Review: Max Cooper @ DGTL

April 25, 2019

Over the course of Easter there were over 300 complaints of noise pollution addressed at the city of Amsterdam. None of these derived from the various renditions of Bach’s Matthäus-Passion. Rather, it was caused by the total of seven stages that DGTL hosted at the NDSM-warf in Amsterdam-Noord. A sun-stricken weekend with nearly every big name in today’s techno scene on the timetable. Closing the Live Stage was Max Cooper, an artist who’s production-value is so high it starts to reflect negatively on him as a DJ.


 [ Max Cooper, source: ]


Don’t get me wrong, Max Cooper is an outstanding DJ: glitches are rare (if already there are any), one track runs smoothly into another, and the totality of his sets are well thought out. Not only is he a master of lengthy build-ups, he also knows how to entice a crowd with his live visuals that are as subtle as the sound of one hundred billion sparks. Cooper’s style is one that is surprisingly timid yet houses an energy that never fails to move a crowd. To put it into a bodily perspective: while your feest are dancing you will find yourself in an amazed gaze at the same time. 


But not all that glitters is gold, no matter how many sparks. Though Max Cooper’s set was a welcome refreshment on this hot spring day the downtempo came a little early given the vibe of the festival. All around the Live Stage jam-packed tents were bursting with ecstasy while Cooper took it slow. A little too slow, perhaps. At times I wondered whether the set would’ve been better enjoyed as a seated concert. The kind where the crowd stands up at about halfway in and becomes a sweaty mess towards the end.


 [ the mesmerising visual show overshadowing Max's physical presence ]



In all, the four stars are well-deserved. At least three out of four, however, are due to his quality as a producer. The fact that he plays mostly own material only goes to show this. As always with Max Cooper there is nothing about the music that was not simply good (let alone the stunning visual show). Yet this set deserved a little more energy, perhaps a little more enthusiasm. He got an extra twenty minutes of well-deserved playtime that he eagerly used to build on top of what he had built so far, but the crowd never climaxed. 


4.0 / 5

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