Red Bull Music Academy: 12 x 12 pt.2

To benefit the Warchild charity

For 12×12, London’s Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) embarked on an ambitious strategy, gathering 12 of the most iconic dance and hip-hop producers to play exclusive sets of their best-known music in just 12 minutes in aid of charity Warchild.

Jazzie B and MC invited everyone to “shake ya dreads” to the Soul II Soul classic “Back To Life”, which started to loosen up a crowd that was not quite sure what to make of such a unique set-up. Speaking to Clash, Jazzie was thrilled about how it all went down. “I quite like the way Red Bull Music Academy tends to do business, it is very refreshing,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed the night and thought it was a great experience to see some of the guys in the line-up. It was a worthy cause and from a punters’ point of view it would’ve been super interesting to listen to the songs played by the people who made them.”

Robert Owens followed with his animated live vocal mix of uplifting house tune “I’ll Be Your Friend”, which led into MJ Cole’s electro mix of “Sincere”. After a slight computer glitch, Guy Called Gerald slammed it with his dub-tastic Voodoo Ray mix before Mr Planet Rock himself, Arthur Baker arrived for some of the action.

Martyn Ware (of Human League and Heaven 17 fame) transported the room back to the 80s dressed head to toe in pinstripe, as he gave live vocals to “Temptation” and “Let Me Go”. He echoed Jazzie’s sentiments in being involved with 12×12. “It was an astounding night – never has so much entertainment been squeezed into such a short space of time!” he told Clash. “RBMA are a delight to work with – their theory of inclusiveness and generosity of sprit is a refreshing change in this boring old bottom-line driven world.”

X-Press 2 performed a thumping 12 minutes of “Muzik” before one of the evening’s highlights, Roni Size, had the crowd eating out of the palm of his deck. Squeezing countless hip-hop greats into his tiny set, perhaps he missed the memo but there was certainly not many people complaining! It was lucky, then, that the following act had a guest so special that the bar remained set high – Ms Dynamite put her jungle flavour on Zinc’s beats, helped along by Dynamite MC.

Shades of Rhythm took us momentarily back to the 90s, before Shy FX returned to the familiar sounds of jungle and drum n’ bass. And in a fittingly iconic ending to such a star-studded evening, Joy Division/New Order’s Peter Hook did an epic 12-minute rendition of “Blue Monday”. He told Clash, “It was an interesting night with some great sets – I wasn’t too sure how three remixes of Blue Monday would go down after a string of drum n’ bass DJs but the crowd really took to it and the reaction was immense. I’ve been working with the Red Bull Music Academy and Warchild for a long time now and I’ve always been happy to support them.”

The evening was a continuation of RBMA events, which have also included Soundclash at the Roundhouse, 3D clubbing at the Royal Albert Hall, experimental electronic fusion at the Royal Festival Hall and various underground nights throughout the city since the brand launch in London in February of this year. And just one night later, it all came to a close with the RBMA closing party at a warehouse in Shoreditch, featuring DJ sets by 2ManyDJs, Friendly Fires and the XX.

Words by Jen Wilson

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