As the annual anticipation for the Osheaga festival heats up again here in Montreal, the pre-festival line up of shows is helping to fuel that anticipation. DJ Food and the SAT Satosphere presented the North American-debut of The Search Engine last night at the Dome 360 in collaboration with a bevy of sponsors and an array of the latest technology that has already seemed to render last years’ shows obsolete.
The show itself was premiered at London’s Planetarium last fall and was created with the support and input of astronomers from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich – a direct mix of sound and music from The Search Engine, set and choreographed to visuals provided by the astronomers themselves and presented in one super-simultaneous performance to the audience who, it is safe to say, had never experienced anything of this depth or magnitude ever before.
Last night’s performance did not only accomplish the incorporation of the latest technology into the presentation, it also used that technology to push the limits of artistic expression to create an ambience which may have enabled audience members to experience the music, their feelings and the connections in-between in a way that they had never felt before – no matter how many likewise events they may have previously attended.
Representatives of the Osheaga Festival originally invited DJ Food to Canada last May, as word and reputation of the project spread. It has been over a year now that the production team had been preparing for last night’s performance with workshops and tests incorporating the latest styles into the show. What they have created has progressed to the point of the brand-new and updated presentation made to Montrealers at the Dome 360 last night.
Before the show it was announced that a third date would be added to the pre-Osheaga festivities and that the show had been added due to the immense popularity of the experience. A circular stage became where the audience was perched, on cushions with head rests, designed for comfort – the presentation and show itself took place across the domed-roof.
An eclectic, but focused mix of streaming video and spiraling collage – heavy on celestial symbolism and the use of negative space in a positive framework, was all minutely choreographed to a 50 minute music set, edited and produced by England’s DJ Food himself.
After the performance we caught up with the mastermind of this production to get a bit of background information on the man, his mission and his outlook.
“I don’t even know what to call this type of presentation,” said DJ Food, after the show. “There were no parameters to work with because nothing like this has ever been done before – I think it is fair to say this is a ‘work in progress’.”
As all the imagery was matched and synchronized perfectly to the 50 minute music set it was good to get an understanding of both DJ Food’s musical and visual influences.
“I was heavily influenced by The Art of Noise, that’s for sure – Brian Eno, London Factory Sound and visually films like Space Odyssey played a part but we have the freedom to push the limits and boundaries to define the style ourselves”.
So if you have a chance to catch the show you would do well to take it in, because chances are you won’t see anything like it for quite a while.
And while the Osheaga Festival waits, the bar has been set and then raised – to beyond the Satosphere!
Photos by Iana Kazakova