The German word “Gesamtkunstwerk” means the ideal of the complete work of art in which music, visual arts and storytelling are mixed. On the other hand, “Einstein” could be considered as the highest example of human intelligence. Joining both words we get Gesaffelstein. Under this name the Parisian Mike Levy hides in a project that reconciles techno with its industrial roots … Gesaffelstein controls absolutely everything that concerns his direct, from the music to the lights. Thus achieving a strong connection between the audience and the music.
When I bought my tickets for Sónar 2014, I knew I had to do it for Friday night as Gesaffelstein was performing that night.
Before the Parisian’s live show the, another live performance was happening on the same stage. This time it was Moderat. He was also a big reason that made me decide to buy my tickets for Friday.
After the mental and sensory journey through different musical dimensions that the German group provided, Gesaffelstein started his live. Half an hour separated the German sound from the French one, so I took the opportunity to have a little break.
Once I was back, I looked for a good place to enjoy the masterpiece that the Parisian had prepared. There was a completely dark stage from which only a small cabin stood out in the middle. It began to slowly come to life, and a ripped synthesizer sound started to be heard. Gesaffelstein was on stage and everything was beginning to take shape. The ripped synthesizer finished as a completely clean explosion of kicks and snares accompanied by a heavy breath-taking strobe lights rain.
The show had started and the details in the design of the lighting were spectacular, not to mention the small cabin I was talking about previously. At the beginning this small cabin seemed to be a typical one in which any dj could make a set. But not, it wasn’t that way. The cabin was formed by a cuboid with three small steps, simulating a pedestal painted in rust colour. Together with the lighting applied the pedestal imitated cortex steel. This is the kind of steel used in large works of art, which generated the feeling of being in front of a large and powerful element.
Lighting played an important role in the show, it was totally synchronized to the rhythm of Gesaffelstein’s music. He just played with two colours on stage, black and white, nothing more, pure minimalism. This changed unexpectedly in the middle of the show with one of his tracks that had a hellish pleasant sound. Everything changed into a deep red which surprised everyone who was watching that magnificent work of art.
From the ripest electro to the most aggressive techno, everything was impressively normal until he changed his musical style to trap. Suddenly low bpms rhythms with strong sub bass captured all of us. At the same time, on the screen behind Gesaffelstein a black and white US flag was waving as saying: “The sound comes from the US but I produce it too.”
After a spectacular live where lights and sound went hand in hand, Mike Levy finished incredibly. A sequence of images in sepia tone passed at breakneck speed on the screen while a set of sounds wrapped the audience.
Undoubtedly one of the best performances we could see at Sonar 2014.