“Donato Dozzy is coming again to London. And this time it’s No Boundaries set!”, a friend messaged me at the end of February and I soon found myself buying a ticket for the night. Almost without checking if I was busy on the date, I knew I had to be there to witness something that I had just read about, for too long.

For his first ever All Night session in the UK, the chosen venue was Pickle Factory, a club that’s always been very special to me: cosy and intimate, with minimal furniture (literally just a small corner bar and a few seats), ideal for the dark and foggy atmosphere of its nights.

The sharp sound guaranteed by German d&b Audiotechnik V series, the lovely ambient café right on the other side of the main room, the little smoking area encouraging connection and gathering: all these little details speak of a place where it’s all (and just) about the music. No fancy outfits (too dark to be seen), no chatting on the dance-floor (too hot and too loud), respectful security and friendly staff are Pickle Factory’s recipe for a perfect night. 

Donato Dozzy was scheduled to play quite early, so at 10pm sharp I was already joining the queue outside the club. I wasn’t alone and I soon realised that the crowd of the night would be quite different from the one that you usually see in London, at Pickle Factory or in similar venues. 

A guy reading a book waiting for the doors to open particularly struck me, but what I was actually seeing were simply … people, not clubbers. I had to think that it was the older generation of clubbers, genre’s connoisseurs for sure, but not those who party every weekend. 

Entering the club a few minutes after 10pm felt so different, but also somehow special. Maestro Dozzy behind the decks, I spotted his unmistakable glasses in the already dark and warm end of the room. Smell of incense everywhere, I was already magically transporting myself to a festival in the woods, before the music had even started. 

The room got packed in nothing, everyone on the dance-floor swaying to ancient melodies, sounds reminiscent of oriental rituals, organic textures coming from the outer reaches of Dozzy’s bottomless record bag. He was dancing too and from the smile on his face, you could tell he was having a great time. I couldn’t help but dreaming of Japan and its maybe most famous festival.

“No rules” is the main rule of all No Boundaries Sets: trip hop, jungle, drum&bass, leftfield beats followed one the other, in a never forced sonic journey: Dozzy really can make everything sound precious and delightful. Bringing out the inner soul of each genre, he blends them together, creating a story that naturally unfolds in all directions. 

Someone shouting “acid” at some point, when it was clear that it was that time of the night, didn’t feel inappropriate and instead made me smile. I was surrounded by the most respectful clubbers: the ones saying sorry when they step on your feet or making room for you on of the dance-floor.

Obviously techno was much awaited and the room fired up when it was brought on stage. Hypnotic, textured, psychedelic techno, obviously: we were still in an imaginary festival in the woods. 

All these exquisite sonic explorations, the ability of blending genres that often make people choose one side or the other of the electronic music realms, proved once again that Dozzy really is a Maestro. 

It also reminded me of something he said in an interview for Rome O’Festival, not long ago :“We need difference because people who don’t know difference tend to be diffident … whilst what we need, really, is aggregation”.

(picture by Sebastian Unrau)