Sun Araw and Hype Williams in London

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  • Buzzed in through glass doors, one enters the lobby of the office block where the City Arts and Music Project (CAMP) have taken over the basement. Cardboard covers the floor of the corridor, presumably so that the business types arriving early the next morning don't suppose a thing; nor will the mailman, who will, in a matter of hours, no doubt be distributing the official-looking letters and stationary brochures that have been neatly piled into a corner. Photo credit: Justin Lambert Downstairs, before Hype Williams were even due to play, the CAMP basement was filling, with people crowding round the stage, peering at the selection of electronic paraphernalia laid out on a table covered by a tea towel adorned with an image of some spiritual leader. While people were clearly excited about the whole line-up, it was impressive to see such a turnout that early on in the night. With the crowd swollen, the duo slunk onto the stage, Roy in a baggy jumper and "Karen" with her handbag hanging off her shoulder. Mics were adjusted, melodicas were prepped and 30 minutes of narcotically-adjusted suppressive soul ensued. Adding to the already damp subterranean atmosphere, the set began with several minutes of drone-based electronic sludge, broken only by sampled Quake 3 guns locking and loading. Phasing into a cover of Sade's "Sweetest Taboo" where Karen led proceedings with a cowbell under the table, the audience strained to see round the looming Roy to double-check the origin of Karen's voice. As Roy, his back always to the audience, probably took a sly sip of sizzurp, the crowd, featuring other members of Hype Williams' umbrella group the Bo Khat Eternal Troof Family Band, throbbed. The set's climax? A darkly-screwed list of Pokémon read out to great effect over some g-funk on dropchop. Zun Zun Egui followed, and blasted the audience with extreme-tempo Mexicali-inspired hollering. Going on the number of nearly undecipherable languages voiced throughout, the band could easily have origins in at least three continents. (Apparently they hail from Bristol.) Stunning instrumental dexterity coupled with a stamina unparalleled at least this evening, allowed for a set of tight melodies and psych crackouts. Distilled down to a complimentary four from a mammoth fourteen means that the band no longer do much improvisation, though these origins are evident in their sound which is inherently busy yet remains considered and coherent. Photo credit: Justin Lambert Following this dose of Psychedelia Internationale, the self-referencing Sun Araw almost seemed out of place on their own tour. That's not to say that the bobbing greasy-haired Cameron Stallones and partner didn't give a striking performance, though. Dousing listeners with the sounds of the solar spectrum from heavily-delayed guitars, the group composed several metronome-like drum loops, which were perhaps an unnecessary distraction from what was an otherwise immersive sound. Quite different from the iced-cocktail of summer featured on their records, Sun Araw's extended set was more of a furnace in response to the impending winter of the environment outside. As one audience member shouted for "more delay!" towards the end of their set, one was hit with the stark reminder that, without delay, but rather with a certain haste, a dramatic evening of Space Jam would be replaced by the filing in of business men.