- Max Graef
Abandon Silence nights at The Kazimier are always atmospheric, but tonight the place drips with a confusing mix of nostalgia and euphoria; it’s both one of their final shows at The Kazimier and their 5th birthday party. Tonight, after five years of spreading the good word, the place is easily sold out for the unbeatable combo of MAX GRAEF and FLOATING POINTS, the sort of sophisticated and hugely respected record selectors who may well not have frequented Liverpool in a pre-Abandon Silence world.
After appetites and barnets are wetted by a sometimes drizzly but always danceable day party in Rat Alley, Max Graef makes the transition from day to night by spinning a woozy, jazz-steeped set in the club’s main room. Back outside, Abandon Silence’s residents spend the night helming the decks and peppering those lucky enough to be crammed into Rat Alley with classics from their last five years, culminating in an ecstatic outing of Julio Bashmore’s Battle For Middle You.
Those brave enough to tear themselves away from this find something genuinely special going on inside. After developing a gentle but insistent thump, Graef’s set bleeds into the start of Floating Points’ (real name Sam Shepherd), with his characteristic round glasses appearing between The Kazimier’s sinewy stacks of Funktion Ones and the imposing folds of a tiny segment of his record collection.
It’s his musicianship that really sets him apart: dance music is undoubtedly going through some sort of renaissance, but with that has come a flood of monochrome, beige sounds – Floating Points is the antithesis of all this. Here he pilots us through decades of music history, flying through soul, jazz, and disco through to acid house and Latin. He somehow ties it all together with that trademark understated, warm groove that makes it feel not so far removed from the soulful house music that he produces himself. That said, this never feels like a spectator sport of fetishising dance-music history; his weaving together of songs is properly immersive and just as danceable as the subtle, pneumatic house music that makes up the rest of his set.
As if his passion for music wasn’t clear enough from his selections, it’s evident from the energy that he sustains for all of his four hours. We’re not talking those portentous flourishes on the treble that some DJs seem to manage with all the self-importance of someone who’s just alchemised Red Stripe and human sweat into liquid gold; instead, it’s the obvious joy and sincerity in his bobbing and grinning his way through his set. If it weren’t for that enthusiasm being mirrored by his rapt audience, we’d go as far as to say that he’s the happiest guy in the room. As it happens, he’s just one of hundreds who leave delirious and knackered, hoping that there’ll be another five years of Abandon Silence nights like these.