TVD Recommends: Shpongle at Minglewood Hall, tomorrow, 4/11

What? You like crazy psychedelic music? You’re into futuristic tunes that bridge gaps between different cultures and genres that are worlds apart? You’re into mind-altering visuals and an incredibly involving musical experience?

Well, I think we have the perfect recommendation for you. World famous electronic artist Shpongle are bouncing through Memphis to play at Minglewood Hall tomorrow, April 11th.

In anticipation for the incredible evening, I had the pleasure of chatting with Shpongle’s Simon Posford about music, performing, and of course, vinyl!

If you’re unfamiliar with Shpongle live, it’s the visual equivalent of overindulging your eyes in a buffet of modern mysticism caked in overtly trippy visuals. As the conversation began, Posford discussed the difference between this expedition and those of Shpongle’s past. For old school Shpongle fans, this event will be a treat! The masquerade is for those who saw Spongletron; it’s an expansion of that—bigger, brighter, trippier.

With such an interest in a live visual aesthetic, I asked how that component played into the big picture of Shpongle. Posford told me that when Shpongle made music, they would often start with a visual idea, an image. A most recent work was based on CERN, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Visual cues of particles colliding, explosions, accelerations—all were taken into account for the aural aesthetic.

As we discussed the importance of visual color and variety, the conversation found its way to the idea of global communication with art as the vehicle and how composers are using more sounds from all over the world rather than those unique to their geographical or cultural centers. Posford waxed over this adoption of artistic globalization.

“I think it’s great. I think purism is the death of innovation. If you’re making rules and ignoring other influences, choosing to stick to some arbitrary genre and rules that you’ve decided in your head, then you’re closing your mind to a lot of opportunities and inspiration. I personally love Indian music, Moroccan music. I can’t help but listen and be like a sponge, soaking up these influences. You squeeze a sponge, and they all come dripping out. I think it’s great—the more people do that, the better. We are living in a ‘global village,’ as people call it. Everything is accessible now, so why not get in there, listen to it, and get inspired by it.”

The conversation moved into a discussion of the idea of digitally distributed music versus its vinyl counterpart and the important role it plays in establishing a psuedo-permanence to the art involved. Posford spoke of the disposability in music—how music has almost become useless or has very low value. He asserted, “As an artist, you’re expected to give away your music for free or not complain when people download it for free, whereas in the past, getting an album was a big deal. We have tens of thousands of songs on our iPod and really only listen to a fraction of it. That wouldn’t happen in the past. If you bought an album, and you didn’t like it, you’d take it back.”

After an entertaining and enlightening conversations with a member of the modern day electronic music elite, I have updated my fan status from “interested” to “hardcore.” That, along with the undeniable temptation to get Posford’s perspective that “purism is the death of innovation” tattooed on my arm leads me to whole-heartedly endorse the show to come.

You can find more information about Shpongle and their amazing live show at Minglewood Hall tomorrow (4/11) at Minglewood’s website. I will most definitely be getting boogie to one of the best shows around next week, and I hope to see you there!

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