08.08.2011, Words by Charlie Jones


There was an urgency to the SBTRKT set on the Blogger’s Delight stage at Field Day; slipping un-dramatically onstage as Jamie xx left, the masked producer took the helm without so much as a pause for breath. Accompanied by Sampha, wearing another of the trademark masks, the set kicked into life in a rush of clattering drumsticks and surging crowds. Sampha leapt around, singing (as always, beautifully) and drumming frantically, mimicking the sporadic movements of the sound around him.

Announcing that it was his first UK festival date, SBTRKT relished the opportunity to surprise and innovate, dropping non-album tracks like Living Like I Do and Drake’s remix of Wildfire . Endlessly tweaking at sounds, the producer made the experience into one of hearing songs for the first time, of being confronted by familiar sounds made unfamiliar. At times the crowd relished this, ripples of “oohhh..” shooting around the tent as new, guttural sounds found their way into Drake’s verse, or as beats were slowed and drops stretched out like chewing gum.

At other points, however, there was a palpable frustration; as the duo left the stage, someone nearby was shouting “Play Pharoahs ! Pleeease play Pharoahs !”. Increased by the physical pressure of the bustling crowd, the set was one of tension, of things left unsaid and a rush of emotion communicated in a blast. The music we heard was fresh and tantalising – but our expectations were left unfulfilled, our appetites roaring.

+SBTRKT will play a headline show at XOYO on the 4th October. +

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