The addition of visuals to live musical performances has transformed traditional concerts into immersive fantasy worlds. One particular method of visual stimulation, liquid light shows, are seeing a resurgence.
The origins of this mystifying kaleidoscopic presentation stem from the 60's San Francisco counterculture. The basis of the technology needed for the projections include an old-school overhead projector, and two glass clock faces. Between the glass faces, mineral inks, oil and water exist in a constant state of flux, morphing and changing form to the tune of the audio, and displaying an array of vivid colours.
Some modern artists have decided to ramp up the experience by adding various effects boxes and video projections, while some stick to the classic analogue style. Fuzz Club will be presenting a two-part blog series highlighting notable performers in this craft. First up will be innerstrings, who is based in the UK out of Lewes.
Above image: Aquaserge by Andrea Shamlou
Photo Credit: innerstrings by Ollie Thomas Photography
Chris aka innerstrings was inspired by electric visuals at an early age. "My fascination for liquid light projection dates back to the 1970's, when as a child I saw my first psychedelic light show at a party in the Village Hall. It was an all encompassing affair and I remember my eyes being firmly planted on the ceiling for the duration of the evening", he shared.
"I’m amazed that several years after the initial spark of interest in psychedelic music again, that it is still going from strength to strength....Psych has never really left my consciousness though, there was a revival of sorts in the late 80's early 90's with bands such as Spacemen 3, Loop, The Shamen and Levitation ploughing that furrow." While he is most ardently inspired by the music itself, he notes filmmaker and fellow lights wizard Julian Hand as one of his favourite contemporaries.
Photo Credit: Aquaserge, by Andrea Shamlou
Recently, the innerstrings light show has provided a delightful backdrop of contortions for several festivals and acts, including the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, past editions of the Lewes Psychedelic Festival, and the first reunion show for pioneering shoegazers Ride. "Highlights would have to be 10000 Russos and Lola Colt, who were incredible at the last Fuzz Club show at The Brewhouse. The one performance that really springs to mind though is Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe at Liverpool. That room was rammed, and the performance was flawless, everything fell into place visually too. It took a while to wind down after that!"
In creating his shimmering atmospheres, Chris celebrates the spontaneity that encompasses the spirit of liquid lights. "Once the technical side of things has been sorted, which can be very stressful, once I’m in the zone, I’m very relaxed. You have to place a lot of faith in yourself that despite the random and unpredictable nature of the visuals, everything will be OK. Because the majority of my visuals are analogue at source, and weren’t pre-prepared, you really have to be on the ball, especially with live feedback visuals. Quite often, I just don’t have enough hands to operate the cameras, the laptop and effects at the same time."
Equally at home in the dance music scene, he enjoys working in spaces with crowded dance floors, low ceilings, and crisp white walls that will enhance the dizzying rainbow swirls he produces. "A decent selection of Real Ales is quite important too!" he adds.
Photo Credit: Soccer96 by Andrea Shamlou
Fans of innerstrings' oceanic projections can catch him performing alongside acts at the upcoming Under The Arches (presented by Fuzz Club, monthly starting March 5th), Cosmosis Festival (March 12th), and the revival of Lewes Psych Fest (March 19th, which will include music from The Cult of Dom Keller).
- Lindsay Krause