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Squarepusher Totally Mind-Fucked Everyone At Sydney's Vivid Festival

Sydney Opera House was pushed to the absolute limit.
Photo credit: Dan Boud

Eerie waves of sound and other distortions welcomed us into the now-haunting Joan Sutherland Theatre. Before us, two large screens began to show glowing shapes and after a while, a man dressed as a fencer calmly strolls onstage. I put two and two together and resolved it was in fact Squarepusher. Alas, my two-hour mind-fucking had commenced.

Here are some of the key points my mind was able to grasp in the aftermath:


Squarepusher transcends any audio-visual performance I've ever witnessed

When Squarepusher makes an album to be digested with visuals, it's not like your 'average' FlyLo or Hopkins journey, where your mind can derive a morsel of humanistic narrative. Rather, strapped down in your seat, Tom Jenkinson's composition of vision and sound uses hard-hitting visceral occupation that draws you to the end the of scary innards of your brain's chemical reactions, if that function existed in the internet. Ink blots, flashing etchy lines and other complex shapes warped "Damogen Furies" soundscape to a more intensive wormhole as Jenkinson set out to do.

He self-cannibalises within the visuals
Jenkinson appeared in front of two screens and projected his madness, whilst he furiously jumped between two laptops and a whole heap of custom-made gear (coz mass-produced shit is obvs for amateurs). As he took us deeper and deeper I realised he wasn't only wedged between the screens to twist and mix his drill and bass brilliance, rather to facilitate a third surface of visual vortex.

This is when shit got real, he had completely enveloped himself inside the show, with no chance of return nor escape.

"Stor Eiglass" is actually an awesome thudding trance version of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven"
As the hard thuds began to rip in early in his set, my euphoria cued before the glorious breakdown commenced. I fucking love this song. Tonight it was as it stands on the album the one and only happy melody track. But then I realised it shares a lot in common with The Cure's "Just Like Heaven". Intentional or not, it's brilliant.


The highlight amongst highlights: "Baltang Ort"
The dense and otherworldly nightmare warp reached its pinnacle during "Baltang Ort". With its ebbs and weaves between catapulting itself into furious speed and harmonic lulls the vortex of visuals strangled an incredible, fully immersive experience.

That encore
Bass solo asserting the known fact his techniques are beyond glitch drill bass maniac wizardry. Scratching, tapping and plucking on that six string thang, we entered into a completely different terrain that showcased yet another facet of his beautiful artistry.

Upon completion, it was exhausting and sometimes so intense that I had to hold my breath in order to take everything in. I'd do it again in an instant.

Check out the rest of the sick shit happening at Vivid LIVE here

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