Hive 015: Veejay vs. Deejay

The Hive Collective, Alextronic, Jasbof, Adam Sloan, Up You, Bill Payer
The Box at FACT
10th May 2006

Reviewed by Amanda DeAngeles

Here's my verdict: I had no idea who did what, as there were no intros or running order announcements and my psychic power had crashed . . . assuming I had any to start with.

INTRO & ACT 1 - A large African woman seems sad as she watches overlaid, urban scenes. Music is akin to Tony Hart's Gallery (70s kids TV show featuring art - I wish they'd repeat it. I loved Morph). It was a breezy enough start for me, in the sofa-box lounge of FACT.

BTW I don’t think that sprawling on sofas lends itself to the stratosphere of this type of music. It seemed very odd, in fact.

Four rectangle pictures, set centrally, with no precision, flicked on and off the big screen. Shorter than seconds, repeated images were flashed, focused, blurred, zoomed and overlaid. A young Queen Elizabeth I (perhaps) waved happily, as a soldier carried a gun and walked purposefully towards us, in a neighbouring rectangle. A fingerprint and images of tower blocks in New York gave me a terrible kick in my gut. Thankfully, I didn't need to get up and walk out.

An out-of-sequence, loudspeaker countdown boomed, with blips and distorted electronica. Images - some subliminal - were hypnotic and it was impossible to stay with it. It was unsettling. The music continued with The Statue of Liberty and a race along Brooklyn Bridge. This cinematic view was as though the camera sped along, unaided by transport. Thought-provoking sound and light indeed, but I think I could have put it together myself, on a laptop.

The next section was more upbeat: a skateboarder-versus-tread. I turned around and noticed two people were slapping their hands over a pair of projector beams to create the flashed images. It was a visual drum-machine!
A product of youth’s information-overload was evident in this work.

ACT 2-Next, a performance-DJ bit:

Tables were set up with machines, decked, in front of the silver screen. Two fellas got busy with a circuit board operation. The music was more creative here. I heard a middle aged man complaining on a telephone about money demands to a call centre. Fizzy drumbeats, static, and howling winds blasted over a steady, repetitive and carefully constructed beat, with drum and bass. A scrambled mix of 'Will you still love me tomorrow?’ was the only recognizable melody I heard. This was highly entertaining and hiked up further, above the phone-call. Live 'Woo'; onomatopoeic sound, was breathed into a hooked-up mic. The DJ/VJs checked their game of timing with nods of their heads. Scratching, explosions, rapid bird-song and electronic waffle boards, progressed until the telephone call ended with: "Well you should know, don't get mad at me." in a fantastic northern accent. This was a highlight for me and other viewer/listeners, who rushed forward and took photographs or recorded on mobile phones of the machines both DJ/VJs were toying with.

BACK to an American theme: “Michigan White Panthers” commentary interspersed with funky beats and a solid aura of a neon, dancing woman, surrounded by revolving 3D shapes and blasts of (predominantly) pink or green light. Plenty of city warning signs of PROHIBITION etc. “Yo, tell me when to’, is cut off in its prime and then a French rapper dominates the sound. A robot spun around the screen.

Square kaleidoscopic images moved as slow as an escalator and more drum and bass featured in the sound. Images of train tracks and overhead cables raced as glow woman persisted. This was a fairground ride; music/art was young, fresh, and political without words.

ACT 3- Black and white - I missed colour, after such a barrage of it, but this definitely contrasted. A stick, sun image and a delicate musical box sound revolved a bird. This was coupled with audio of funk and stilted static. A hand tried to grab the bird, but the ink drawn picture suffered a severed finger. The circle of sun spun, like a droning washing machine as an overlay of oriental speech filtered through.

Panpipes, D&B and electronica, fused to explode a thorn in a bubble. A nerdy collection of stamps and beer-mats was accompanied by a bleat of a teenage philosopher. The spinning bird returned. The VJ style streams, but topics are not segued. An architectural -3D building plan circles about. The music is a continuous drone of electronica/funk. People are exiting and entering the box-lounge. A medley of a man-deer-balaclava, snappy teeth, another spiky ball and New York Times Square is accompanied by the return of the musical box and great alliteration of “Need-a-drink, booze!” zig-a-zig-aaah’d.

I left to top-up my caffeine levels.

Overall - I think this was an interesting evening, but it lacked club atmosphere. I left early.

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