A clubber’s confession with Joris Voorn in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Dance Event. Boiler Room. Awakenings. Gashouder. Joris Voorn.

All together, same night. Does it get any better? Don’t think so. During the last edition of ADE, we had the opportunity to follow Joris Voorn for one long night, starting with a precious and intimate Boiler Room facing the sea and the dockyards of Amsterdam and closing with the always impressive Awakenings at Gashouder. We will tell you the story of that night, but we will also try to picture an artist that never stops to amaze us. We probably won’t be able to describe the feelings of the night, but we’ll do our best to convey the experience. I always loved to have the chance to listen a dj playing twice in the space of a few hours, in different settings. It says a lot about the artist. In Voorn’s case, I was reassured that he is one of a kind.

Hardly definable with words, the sound of Joris Voorn is unique. You don’t need to know when he is behind the decks, to know that he is playing. But still, the approaches he had to the two different scenarios were quite different. For Boiler Room he walked us through a trip filled with strings and chords, with the builds of the set patiently calibrated, the bass pumping, but without covering the complexity of the selected tracks. On the other hand, the majestic Gashouder allowed him, just a few hours later, to open up his arms to a fully techno blasting performance, always with his classy touch, but offering a sapient tribute to the Detroit sound of his origins. Every time I assist to one of his performances, it is a surprise. He is not scared of change, but he never loses his essence. A while ago, Joris described one of his finest work as “painting with music” – we are talking about the magnificent album from 2009, Balance 014 – and yes, painting with music is fairly appropriate. To me, however, it is not enough. It does not take into account the entirety of his personality.

Joris Voorn is both artist and architect, poetry and science, emotions and rationale approach. A trained musicians, with a family background that encompass multiple genres of music and arts, he studied architecture and the scientific influences of this experience sounds quite clearly in his djing style and production, without losing the soul though. The constant use of digital equipment, clearly, helps us understand his openness towards the future, without being constrained by the boundaries of the past. We do not want to enter the endless debate about analog and digital. After all, these are just tools that anyone can use rightly or badly.

To us, music is what matters most.

PHASE ONE, BOILER ROOM, PLLEK AMSTERDAM

And so on the 21st of October we started with his first ever appearance at Boiler Room. The video has not been published on Youtube yet, but you can see the set here. You could tell that he was playing home, as he just walked into the venue while the other artists were playing and stepped in, talked to people, spent a few moments just enjoying the music. He introduced himself with an epic intro, built around the magnificent K304v2 Walk With Me by dubspeeka. When you go to a Boiler Room, you just need to ignore the first few lines of people praying for a minute of fame, and dance around with the rest of the crowd. Then you will be able to appreciate how many people around you are there just for the music. This time, with the cuts and the loops and the samples that Joris gave us, it was a pleasant night full of smiling people. When I started hearing the strings of Marcel Dettmann Remix’s of Move by Cassy, I could enjoy it for a good 20-30 seconds because then Joris perfectly blended into it the recent release on Rejected by Edwin Oosterwaal, Vamp.

It sounded pretty natural to mix the two, easy to connect the dark synth arrangements of the latter with the pumping beats of the previous track. But we all know that it is not that easy, at all. It takes years of practice and a structured knowledge of the fundamental basis of music theory. Guess what, Joris has it all. Everything considered, it was a pretty dark set, probably also because of the post-industrial scenario we were in. He dropped bombs like Win Ugly by Breach & DJ Dust, with that acid touch, re-arranging these more techney tracks with the typical approach he has of using 2 or 3 channels at the same time to add that little detail, to generate those atmospheric tones we all love about Joris. With more to come, we decided to wait until the very last track (Alex Bau – The Whip) and then jump on the first Uber to get to Gashouder.
The night was not over, yet.

PHASE TWO, AWAKENINGS, GASHOUDER AMSTERDAM

Awakenings and Gashouder are like a second home for Joris. Personally, “Joris Voorn invites at Awakenings” is the only event I always attend every ADE edition. I know already it will be great. The atmosphere that night was buzzing, with Andhim and the ecletic energy of Apollonia playing before Joris (Just one brief mention for the French trio… what a super set they gave us!!!). And it didn’t take long for Joris to show us he was kind of pumped up as we all were that night. Opening with the thunderous percussive arrangements and driving basslines of Trucco by Robin Fett, the massive lights of the venue were now at their best.

He insisted with the typical loops and effects that usually enrich his sets, without trespassing that thin line that would make their use cheesy and irritating. Always like this, walking on the razor’s edge, where everything is way more risky but, when done appropriately, so good to hear. Joris Voorn guided us into his personal musical journey, which became ours as well, with the finest track selection. It was a pleasure to listen again just a couple of tracks already heard at Boiler Room, as for example Black Licorice by Gene Farris, which lifted us up and got us up to the roof, but also Vamp by Oosterwal. Then there’s the case of Ryo, which is an unreleased track. There are not that many info on it yet, but when he played that track everything went crazy. It is a pure Voorn inspired creation, with a fantastic use of the warm and natural sounding ambience that reminds me a bit of the magical remix he did a few years ago of Sebastian Mullaert’s You’re An Orchestra In The Cosmos. I just cannot wait for this to be released, it’s gonna be huge. The rest of the night was just epic. People smiling all around, the best sign that the music and the atmosphere was sublime. There was time also for some old classic Plastikman work, with Spastik, and for the touchy closure thanks to his remix of Bob Moses’s Like it Or Not.

CLOSING REMARKS

A night with Joris Voorn is a guaranteed success. Able to surf through different genres, creating the right suspense with his melodic phases, taking us deep down with dark sounds, and afterwards warming us up again with unexpected kicks and waves of pure banging techno, Joris Voorn has been offering us top quality music for years now. Chopped up, mangled, battered electronic music. Techno? House? Tech House? Do you really care? Feelings, emotions, magic. A defined sense for taste, of course, but also a lot more. If you are born and raised in the Netherlands, you probably don’t need to be a religious man to embrace some kind of protestant ethic towards your work. It is just part of you already. And I see this true in the way Joris Voorn faces his work as dj and producer. The focus on details, the constant research for improvement, the respect for other people success, his perfectionism. Joris Voorn is a multi-faced, complex, and intriguing personality, which overtake the boundaries of traditional electronic music. We just wanna thank him for all the emotions he gave us with his music.

See you next time. And it will be very soon!