Classiest performance of the festival went to Joy Orbison, who comes in at a belated No.4 in my Dimensions’ best.
Watched by a large number of other prominent DJs from the back – including Four Tet, Floating Points and the omnipresent Scuba – Peter O’Grady stood hypnotic before a wasted, convulsing crowd – shoulders ceaselessly dipping in tandem, fingers moving across the mixer like glass, eyes darting around and ears stoutly pricked. Despite his rhythmic movement he appeared an icon of still against the back visuals and before a sea of flux; the image of calm in a festival characterised by movement.
It was perhaps surprising to me that Orbison surged through a set of bass-heavy techno, rather than his initial, more dubstep-speed-focused era-defining foray (‘The Shrew’, ‘J Doe’, ‘Wet Look’). I asked my friend afterwards whether he is best suited to this pace level (126-132BPM) but over a few hours I realised that it was ungenerous intrigue.
O’Grady has clearly moved on from that (especially considering I last saw him ages ago) and he now djs with an almost incomparable grace, perfection, knowledge and riddled finger activity. A standard of his set was cleverly exploiting dynamics to extend tracks into individual mini opuses, then seamlessly merging them when they’d stretched as far as they could go. His inclusion of Blawan’s new terror track ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ was a particular highlight, especially as we were missing Blawan to see Orbison.
Surrounded by a mellifluous throng of revellers I leant on the barrier to catch some rest, synced in time and happy to just watch. It was then I realised two things.
Orbison stands as one of the best producers of this generation. That I already knew.
What I didn’t realise is that he’s one of the best DJs, too.