During Decibel Festival, Optical 3: Playful Dischord took place at the Sky Church, this time featuring Berlin's Kangding Ray, Atom™ HD/AV and ending with Oneohetrix Point Never with visual artist Nate Boyce. This stacked line-up explored everything from dance to deep space. Kangding Ray, a former architect and experimenter on label Raster-Noton, brought dance-acceptable but still broken and noisy music to fill the Sky Church. Bodies to the front bobbed like excited atoms, while heads in the back gazed up mesmerized.
Oneohetrix Point Never's release R+1 was a milestone for his kind of ambient experimental electronic music. It is a highly intelligent transcendent album in the genre. Not only did the album cross between genre's of sound experiences, but Daniel Lopatin worked with several astonishing contemporary digital artists to create the video series that accompanied the album, and for Optical 3, he employed to drag a net through the metaphysical realms of animation and dredge up such object drama as could be found for this display. OPN's set included much of R+1, with vocals that soared up into synth-filled heights, confusing the illusion of human's reality with a video game fantasy. A blinking wall of nothing blinked out at us as digital space became filled with strange objects (was that a skull? Anything recognizable?). A narrative unfolded, one that could exist only in a post-human digital wasteland where decay had caused washed up bits of animation to meld and blend together. Optical 3 built a technological religion inside the Sky Church, with discordant digital spaces living out their own private and playful dramas pitched on the wall above our eyes.Kangding Ray:
Oneohetrix Point Never:
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Year in and year out, Optical showcases provide a great many of Decibel Festival’s highlights, and Thursday’s showcase, Optical 2, proved an especially diverse and engaging evening of music as Alice Boman, Survive and Max Cooper offered up compelling sets over the program’s three hour runtime.