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Wednesday 11th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

St John on Bethnal Green, London E2

ELECTRONIC music deserves celebration and with this RPM event — now in its third year — a gathering of international talent in a church does precisely that.

This time round there's a second room in the crypt of St John's church, a move from Soho's St Giles-in-the-Fields venue of previous years, where three DJ collectives perform simultaneous sets in a silent disco on separate channels.

Clubbers are invited to don one of the many headphone sets provided and, much as in an art gallery, the set you hear corresponds to your proximity to each DJ's mixing apparatus.

It's a fabulous addition that runs throughout the event, especially whenever you're in need of a bit of reprieve from the main room which, as last year, is typically intense.

For electronic fans, 22RPM is a wet dream come true as many techno greats perform exclusive British live debuts of their latest albums, all against the backdrop of superb audio-visual effects that have become RPM's trademark.

One of the standouts is Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, who once lived just across the road from the church. His is a surprisingly diminutive and modest presence for someone who delivers such crushingly dark walls of well-wrought noise.

Then there's Bola and Darrell Fitton, who worked with Warp record legends Autechre in their early days, Tangerine Dream's Ulrich Schnauss, Persian producer Ash Koosha and vocalist Derek Piotr.

Last year, the great Plaid performed the headline slot but this time around they play the in-between sets to ensure there's never a dull moment and always some music to enjoy.

The top spot goes to the incredible Icelandic composer, producer and Bjork collaborator Valgeir Sigurosson, who duets with violinist Liam Byrne in one hell of a rendition of latest work Dissonance.

But the icing on the cake is Japanese artist and RPM co-founder Coppe. Three years ago the event started out as 20RPM in celebration of the 20th anniversary of her mango+sweetrice records.

Here she performs her 17th album Milk, showcasing her surrealist jazz vocals backed by an all-new five-piece band. Well done Coppe et al.
Will Stone