First, the checklist: Three plasma screens front and center stage, two oversized projection screens over each end of the stage and one massive snowflake-shaped screen between them, two more projections on the walls on either side of the 800-capacity room and additional gobo-seducing snowflakes hanging like chandeliers at odd angles in the center. Okay, let's dance!
More and more, the influence of technology in music's evolution is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, especially within the electronic-music scene. Gone are the days of the vinyl-only purists. With the advent of Stanton FinalScratch, Serato Scratch Live, Native Instruments Traktor, iPods and 320-bit MP3s, it's way too difficult to ignore the amazing superhuman powers that a jockey can now possess. Not only that, but you can only ignore technology so long when you're involved in the realm of electronic music. Technology…electronic…makes sense, right? Well, if it didn't before, Sandra Collins and Vello Virkhaus are making sure it does now with “Interference,” their touring digital-gizmo extravaganza.
For the tour's stop at Hollywood's Avalon nightclub on January 13, the setup was so intense that a schematic and extensive gear list had to be sent to Remix prior to the show. It was like a Los Angeleno mapping out an escape route in the Amazon. A MIDI controller connected to Pioneer DVJs connected to a MacBook connected to infrared cameras connected to Edirol switchers connected to a Korg Kaoss Pad Entrancer connected to a Nikon digital still camera connected to a visual synthesizer connected to the hip bone. Remix swears it spotted a team of pocket-protector-laden IT guys in the shadows, eager to pounce at a kilobyte's notice. But they proved unnecessary.
While Collins dropped the needles on more than 40 original animated works, Virkhaus virtually intercepted the video feeds and remixed them on the spot with additional fills, backspins and live cameras (gasp!), seamlessly. They shared the control booth onstage, occasionally crisscrossing limbs to reach one knob while flipping one switch while clicking on a video file and sliding a fader from side to side, and what came of it was inventive and mesmerizing image manipulation, further adding to the already bumpin' prog-house party.
Oh yeah, by the way: The house was packed and the party was poppin'! Shoulder-to-shoulder bounce, bounce, step, bounce, uh!