Delivered with typical Sasha aplomb

Throughout his near two decade career, hanging nonchalantly around the international DJ summit, Sasha's managed to combine both underground and some more commercial slants to his production and club career and his recent Invol2ver excursions see him playing to his strengths across both.

For the Invol2ver launch, at a Global Underground MOS special event a few weeks back, with the focus entirely on the man like and his then-to-be-released follow up to the genre bending initial Involver album, Sasha delivered a structured, vivid, resonant set which played toyfully with both consummate drops and tonal levels in a masterclass of sonic manipulation. Very much nowadays, a "decks n' fx" show with bells and whistles on too, he appeared to be playing across ableton live, cd, vinyl and an audio mixer for levels, bringing sauntering breaks and subtle acid lines into dancefloor action, from the most minimal of ideas.

As if to emphasise how far he's progressed from an albeit superb Technics wizard and scratch prefect back in the day, his style today appears very much on resampling and reworking ideas, whether of his own or others, as alongside his typically Vangelis flourishes, at points I reckon I hear Psychotropic's "Hypnosis" riff, and touches of Hardtrance Aexperience and Blade Runner added into the general flow. In fact, it would appear Sasha's realised his constant ambition of resolving the dj versus artist conundrum, as he's now playing a live set that at points, has no need of records, cds, or other artists material.

With his Starspangled cohort, DJ Three in tow, an excellent producer in his own right I am at pains to point out, teeing up his mate with slices of dense techno garage, the main MOS room is nicely teed up for the Sasha-a-thon in waiting from the 2AM off. Looking back to his days of the late 80's / early 90's, he's become less vocal led and unreliant on his phenomenal scratching skills and apposite acapellas to establish his individuality and developed his more techno bents but has remained no less crowd pleasing for that whilst the stylish, elegant, progressive, upfront beats have remained a constant from then to now.

The first hour of his set kicks in with his bespoke ambient intro giving way to an hour of springy, sprightly, progressive techno taking in a varied tribal element that puts hints of Danny Tenaglia's shuffling beats in mind. A sample of what I hope was Talking Heads "Once In A Lifetime" combines to traces of Belgian new beat, still displaying Sasha's penchant for the harder, more demonic edges of European techno. Fading upwards into an operatic, epic blend of rising fx, peaks, troughs and emotive breaks, Sasha's languorous, laid-back, elemental style is evident and as a gated disco vocal (one of the few) takes hold around 3am around what are presumably various phuture trax destined for Emfire Records (his own production outfit), he's mixing banging new progressive and Invol2ver moments with the odd, older tune. Both Jan Driver's mix of Garnier's "The Man With The Red Face" and Paul Van Dyk's "For An Angel" get an airing at various points but the night's really devoted to Sasha and ultimately it's no less strong for that.

As Sasha winds up his own set with the album's Xpander-esque "3 Little Piggys", five til seven sees him and Three in a hugely enjoyable, somewhat looser, back-to-back set which develops and continues the mood of the previous hours. Three's more the magician's assistant but he seems happy to oblige and comes across as highly charming and one whose NY look puts one in mind of the rakeish Huey Morgan of The Fun Lovin' Criminals. As the two bounce off each other for the last two hours, it's a top laugh really, and with those two, hanging out of the DJ box and applauding the crowd, there's a grand sense of bonhomie and occasion.

As its wound up to cheers and applause at 7am, we're not going anywhere and a sly trick of waiting for some of the crowd to disperse mingled with the old Hacienda tricks of stamping the floor and some Stretford End style football chants ("we can see you sitting down..") yields a tremendous impressive end section of an indie styled track "The Crying Garden" that develops into an enveloping techno tune and the wonderfully warmer, blissful reworking of an old blues number, "Everybody Needs A Friend Sometime." All done, dusted and delivered with typical Sasha aplomb.
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