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apex

one of the hallmarks of a really good time, for me, is when i seem to be able to create entertaining stories (well, maybe only entertaining for me) from even the smallest details. there are certain times when i simply feel so energised, so excited, that every individual gesture or image seems to be worth pausing to describe.

i could write an entire entry here simply describing the agonising logistics of my cab ride to the first night of the apex festival in new york, having confused the street address when i tried to go by subway. i could go on about getting dropped off nowhere close to my destination, because the cab driver who picked me up couldn't be bothered to figure out where he was headed and had grown bored trying. and i could further add something on my misadventures trotting around the increasingly abandoned streets of new york in a pair of boots that were decidedly not made for walking, until i found my path blocked by the crater of ground zero, its hazy gloaming haunting the surrounding blocks (no wonder cab drivers don't want to go there). there are dozens of these little vignettes that made up my experience this weekend, each of them potentially a piece of writing on their own.

alternately, i could stick to reporting the facts. i could list off the tracks played in my dj set- the first one i've done in some years and enough to remind me in short order what i once really enjoyed about the experience. i could give reviews of each of the ten performances over the course of the weekend, pausing to reflect on the difficulties of mounting an effective stage show in the power electronics/ dark ambient genre, particularly for performers who rely on digital equipment ("is that band playing or are they checking their email?"). that would inevitably lead to an aside about the powerful intimidation of texas' steel hook prostheses, or the engagingly humourous persona of deutsch nepal.

either of those methods would allow me to communicate something of the weekend i passed in new york, but both would be inadequate. listing off tracks that i played as a dj would not explain the peculiarly gratifying experience of playing for an audience familiar with what i was doing- a first for me. likewise, talking about the jolt of fear that shot through me when a microphone went whizzing past my head and landed, still live, with a gunshot crack a foot away from me would reveal nothing about the murky vocals and the combination of electronics with live processed sounds that made that particular set a high point in the weekend.

of the bands who played- post scriptum, travis morgan, sistrenatus, visions, herbst 9, skincage, steel hook prostheses, land : fire, bain wolfkind and deutsch nepal, there was a surprising variety- i'd heard most of them but seen none. the second night had a particularly good variety of sounds, helping to keep the energy level building throughout. when i look back on it, i'm sort of awestruck at the amount of work involved- work that people like me don't get to see- in putting on something of this magnitude and to have it come off with no major flaws. the success of the larger picture is what kept me energetic and happy enough to observe the details of the proceedings that form my own personal memory bank.

Comments

Michael Begg said…
"is that band playing or are they checking their email?"
I do love that!
After the last show I played with Fovea Hex someone observed "They are a beautiful band but why do they have their accountant on stage"?
If you come up with any answers as to how to make laptop twiddling more physically arresting let me know!
I would suggest using a minicam set up behind the laptop artist, projecting on a screen onstage what he/she is doing... which might take away some of the magic, but it insures that they are not faking it ;)
pelao said…
better set that minicam elsewhere, possibly innardwise...

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