Aera @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 7 Apr

Live Review by Max Meres | 03 May 2017

Sneaky Pete’s is probably one of the only venues in Scotland where the DJ comes nose-to-nose with much of the dancefloor. A tangible sense of intimacy is achieved, simply by moving the booth off the stage so it’s level with the rest of the club. This is a sure-fire way to connect clubbers with artists, and vice versa. It works wonders, particularly when the music in question revolves around hypnotic feelings of total escapism, such as those of Berlin-based DJ and producer Ralf Schmidt, aka Aera. 

Since launching in September last year, newcomers L’anatomie have firmly established their sound by booking Lil Tony, Lord of the Isles and Marcus Worgull amongst others. Despite Schmidt being a lesser-known name, with releases on Hivern Discs, Innervisions and Maeve this latest booking sees the crew continue along a similar standard. 

After warm up sets from residents Hendry and Kieran Apter, Schmidt takes to the decks just after 1am. From acidic club pounders like Bawrut’s rework of Boyd Jarvis’s The Music Got Me, to Denis Horvat’s emotive synth-led number Axle, he lays down a selection of records perfectly in-tune with his surroundings. Come peak time, Henrik Schwarz’s Not You Also receives a typically rowdy response – as either side of this release usually does. 

Schmidt keeps the energy levels at a constant high, culminating in Frida’s I Know There’s Something Going On. Having been released in 1982, this synth-pop gem appeared to predate at least 95% of the crowd, but resonates with everyone in the room. In the track’s closing moments, Schmidt remarks that the gig has given him “chills”. This could be down to any number of things – the riotous Friday night Cowgate crowd or tight-knit relationship between the DJ and the dancefloor being but two of them. Whatever the reason, it's a pleasure to hear Schmidt share a selection of apt dance music from across the decades.