Everybody feels bad for the guy all alone up on the stage hiding behind his laptop pecking at the keyboard. But the thing is, you can do so much with that laptop. It's true that a good DJ behind the decks is the type of show people want. And a rapper or a rocker performing up there gets even more attention. But electronic music has its own not-so-secret weapon—the moving image.
Things have reached some impressive new heights on the visual front, and the past few years in particular have seen some major advances: video mapping that wraps around sculptures; house-sized, rotating LED screens; holographic images. It's getting to the point where it'll be hard to write science fiction soon because everything is coming to life.
So to celebrate the further meshing of visual art with beats and bass, we put together a list of some of the year's best collaborations. From entirely immerssive clubs, to deeply connected visuals, there's a lot of eye candy here:
This Geneva club let Ventura run wild and transform it into a temple of light he calls The Cathedrale. Angular shapes steeple above the crowd, creating a triangular cave full of projections, lazers, and exposed trusses.
Egyptrixx's new album, A/B Til Infinity, is nothing if not atmospheric, and the soundscapes he developed conjure some bold visions. ANF had a lot to work with and brought to life what many of us were probably already imagining. This video is a clip of their live set.
Distressed geometric shards float in stark blacks and whites for the pair's Force project, the live version of which premiered at the Unsound Festival this year.
EDM is rarely short of spectacle, and Krewella's Volcano stage doesn't disapoint. It looks like a giant mound of crumpled tinfoil on fire with glow sticks. V Squared were the brains behind this one, a collective at the top of the game for A/V installations since bringing Amon Tobin's ISAM to life.
1024 is consistently pushing the bar in the realm of light art, and have created yet another wild lazer show installation, this one a giant box called Tesseract or Hypercube—whichever you prefer. They also made an interactive light show for our party this summer.
The masked phantom started working with Durantini this year, bringing visual material to his DJ sets. The imagery is crisp and glows with an otherworldly sheen, similar to his sounds. Strangely though, their movement is totally divorced from the music. He's been making similar visuals for Holy Other as well.
This club in Switzerland installed a ridiculous immersive environment built by Tarrabass. So you think your little projection screen is next level?
This Dromos project isn't exactly dance-oriented, but it's more engaging than most A/V projects that are. Fraction put together this wrap-around 360 degree visual world for the compositions of Maotik. It premiered during Mutek's Montreal festival this year in the Société des Arts Technologiques' Satosphere, a dome reserved for immersive projects like this.
OK, so this isn't an official collaboration, but MentalDisorder's visuals are on point. The stark red, black, and white shapes demand your attention but keep in line with the beat so you can hold your rhythm.
It's pretty much impossible to write about video projections and light installations without mentioning these guys. They run shit. Any musician should be happy to work with them. This one features some background music by Thomas Vaquié. Just hit play and bask in the alternate reality they create.
Mike Steyels can't wait for the future to get here - @iswayski