Under the right light, stooped at the correct angle, musicians can look like they're at the helm of a galactic craft, steering a collective journey that you and the rest of the strobed room can be part of for the evening. The effect is even more pronounced when they're crouched over electronic equipment; laptops and samplers and constellations of wire, warped and filtered soundwaves emanating from the rig. There's something I find both comforting and adventurous about this idea of musicians as cosmic helmsmen, the stage a command bridge intent on showing us the sonic patterns of new worlds.
Last night, the opening performer wore a white t-shirt, the front of which was almost entirely consumed by a huge, corpse-like head. The luminous outline wavered and shook as the musician applied themselves to their control panel; twisting effect dials, shifting filter parameters, queuing and triggering new layers, fading others out. The face on the shirt became as much a part of the performance for me as the subtones, the atmospheric judder of the bass.
I couldn't stop looking at its glassy eyes. I wondered if they'd chosen the shirt specifically, knowing its presence would be felt by the crowd. In the end, the musician became just a vehicle for that face and the sounds that accompanied it, a carrier for the ghostly being and its sonic realm.