Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sensory automatically leads to the stimulation of another – the disease commonly known as the union of senses. Affected persons would perceive certain letters and numbers as inherently coloured or, in the case of sound synesthesia, experience sounds as visual motion and flicker. Mostly it’s the ‘creatives’ diagnosed with synesthesia – big names such as Wassily Kandinski, Franz Liszt or musicians like Billy Joel and singer/songwriter MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS, who reports certain weekdays as coloured.
If you are not one of these super-humans, there is no reason to become desperate. Luckily, there are rare occasions that hold a certain magic and that are able to embrace all of your senses in just one moment. While I expected a seated performance of PANTHA DU PRINCE in a contemporary event hall in London to be somehow unfruitful and sober, it turned out to become just one of these exhilarating moments in life.
Multi-talented electronic musician Hendrik Weber aka PANTHA DU PRINCE was to perform at THE BARBICAN CENTER this weekend together with the norwegian percussion ensemble THE BELL LABORATORY. After releasing their collaborative album Elements Of Life earlier this year, the band has been touring around the world. Now they come back on stage in order to reinterpret the most influential piece of who is seen as the father of minimalism and hypnotic repetition, Terry Riley’s ‘In C’.
Who ever has enjoyed PANTHA DU PRINCE‘s solo laptop performances, can only imagine how impressive it is to see the fulfillment of Weber’s passions in bell orchestra being realized with the help of five bell players confidently performing on numerous instruments: tubular bells, gongs and percussions added an exciting dimension to the usual electronic equipment of synthezisers and Laptops. The 1,5 hour performance was a convention of powerful electronic elements surrounded by romantic and dreamily pieces featuring hand bells and tender beats. Weber was partly operating in his natural sorrounding of electronic equipment but also suprisingly abandoned the technical field to play the bells himself.
To make it an even more special event, the performance was accompanied by a stunning psychedelic light show created by the Joshua Light Show ensemble. The visuals that consisted of flickering lightwaves in numerous colors went with the beat as if it was dancing to the sound of it, shaping forms reminding of fireworks, ultrasound or even the dreaded eye of Sauron. While the interplay of sound and visuals is not new – especially within the electronic genre – the specific harmony of sound, colour and rhythm was very unique in it’s composition and created a magical surrounding that left the audience, including myself, with no choice but acknowledging it with thundering applause. I could not help but get the feeling that even the Londoners, commonly known as not being very enthusiastic, felt like synesthetics for the time – and honestly enjoyed the feeling.