Awesome Tapes From Africa @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 10 Aug

Brian Shimkovitz brings a night of solid grooves and eclectic African rhythms to Summerhall

Review by Peter Simpson | 11 Aug 2017

Given that it's just gone 1am on a school night, the full-on dance party scene on entering Summerhall's Dissection Room is an impressive one. The drinks are flowing, the dance moves are being bust out left, right and centre, and the general vibe is probably best described as 'excitable'. At the head of the scene is Awesome Tapes head honcho Brian Shimkovitz, playing out from his extensive collection of African dance and pop cassettes. 

Like any good party, an ATFA set ebbs and flows, offering moments of high drama and energy followed by chances to get your breath back. Tonight's set mainly settles on the hypnotically groovy sections of the Awesome Tapes catalogue, with a blend of traditional and electronic instrumentation flying out of the speakers into the welcoming crowd. While the limitations of the format do become apparent at times – beatmatching's hard enough when you can fudge the tempo on your CDJs, let alone when you're working off a pair of tape decks – there's no denying Shimkovitz's ear for a good tune. 

We never quite hit the transcendentally funky peak we might have hoped for, and there's a definite sense that we're only scratching the surface of Shimkovitz's collection, but an Awesome Tapes night still remains one of the most fun experiences to be had in a club. Like any good party it's over before we know it, but next time Brian's throwing a bash we'll be the first ones round.

Part of Summerhall's Nothing Ever Happens Here Edinburgh Fringe programme