It’s been a pretty wild ride for Wankelmut. In the space of a few short years the one time bedroom producer has shot to global notoriety on the back of his sublime remix of Asaf Avidan’s One Day/Reckoning Song. A tidy rework of Emma Louise’s My head is a Jungle cemented his status as a world class producer and since that point he’s been headlining some of the biggest festivals around the world. Across the past two weeks he’s played in the Netherlands, France and UK but Thursday night it was Bangkok’s turn to experience the skills of one of the hottest exports from Berlin’s crowded deep house scene.
Journeying into the main room the imposing JBL speaker stacks on either side of the DJ greeted us, unleashing some serious power with musical foreplay delivered by local favorite Eddy Frampton. Converting the smattering of people on the dancefloor proved a challenge but by 11:30 the dancefloor had expanded with DJ Richie and Ikono taking full advantage, the pair switching seamlessly between the decks to deliver a playful set from the capable hands of this musical tag team. Wankelmut took to the decks past midnight, easily spotted as the only person in the room to escape the strict enforcement of Ku De Ta’s dress code. But headlining a venue affords you certain privileges and if you’re a globe conquering DJ and you want to wear shorts, you can go ahead and wear shorts.
The dancefloor ebbed and flowed, energy pulsing until the crescendo around 1 am but it waned fast, sporadic and never quite achieving its full potential. Where other DJs may inspire ecstatic smiles and infectious grins across the dancefloor, seemingly much the crowd were more interested in indulging in sideways stares, analyzing the room for who they wanted to wake up next to. Unperturbed, the unassuming German delivered. Clearly he hasn’t gotten to that level of superstardom where this is ‘just a job’ for him – he interacted with the audience, smiling, having fun and even taking a moment off the decks to take photos, indulging the fame whores that meandered behind the CDJs (myself included).
He elaborates and celebrates buildups seamlessly, journeying with the crowd through a give-take barter of airy melodies and imposing techno drums. Throughout the night he delivered a versatile set, playing everything from the ethereal, vocal driven ‘Fallin’ by Andreas Henneberg and Fabian Reicheld, Little by Little’s ‘Bang the Box’ and the liquid smooth banger from last year ‘Forget’ by Patrick Topping. The night would not have been complete without delivering a couple of his own creations and the crowd responded appropriately once ‘My Head Is A Jungle’ dropped – the recognition coming quickly, like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time at a party.
The evening was aided by mesmerizing visuals, elevating the mood through a sequence of captivating montages – beautiful people dancing better than you ever could, quirky clips of a man dancing alone in the desert and hypnotic computer generated oscillations. As the night went on, the crowd noticeably thinned but that’s no surprise given that it was on a school night and much of the attendees would need to be at work a mere few hours from the conclusion of the night. Those that stuck around were treated to some of the more anxiously urgent yet always funky tech house toward the back end of his set.
Ultimately Wankelmut delivered on his hype, affirming his skills behind the decks are on par with his production skills. Credit must go out to Electronic Delicatessen for taking risks in bringing over more niche, underground acts, injecting Bangkok with a much needed dose of intelligent house music for the discerning electronic music appreciator.