Sven Vath @ Boiler Room Berlin

It seems like everyone has a ‘must-watch’ Boiler Room set this year. No surprise really – the crew has excellent taste. From Disclosure to Daedelus to Apparat, pretty much everyone that came on the show played an unforgettable set. There were a ton of great tunes to hear, techniques to watch, and lessons to be learned, and arguably the most impressive display of all three of these things was done by the legendary Sven Vath.

For those unfamiliar, Sven Vath has been a huge force in dance music since the start of his career in 1982. He was one of the very first DJs to play trance records (nothing like today’s trance, mind you), and has released a huge volume of work ranging from hard techno to calmer, almost ambient dance pieces. He is without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking and influential DJs of all time, so it’s no surprise his Boiler Room set was the best I’ve heard all year.

It seems like modern dance audiences are a bit confused. They look for the same structure in any dance track – build, drop, repeat. This goes on and on and on, and most DJs are devolving into this simplistic view of a set. Sven Vath’s set is the embodiment of a proper DJ set. It takes you on a journey, through peaks and valleys and through the mind of the DJ. It is a true interaction with the records, mixer, DJ, and crowd, and it’s an incredibly special thing to watch.

He start’s out with a track from Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes, a completely unexpected choice from such a dance oriented DJ. As soon as he mixes out, however, the move becomes clear. the set starts off with this sort-of ambient trance/techno I mentioned earlier, ranging from clear, sultry, hypnotizing female vocals to bitcrushed, repeating mantras. He has this uncanny ability to keep energy very high with these slow, soulful tracks – the club is the most energetic I’ve seen since the pillow fight during the b2b Skream & Disclosure Boiler Room set. After these euphoric jams, he quickly and smoothly transitions into some groovy techno, follwed by classic hard techno/trance, and brings the energy to peak levels about an hour and 15 in. This set is the epitome of a journey, the perfect balance of DJ, records, and crowd, and really unlike anything I as a young dance music enthusiast have had the pleasure of seeing.