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Clubbing + classical music = Minimalism with Juan Atkins

Tristan Parker

How to imbibe high-end culture while clubbing? You could stand in the corner, googling responses to literary theorist Roland Barthes’s essay ‘The Death of the Author’. Or you could head to Minimalism on Wednesday November 11 and explore a combination of classical music and club culture in a far more relaxed and satisfying way.

Detroit techno futurist Juan Atkins (pictured, above) will be spinning a headline DJ set, as a nod towards the link between dance music and minimalist classical music, pioneered by composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt. The night is organised by French festival Marathon! and Nonclassical, a record label founded by composer Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of famed Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev) that hosts classical club nights in unconventional spaces, like bars and warehouses. Nonclassical has been working this field for 11 years, but recently this crossover has surged in popularity, thanks to events like the Late Night Proms, the recent Sound Unbound event at the Barbican and orchestras performing acid house anthems.

The Minimalism event will feature various innovative live acts that blur the boundaries between classical and electronic: French acoustic act Cabaret Contemporain, pianist Klavikon reworking pieces by minimalist figurehead Steve Reich, and experimental percussive outfit Abstruckt Ensemble.

Gabriel Prokofiev will be DJing a genre-hopping set (expect some creative remixes of modern classical works), and as for Juan Atkins – don’t expect him to drop too much Bach or Beethoven, but do expect to hear some seriously forward-thinking techno that sets the dancefloor alight and joins a few of the dots between minimalist composition and the kind of stripped-back dance music that's been fuelling ravers for decades. As Prokofiev puts it: ‘The music from DJs and producers like Juan Atkins isn’t so different from some classical music. It’s good to put these genres side-by-side and say: “Look, let’s forget all this stuff about ‘high art’ and ‘low art’ – this is just really good, inventive music.” You get a much richer experience that way.’

Read more about Minimalism with Juan Atkins.

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