A mesmeric and often overwhelming sound and visual experience closes Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Liverpool, Getintothis’ David Michael is consumed by a very personal yet profoundly moving performance.
DIN 19643 IS NOT ADVISED FOR THOSE A HISTORY OF EPILEPSY.
FURTHER, PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM ASTHMA, BREATHING AND HEART PROBLEMS, ABNORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE, MIGRAINE AND HEADACHES, EYE AND EAR DISEASES, PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM CLAUSTROPHOBIA OR ANXIETY SHOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT ATTEND.
The warning signs were loud and clear. Tonight’s closing party for Abandon Normal Devices Festival was going to intense, in every sense of the word.
After choosing to enter the dimly-lit venue at our own risk, Getintothis was greeted by a strange installation from Liverpool’s HIVE collective, resembling something like a flotation tank that occupied the middle of the room among projected words such as ‘Drift‘; it was, to adopt the cliché, the calm before the storm.
Shortly after 11pm a deafening noise sounded out resulting in the sudden stop of the tense chatter from curious spectators, as all eyes focused on the prism-like machine installation. A lone figure then began to move the object producing kaleidoscopic visuals from within that were soon live-projected onto a hanging screen above. It was to be something to gaze upon – a mere distraction – as the intensity of the smoke and strobes built all around.
Accompanying the flickering strobes was a droning soundscape, with the words of ‘Good Energy, Bad Energy, just think as it is a phenomenon‘ sounding more of an instruction than anything, and then suddenly the room is transformed, visibility decreased, creating limited depth of field, patterns forming, creating illusions of fractal colours.
It’s a complete disconnect – impossible to predict how our minds will react as it’s processed in the consciousness; each viewer experiencing it differently, something so personal, you have to experience for yourself.
Following such a unique performance was down to musician and sound artist Bobby Krlic, who produces as The Haxan Cloak. Having endured enough of pulsing and flickering strobing lights, Getintothis observes the start of Krlic’s performance from near the back of the room as many of those gathered remain completely transfixed as though observing a ritualistic ceremony between flashes of white that seeped through.
This time though it’s not the strobes that take us away to another place; it’s the sound – engrossing and pushing us forward. Released earlier in 2013, via Tri-Angle Records, Haxan Cloak’s Excavation is about an abstract journey being taken into the afterlife and it’s this transformative feeling that makes being present in a live setting so powerful and yet so unsettling while at the same time so inviting.
Performing on a bank of analogue gear, tonight’s performance consists largely of material from Excavation, however this is no playback performance, tracks are drawn out, re-arranged and layered throughout.
It’s visceral and at times a challenging listen, but it consumes you and in the process takes you to more expansive places. Like in the earlier performance, the strobes are used to full effect, during set highlight the dense and almost suffocating The Mirror Reflecting (Part 2), Getintothis finds ourselves immersed with the range of colours now appearing on the inside of our eyelids. As the melodic chimes of The Drop ring out, the now familiar mystique and eerie atmospheric sound of Krlic encapsulates each listener with their own unique version of transcendence.
The stroboscopic element of DIN19643 may have provided attendees with something to experience but it was The Haxan Cloak who created the enduring performance.
Picture by Christopher Foster.
Further reading on Getintothis
Liverpool’s Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival 2013 launches at FACT.
Getintothis‘ guide to AND Festival 2013.
AND Festival 2013: Future Primed at the Kazimier.
Hive Collective return with Pendle Witch Trials audio visual piece – Unsettle.
Getintothis on HIVE and Matthew Herbert at the Bluecoat
Getintothis on HIVE at Ital and Forest Swords live