The Volt 2010 festival report
The Volt crew came back with yet another festival at the concert hall in Uppsala. I recognized a lot of faces from last year. It feels like Volt only invites their friends to perform, but with friends like these, who could blame them? And if it wasn’t for the friendship, we wouldn’t be there either.
The VJ line up was actually pretty much identical to last year. Me (The Midi Thief) and Ben (Synthetics) from Instructions, Morrsken, Lysbang and the Vidiots, Joel Dittrich and Martin Söderblom. The Field had brought their own VJ, Victor Tarre, who did wonderful visuals for The Field‘s live set.
There was a part in Tarre’s visuals that looked like they were parts of a music video. It was made with few clips but cut in a very neat way. I got hold of Victor Tarre and asked him a few questions about his techniques and work process.
TMT = Me/The Midi Thief, VT = Victor Tarre
TMT: Is this material from a music video?
VT: The idea comes from an early draft of a music video for the Field that was never finished. Originally I thought of using the studio footage and the outdoors footage with 50% opacity composed on top of each other to create the feeling of “a giant” that uses buildings and things as instruments. This technique has been used in many movies before special effects, 3D and tracking was invented. The technique is based on having a lot of contrast in size between the two clips that are matched against each other. For example, a book could become a container, a cassette tape could be a car on a street, a bridge could be a harp.
When the footage had been filmed and captured we realized that it was a bit slow and boring having these clips multiplied on top of each other. Axel’s (The Field) music is not at all boring, rather funky and danceable. The music is built up by fragment and to use the same fragment approach on the movie clips seemed to work out great.
A display of Victor Tarre’s techniques
TMT: First I didn’t realize that it was live visuals. It was so tight that I thought it was triggered from Ableton Live over MIDI sync. Also because of the few clips used, it seemed unnecessary to use a VJ. So I was surprised when Axel told me that your were mixing it live. Could you tell us about how you synced up with Axel and what hardware and software you were using?
VT: I use software from the stone age called Wirecast that is made for editing live television. The program is really simple but since I only have film clips and never use graphics or typography interactively during the performances, Wirecast does it’s job. The synchronization is an illusion. The brain wants to put images together with sound and since it’s a pretty intensive play with perspectives or brains will fix the rest. But of course, I have different speeds that I know works when the clips work together the music’s BPM.
Me and Ben were happy to have received the evening’s prime spot, The Le Petit Orb live set, a streamlined version of the legendary British The Orb. Graphically we were more in sync than ever and we were really pleased with how the evening turned out. You can read more about the gig on our blog, www.instructions.se
Martin & Joel did a marathon set in one of the DJ rooms. I stopped by during the Chinese DJ act B6 and it both looked and sounded great. They had talked to B6 before the gig and decided on an abstract theme. The Vidiots were doing visuals for Shinedoe, a female Dutch DJ and remix artist. They had left their midi controllers at home but luckily we cold lend them ours which I think are the exact same ones as they usually use. It took a little while for the boys to get into the groove but once they did they delivered a potpourri of great Vidiots VJ classics. I didn’t get to see Lysbang’s nor Morrsken’s sets but it’s always a pleasure to meet them.
The Vidiots visuals for Shinedoe
The night ended up with a VJ/DJ Sandwich party (oh no, not THAT kind of sandwich…) in the hotel lobby. We had Gabba techno girl Funky Tuna, techno legend Håkan Lidbo, Shinedoe, me, Ben, Joel Dittrich and a sleeping Martin Söderblom. Pretty cheerful crowd that no outsider could break into and believe me there were attempts. There was this strange fellow that showed up. Picture this: A middle aged man, kind of buff in sweat pants and a yellow busy Ed Hardy t-shirt, eye shadow and a plate of french fries. He started rambling about having 4 mille alcohol in his blood and having to leave his Porsche (stuffed with no less than four Fender Stratocasters) around the corner. He also claimed to have been bitten by a cobra about a week earlier and he had a red swollen leg to show for it. None of us had any muster left to deal with this guy so he wandered off to the hotel shop and started stealing ladies underwear (at least that’s what it looked like because I… that’s what it looked like).