- If you turned up sometime around 1 AM, the first thing you would have heard at Giegling Auf Der Stubnitz was the sound of live drums. The party was a little hard to find—given no info beyond the nearest U-bahn stop, punters were left to wander a gloomy stretch of Hamburg's docks, listening for that telltale thump. When I heard clattering drums instead, I thought of Giegling's original parties, where a jazz band would play in a tiny third room (or so I'm told). This confirmed something I'd already suspected: that tonight would revisit the vibe of those early events, which still inspire the Giegling crew some ten years later.
The MS Stubnitz is a nomadic venue that, for this occasion, sat in a quiet corner of Hamburg's sprawling harbor. On the top deck, people chatted and smoked joints as giant ships loomed in the surrounding fog. Down a wet metal staircase was the club's third room, where an unnamed two-man post-rock band performed for the first time ever, soon to be followed by a dissonant synth pop act called Une Ananas. The music in here was offbeat all night—hours later, when daylight streamed in through the portholes, two DJs were still dutifully churning out drab electronics.
Down another steep metal staircase was one of the club's main dance floors—an incredibly dramatic space. Chains ran from the ceiling to the floor, complementing the room's jumble of different levels (the dance floor alone had three—a raised platform in the center and two lower ones on either side). This, naturally, was the techno room, with dark and driving sets from Ateq, Konstantin and Vril. The music was sinister and immersive, and its chemistry with the space was uncanny.
Meanwhile, in a smaller space tucked into the bow, Dustin shared the bill with Lux. and Kettenkarussell (AKA Konstantin and Rafael). The room had the triangular shape of the bow, with theatre seats lining the sides and amber lightbulbs dangling overhead. The backdrop to the DJ booth was a matrix of gunmetal pipes that could have come from an H.R. Giger illustration. Lux., looking unassuming in her cardigan, deployed one exquisite track after another, each one deep and melancholic, with clever changes in driving rhythm that got whistles every time. Kettenkarussell followed suit with a lush and understated live set (though I missed most of it watching Vril), before Dustin closed the night with a stream of phenomenal deep house records that, for me, perfectly embodied the Giegling sound: punchy and filled with what could loosely be described as hooks, but always mysterious and somehow bittersweet. I recognized the A2 from Terekke's new one on L.I.E.S. and two Omar-S tracks ("Frogs" and the vocal mix of "U"), but was desperate to know about a dozen others.
Sometime around 6 AM, Lux. reappeared and went back-to-back with Dustin. The other dance floor had closed by now, so the room had filled in a bit. Konstantin and Ateq were smiling and dancing near the front. Suddenly the lightbulbs above us got brighter, and then the grim fluorescent house lights came on and the music stopped. Everyone stood around for a while, unready to let it end just yet. Some dawdled in the sunlight on the top deck, others shuffled to the cabs waiting by the dock. In the air was that feeling you only get once or twice a year (if you're lucky): this had been a really good one.