Squarepusher unleashes the light with his visual show
If Squarepusher’s latest show is any indication, the days of lonely men twiddling knobs on a dark stage for a smallish group of enthralled trainspotters epileptically twitching and flailing are swiftly being relegated to the dustbins of history.
Neither inherently good nor bad, this does seem to mark a turning point as what used to be called IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) goes mainstream in North America. Bombastically blasting across the continent with Skrillex at the forefront, the I has been dropped in favor of E—as if there was any dance music made in this day and age that isn’t “electronic”—and the remains of rave culture are consumed by the mainstream.
One certainly can’t fault Squarepusher for reaping what he has sown, or using the visual technology now available to create a wall of light to hide within—this is the future coming home to roost and a logical extension of earlier experiments in the dark.
The minimalist maximalist white light show, topped off with an LED helmet that inevitably evokes Daft Punk (or Deadmau5 if you’re newer to IDM), is a synapse-exploding experience that’s stadium or mega-rave worthy. Created to support Ufabulum—the album Squarepusher released on Warp earlier this year, which leans more towards his acid than jazz tendencies—the visuals are a blinking, flashing assault of white light punctuated by gentler geometric interludes that render the music visible.
The circles becomes full, squares are pushed, and the darkness explodes with music. And this, after all, is what it’s always been about.