This year is a pivotal year for L.E.V. Festival as they take residence in Madrid for the first time. When we attended L.E.V. way back in 2014, we were astounded by the potential of this seemingly small festival in Gijón. It inspired us with its delicate combination of musical and audio-visual performance, its variation between genres and the balance between sit-down performances and exceptionally well-curated concerts. We loved the daytime with the change of venue to the botanical gardens, and ending the day in a church.

1. Plaid – Polymer, Live AV

As LEV themselves state on their website, Plaid is able to fill venues as diverse as the Sydney Opera House, right through to Berghain.

On Warp Records, as they approach their 30th anniversary, Plaid are a clear reference to the industry.

“The problems and benefits of Polymers felt like good themes for this album, their repetitious strength, endurance and troubling persistence, the natural versus the synthetic, silk and silicone, the significant effect they have on our lives.” – Plaid

Dancers, inspired by the colossal quantities of plastic in our oceans, shows that Polymer is much more than just a musical performance, but an artistic reference to the world context in which their creation has been made. The official music video, whilst quite surrealist, and disturbing, is strangely beautiful. We’re really excited to see how this can translate to a live visual performance.

2. SPIME.IM

This seems to be the technological performance of the festival. With growing exploration into the world of virtual and digital technologies, new media art really is at the cutting edge of what’s to come and is an exhilirating way to be introduced to new world contexts.

EXALAND is an AV performance using ‘wearable controllers,’ which we imagine to be a development on what we saw with Chagall’s performance using the mi.mu gloves at Sonar Festival some years back http://www.audiovisualcity.org/avcity/2016/05/23/sonarplusd-chagall-mi-mu-gloves/

These guys have got all of the buzz words Audioreactive Video Projection and an Audioreactive Video in VR/360°, as well as 3D art and electronic music, not forgetting of course, immersive.

We’re interested to see this interactive performance for the visual aesthetic and graphics, and of course, one of the audiovisual artist’s favourite topics: audio-reactivity.

3. HP [HASWELL&POWELL] W/ VISUALS BY MATHIAS GMACHL

We’re always intrigued by a write-up that focuses a lot on the visual aspect of the performance, particularly as this isn’t always common practice in the industry, and the description of Mathias Gmaci, triggers a lot of intrigue.

As director of the studio, Loop, who create ‘experiences and environments that radically rethink the future’, we get the impression that this will be yet another audiovisual performance to remember.

‘Mathias Gmachl is a trans-disciplinary artist, researcher and design thinker. He is director of studio Loop.pH founded in 2003 to form an entirely new creative practice that reaches beyond specialist boundaries by facilitating collaborative spaces, mediating between digital & biological media and intervening at an urban scale to re-imagine life in the city.’ -L.E.V.

4. Nkisi: Initiation Live AV
Based in London, and coming to L.E.V with a new live AV format in collaboration with artist Charlie Hope, Nkisi promises ‘African rhythms, uncompromising European hard dance tropes, foreboding synth melodies and a relentless, galvanising energy, as harnessed for her increasingly kinetic live performances.’

If that isn’t a description to get the juices going, we don’t know what is. Unable to find any link to Charlie Hope’s previous work, we decided we’d leave this one as a surprise (although we did catch a few exciting sneaky glimpses on Instagram of a performance at Kraftwerk, Berlin…shhhh).

It’s always good to leave a performance for surprise, we think.

5. Alessandro Cortini – VOLUME MASSIMO Live AV

Volume Massimo debuted at Berlin Atonal just a few days ago and will tour all the way to the Barbican in London. Like Plaid, the visual aesthetic is photographic, and is said to take the audience on an emotional journey, using music as a map for life’s journey. It tells the story via footage from the family archives.

Synthesizers, combined with memory, this will be another piece to make us think. Oh, and did we forget to mention that he’s best known as the keyboard for Nine Inch Nails, not to mention has collaborated with the likes of Ladytron and is now member of Los Angeles alternative electronic band, SONOIO.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re planning on attending the event, get in touch and we’ll see you there!

Hayley Cantor

Hayley Cantor

Hayley is a Graphic Designer and VJ, who dabbles in a wide range of fields including Psychology and Copywriting. In her spare time she trots around the globe with a backpack and swings about in a hammock. She adores paper and her camera is her third arm.

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