When I asked Hydra founder Ajay Jayaram whether his brand inclined towards techno – given Hydra parties I’d attended featured more sweating kickdrums than all of Berlin on a Saturday night – he very politely corrected me: “Everything we do is anchored in electronic music. It traverses the spectrum within that, the broad church if you like. A couple of weeks ago we did a house party with Moodymann and Omar S and Theo Parrish, we’re doing [techno giants] Jeff Mills and Marcel Dettmann in a few weeks, and also did Gas at the Barbican which was more ambient facing. It’s more about good quality than any style.”

As if to illustrate his point, Saturday’s event at Printworks, curated by Mount Kimbie who also DJ’d the 7-9pm slot, appeared at first glance a dogmatic techno onslaught, but unravelled itself with coy eclecticism. Imogen belied her midday slot with angular electro, raising the heartbeats of the lucky folk who’d foregone lunch, before Ben UFO approached the decks to deliver a characteristic cavalcade of Stuff That Shouldn’t Work Seamlessly But Simply Does; also doubling up as an exhibition of some of his mates’ bangers, including Joy Orbison and Ben Vince’s ‘Transition 2’, Call Super’s ‘Fluenka’s Shelf’, traces of Objekt’s ‘Lost And Found’, and to my personal delight, Four Tet’s remix of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Afraid’. Webby bass fed into vocal house fed into needly IDM, and by the time UFO’s successor in the Main Hall Kelly Lee Owens was fading Bjork into DJ Koze’s ‘XTC’, preconceptions of unwavering quarternote thuds dissipated among the scattering hi-hats.

The Hydra began in 2012 to feed a need, Jayaram asserts. “We came up with the idea of echoing what The Warehouse Project had done for Manchester for the needs of London, that is to say London needed something a little bit more challenging, a little more diverse. We had to be clever starting out because loads of clubs like Fabric and Ministry were already affiliated with DJs and artists, so we always felt there was the need to do something more forward-thinking and alternative.”

Jayaram started The Hydra in 2012 with his partner Dolan Bergin, after they hit it off working on an event. They “discovered a likeminded outlook on everything from music to politics. I left my job and decided to do some independent promotions, and at that point I got in touch with Dolan again; we did an event at Hackney Downs Studios and that was really great; that was the embryonic version of The Hydra. For the next five years we ran an Autumn/Winter events series, did some bits at the Ministry, some bits at the Barbican, then got invited to collaborate here.”

The evening run-in on Saturday stressed that The Hydra’s collaboration with Printworks isn’t just the company at their creative apex, but London large-scale clubbing at its most cavernous, its most hedonistically consuming. In Room 2 Debonair spun bracing electro; followed by a DJ Python live set, his unsettling and incorrigible dem-bow breakbeats; Anthony Naples dropped ‘Renegade Master’ to gratified shrieks. In the Hall, Kimbie brought whirligig techno and house interrupted by their positivistic crowd favourite ‘Made To Stray’, before Nina Kraviz fulfilled the dogmatic techno onslaught I anticipated, the breaks brilliantly nauseating and the peaks mesmeric and barbaric.

That Kraviz’s acidic sprint distorted reality to the extent that it did, much is owed to the improved sound calibrating in Room 1; a feature Jayaram is keen to underline as symbolic of The Hydra’s communication with Broadwick Live, the central team behind the weekly running of Printworks. Of the sound clarity, he commented: “That reflects the great nature of our relationship with Broadwick Live, we’re now an integral part of the venue; whether that’s the sound in Room 2, the visuals and aesthetics in the Main Hall, we’ve been involved with all of those conversations. We endeavour to make Printworks as good as it can be, it can never be perfect but we’re trying, and that’s the plan season upon season.”

With line-ups like Saturday’s and an ever-improving production design, it’s a pretty tidy plan. Jayaram’s point about the perfect club experience as an impossibility? As a critic you're obliged to agree; as a clubber, it’s unfeasibly tough to top Owens mixing Blawan’s cartwheeling ‘Getting Me Down’ with her dense rework of Jenny Hval’s ‘Kingsize’.