Absolutely not what you are expecting. Infinitely better. Rave is an immersive psychedelic experience you can exit at any time, but I highly recommend you don’t. It’ll suck you in and spit you out, arguably as a better person than you arrived.
An on-screen acid trip that’ll suck you in and spit you out
Billed as live music, Rave sets strange expectations for itself. People who come for a rave, hoping to gyrate in a dark room and forget their problems, will be disappointed by the traditional seated arrangement best suited for a piece of introspective theatre. But Rave should certainly be taken in sitting down, as you’re bound to melt into your chair and lose yourself within Pharos’ psychedelic projections.
The audience are likely to talk over the visuals to flirt, murmur and order more drinks, but sit up front and their voices become mere echoes to the consuming focus of the screen and music. The takeaway is transient, very much a reflection of your own thoughts, your deepest and darkest desires reflected back to you.
To watch Rave is to experience your own humanity. The natural world on screen is overlaid and manipulated. Clouds morph into faces, waves curl into logarithmic spirals, mountains diffuse into fractals, and the line between humanity and nature disappears. You’ll witness the psychedelic implosion of human civilisations through time, returning to the baseline of the enduring natural world to set you straight again.
Using waveform technology to pull at the back the layers of our consciousness, Edinburgh-born musician/producer Fraser Lawson (artist name Pharos), converts graphic data into sound, turning waves of light, frequency and amplitude into music and enabling us to make multi-sensory connections with the landscapes on screen.
Benefiting also from the insane acoustics of the century-old brick arches of The Caves venue, Rave adds another dimension to the hair-raising percussion, synth and keyboard melodies that speak distinctly to us and our position in the space.
With multidimensional trickery and euphoric beats, Lawson teases us into remembering our deepest connections, to Earth as well as the scariest and freest parts of ourselves. But Rave only works if you tune in to the frequency of the artist’s truth, recognising his innate desire to connect with the world around him, and then our own.
It’s about the subjectivity of experience, but also the universality of it. As the set draws to a close, the screen subtly zooms out, as if to remind us that this is not real. Then the full screen is restored, and we realise; we are living it – the mind-bending reality that Lawson presents is our own everyday reality, the biggest trip of all.
When someone rises at the end of the show and yells ‘that’s dangerous, that’s fucked up’ followed by a woman spontaneously bursting into tears, my review had pretty much written itself. But to lead with that would be to do this piece of art the biggest disservice that anyone could do. So, I’ll just end with it instead.