It’s 9 PM in London. The sun went behind the horizon around 3 hours before. The night sky covered by clouds brings a light drizzle. A normal Sunday night you would say, except for the fact that Tale Of Us are ready to bring the crowd at Printworks on a sonic journey like no other.
Let’s take a step back: Printworks, one of the most iconic super clubs in Europe. Located in the former Harmsworth Quays printing plant, in Rotherhithe, South London, since its opening in 2017, Printworks has become one of the Mecca of European club culture, not only because of its unique location but because of a mix of extremely well-thought sound and video system as well as an impeccable organization and services during the events.
Its unique building made the various stage designs irreproducible elsewhere. The Press Hall, what we can define as the main stage, is a long and tight room enclosed by, on the sides, elevated walkways for a better view. Exactly on the side, another, bigger, environment, used for live acts completes the Press Hall. Printworks’s uniqueness is the absence of bottle services or the so-called VIP areas. To be precious the elevated walkways on the side, request a different ticket and they’re on limited numbers but, to enjoy the full experience, being in the middle of the crowd is the way.
Afterlife weekender in London: Anyma, MRAK, and Tale Of Us
In this incredible setting, Afterlife and Tale Of Us brought their outstanding show to Printworks, for the first time all weekend long. Starting from Friday all the way to Sunday, the Italian duo has turned the London club into their playground. Friday has also been the worldwide premiere of two new shows: Matteo Milleri’s brainchild Anyma presented Genesys an exclusive audio-visual experience that brought the usual clubbing experience to another level.
Surfing between live djing with analog gears and digital instruments, Anyma fused the concept of a normal DJ set with a 360° light show. The massive led wall on its back reproduced the video NFT that Matteo’s developed together with Italian digital artist Alessio De Vecchi. Anyma played all his massive hits, from The Sign to Consciousness including several unreleased tunes and IDs that will compose his upcoming debut album later next year. Matteo closed the incredible show with Anyma’s brand new collaboration with legendary trio RUFUS DU SOL.
For Anyma, art is everything you have around as well as what you wear. For this reason, Matthew M. Williams’ 1017 ALYX 9SM provided a costume made outfit for Matteo made by a black jacket with futuristic inserts on the arms in perfect ALYX’s dystopian style.
If for Matteo’s project bigger is better, Carmine Conte’s new show MRAK: We Don’t Follow follows another path. It’s more intimate and it digs into the deepest human feeling. MRAK surrounded himself with analog gears such as synthesizers, drum machines, and pianos. He was also joined by an incredible vocalist who sang MRAK brand new single, We Don’t Follow. He performed the whole record live, moving seamlessly between his gears as in a sinuous dance.
The artist’s distinct sonic identity is characterized by warmth, emotion, and depth. In a journey without comparison, spine-tingling emotions and meticulously planned logistics are intended to awaken your soul. The cinematic component of MRAK immerses the audience in a full audio experience.
Closing the first of the three-night, Tale of Us brought their sonic journey with an eye on the past. Tale Of Us legacy show retrace the beginning and the music that brought Tale Of Us where they are now. Opening up with the iconic Astral, the duo minutely flowed through the iconic past tunes such as their remixes for Dido or Enya’s Boadicea remix. Not only Tale Of Us’s legacy tunes; the duo delivered Afterlife’s classic as well, including Mathame and Lyke’s now legendary Nothing Around Us.
Afterlife show: Mathame,Kevin de Vries,Agents Of Time,Chris Avantgarde,8KAYS
In the following two days, a number of the label’s most significant artists were received by Afterlife in the Press Halls and Inkwells.
Kicking the show off at Printworks there’s 8KAYS. Iryna Shvydka (aka 8Kays), an artist from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, continues to establish herself as one of the most cherished artists in the melodic house and techno industry. She debuted on Afterlife with the recent Morning After the Rave, part of Unity Pt. 3 compilation. Fusing together raw and industrial percussions with hypnotic synth lines, 8KAYS heat up the dancefloor since the first opening hours.
Afterlife at Printworks 2022 saw a debut as well. London-based and German-born, Chris Avantgarde makes his long-awaited first appearance on an Afterlife show. Having teamed up with Anyma on the now worldwide hit, Consciusness, he is also part of Tale Of Us brand new intro, Eternity. He’s a polyhedric artist who, not only creates outstanding music under his alias and for his imprint VNTGRD, but he also scored soundtracks for films, trailers & video games.
Long-time Afterlife’s friends, Agents Of Time made their return to Afterlife Printworks as well. Their rich variety of sounds throws the more dancefloor-focused tracks into even starker relief. They’re more decisive, and streamlined, yet rich with detail, chugging, Moroder-esque bass that meets strobe-lit synths, firing melodies out into the firmament. Their live performance has a deep texture yet still has breathing. You want to reach out and touch their sounds, and their tunes are so alluring that you can’t get them out of your head.
Kevin de Vries makes his grand return to Afterlife at Printworks, floating between his melodic techno signature sound and more raw and industrial elements. A stadium-sized piece of cinematic techno with a dramatic sound arc that is actually goosebump-inducing may be summed up as Kevin’s DJ set. Kevin de Vries’ performance combined euphoric, peak-time efforts with upbeat, breakbeat records, stirring elements, and forward motion.
After a long hiatus from Afterlife’s parties, Mathame made their big return at Printworks. Forget about the guys of Nothing Around Us. The two brothers now have evolved their sound: Mathame expertly resolve their cinematic and expressive style with a halting crescendo, generating a purposeful sense of tension that alludes to the strained sentiments of the difference between the human and divine realms. They premiered the brand new single So What, a stark contrast to their mystically intimate and romantic recent releases. The brother’s dynamic, with Amedeo being the reserved and brooding yin to Matteo’s hopeful yang, reflects the dichotomy of their sound.
The Afterlife 2022 show at Printworks London showcased another way to produce a club night. Fusing together the experience from the dark Berlin club with the massive production of some months ago arena show in Amsterdam, Tale Of Us team has reached peaks that nobody in the techno industry has yet achieved. The duo has been able to deliver a rainbow of emotions to the crowd, spacing from melancholy, euphoria, joy, sorrow, and a myriad of other emotive states.
With such huge production, we hear more and more frequently that without it, Afterlife and Tale Of Us won’t be where they are, that music is now put on the back burner and everything has become more mainstream than ever, with an increasingly accentuated focus on what you see instead of what you hear.
This could be the most short-sighted view of the evolution of the Afterlife project. Visuals have surely become an important part of the show but we can’t forget that everything started with the music. People asking for IDs in online communities, techno records that pile up several million Spotify streams, and Tale Of Us DJ sets that reached the top of the most viewed tracklists on 1001Tracklists proved, once again, that it’s still all about the music.
Tale Of Us and Afterlife are set to return this January to Zamna Tulum for another incredible experience in the jungle.