Ryoji Ikeda

Last week I worked for the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda at the ‘Concert Building‘ in Bruges. Three days of connecting projectors, screens, finetuning the system and wondering how the man could’ve possibly overloaded the subwoofer amplifiers like he did during the rehearsal could not have prepared me for the trip I was gonna make when the show finally started. It was insane. I’ve been working for live shows for 5 years now but I have never ever ever been as impressed as I was last wednesday. I don’t know that much about the man right now, so do expect a proper post about him (he definitely deserves that, since the following description below was written right after the show. I was still totally overwhelmed and used a lot of swearwords to put force to my views.
Here we go:

I’m not really able to describe everything properly but I’ll try.
The show starts with ten minutes of repetitive bleeps and cracks, from the lowest to the highest possible borders of our sound spectrum. Slowly a tone lower than the devil’s voice starts coming up until you remember very clearly how it feels when you’re about to vomit after you’ve eaten way too much. There’s not really a big build-up, this goes on for ten minutes. After that time the bleeps get more intense and a full automatic machine gun would sound like a whisper next to it. Read: this show is fucking fucked up loud. Then, when you feel dead, there’s a build up, and just when you realize you feel so numb and weak inside it fu. king. explodes. AND THEN IT GETS LOUD. Sound is attacking your eardrums at 1231480 BPM, the projection visuals would make Jesus have an epilepsy attack and what the fuck, it is so brutal. I don’t often swear this often in a blog post but this guy just pushed every limit. Every time the music abruptly stopped I was honestly afraid of what was gonna come next. During the show I felt physically attacked by some sort of digital monster that was out to rape all humanity. I must admit I prepared myself for the show the Dutch way als je weet wat ik bedoel.
A lot of people left during the show, I think when they realized there would be absolutely no music to be played. These people were wrong. It was gorgeous.
In short, it sounded like a God Machine was rebooting your hearing capabilities, reaching all the possible frequencies at all possible volume levels. And also like some sort of divine supercomputer took an overly potent hallucinogenic drug and had a really messed up panic attack and someone connected a speaker to all that.
In super short: if you’re into trippyness and you wanna know what it feels like to get kicked in the existence, go see this guy’s show. It kicks ass and no youtube clip could possibly recreate how beautifully raped my ears feel now.

it sounded pretty much like this:

and this:

and this times a FUCKING BILLION:


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