Words: Dylan McPike
For their final blowout of the year, Headstrong residents Clouds welcomed the immense Ancient Methods to Glasgow’s Art School. The futuristic rave-craze party limits itself to just a few nights each year, reserving their pool of guests for only the most cutting-edge in techno. Few artists fit the ethos of Headstrong quite like Berlin’s Ancient Methods, and there was an air of excitement surrounding this event as one of techno’s finest made the pilgrimage to Glasgow.
Local boys, Clouds, were on warm up duty, although the set they played from 11-1 could have easily been mistaken as the headliner. With the backdrop of vintage Mortal Kombat projected behind them, stirring the unique atmosphere that you only find at Headstrong, Clouds began their set in typical experimental fashion. Their refusal to settle for standard, functional warm up tracks is always admirable, and the early stages of their set didn’t fail to impress.
They started off with an exploration of more atmospheric soundscapes, flirting with soulful, off-kilter groovers and futurist R&B-tinged techno. This was epitomised by their ability to work Zomby’s 'Fly 2' into their set - the vocal sample of which resonated with the crowd in an emotional way.
As the punters began to pile in, Clouds transitioned seamlessly from signature UK-style broken techno to a hard-hitting, industrial onslaught about 20 minutes prior to Ancient Methods taking over. The skill with which they upped the ante to full on, peak time techno cemented their status as one of Scotland’s finest techno exports - their technical ability as DJs cannot be understated.
Monolithic chimes rang out as Ancient Methods began his set, an ominous premonition of the darkness to come. His music has always had a distinctly paganistic element to it, from the artwork on his eponymous label, down to his use of post-punk and darkwave vocals. Indeed, his remix of The Soft Moon’s 'Being' was played early in his set, the tortured vocal of which acted as a call to arms for the dancefloor as the packed Art School prepared for something we all felt was going to be special.
For the next two hours Ancient Methods had the crowd transfixed with relentless, pitch black techno. Impressively mixing with vinyl as well as CDJs, the set felt like a continuously rising atmosphere of intensity, elevating the Glasgow crowd to new levels of pure energy. Codex Empire’s 'Fumifugium' was a peak time highlight with serious attitude, and his own track 'Built On Scars' towards the end of his set prompted quite the reaction from the Headstrong ravers.
This was dark, industrial techno done properly, and looking around a lot of people had that rare expression on their face where you could see it was their first techno night; an almost overwhelmed look of awe. Ancient Methods could barely contain his grin at the end when I asked what he thought of the Glasgow crowd: “fucking awesome”. Once again he asserted himself as a master of his trade, and the dancefloor matched his intensity on what was a fitting close to Headstrong’s season.
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