and purple artwork had been replaced with an explosion of colour, his name spelt out on the large screens in candy stripe letters.

As ever, his set was a master class in mixing, expertly taking us right across the techno spectrum and back again, from minimal, mechanical sounds like Hernet's My DJ, to the unrelenting acid drill of Josh Wink's addictive hit, Talking To You. The bass flooding from the sound system was intensified with sub bass speakers embedded underfoot, immersing the crowd with every drop.

Extracting ourselves from the throng, we headed up to see the action from above. Sven beamed out at the crowd through every breakdown, clearly enjoying the night as much as his dedicated following. The crowd showed no sign of waning as the end of Sven's three hour stint drew near, as he continued to drop tracks like Benjamin Damage's Up, with its euphoric build ups, and the adrenaline fuelled Drumcode cut, Bergsjon Eternal by Petter B, till the very end.

There may not have been a windowed ceiling for the sun to stream in through and light up the finishing moments like at our beloved Amnesia, (although I don't think London's grey rain clouds would have had quite the same effect), but Building Six does have its own unique charm, and despite the problematic logistics of getting home at 6am, is still definitely one worth making the trip East for. Sven was impeccable as always, and along with his esteemed imprint proved that – I'm pleased to say - this Balearic love affair certainly wasn't just a holiday fling.

WORDS | Joanna Wright PHOTOGRAPHY | Sven Väth Facebook / Indecent


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