Posted by: martinworster | March 5, 2011


Another grotty East London joint where only the happiest people need apply..Renegade Soundwave the tune..

Labyrinth was situated in the Four Aces Club on Dalston Junction – a gritty part of Hackney two miles north of the City on the Kingsland Road. Labrynth IS the home of the original raver. The many rooms and and warren like corridors probably gave it it’s name. A place to get lost in figuratively and metaphorically. It was a very friendly place, probably because everyone was out of their minds on strong MDMA. Musically it was an important and influential place. I started going there in 91 so it was early hardcore, house, vocal, breaks, techno and proto-jungle.


The venue was grotty – in a bad state of repair, chewing gum all over the floors, peeling paint, overflowing toilets and tatty carpet. A million miles away from the gleaming corporate superclubs with bottle service and lounge bars of today and all the better for it, adding to the free spirited, DIY, punkish ethos which represented the time. It was all about music and atmosphere – and Labrynth had that in buckets.


I remember one of the dark corridors you would walk down from one room to the next, lined with Dreads selling drugs; ‘Es, trips, whizz, hash..’ they’d murmur through smiley white rasta teeth. In fact, in the UV light, it looked like an array of suspended gallery of teeth glaring in the light. White Doves were the tonic. As were sweaty hugs with random strangers. Sharing a freshly billed spliff (‘bill up a lickle spliff’) in the stair well with a new friend. Head massages from East London gals. Dancing on the spot for hours drilling into the floor. Screams and whoops to the basslines, the incessant call of fog horns on extended breakdowns. 


For me the song that best sums up Labrynth – and I’m talking in the 91-92 era when I go, the club ran till at least 95 when the music morphed into jungle and drum and bass. The tune was Renegade Soundwave’s ‘The Phantom’. A stripped down bass driven groove. A pumping but bare kick drum. A swirling ethic (African, Arabic?) vocal chant. It wasn’t a peak time hands in the air floor filler. More of an in between hard drum groover that locked us in until we’d eventually spill out into the blurry NE London dawn.




  1. WOW!! I loved that club. I used to go nearly every weekend for a while before the drum n bass moved to Tottenham high rd. You might remember, just before it closed, on entering the club one night, on the doors and the little kiosk on the left, it said that channel 4 was filming that night. I wonder if there is any footage? Were you there?

    I went to the club in around 1995 – 1998 maybe? Driving from Hastings, up the A21 in a Renault 5 Turbo. Miss those days.

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