Picture a club like you’ve never seen it before: an open circular room, stage and DJ rotating on a swivel, 360 degree sound-system, and a light show covering the entire three-dimensional space. There is no VIP, no backstage, no one place better than another to experience the sound and visuals best. This is not just another 2-D space, you are a part of the environment. Is this the future of clubbing? We sure as hell think so.

This weekend, world renowned light-artist Christopher Bauder and musician Kangding Ray activated the audio-visual masterpiece SKALAR for one of the world’s most ambitious rave experiences to date.

What is usually home to the Amsterdam techno mogul Awakenings, the SKALAR team gave a new meaning to the Gashouder, the circular industrial building located in the Westergas cultural complex. Instead of a traditional 2-D stage and lighting formation, the artists felt compelled to work with the architecture of the building and adapt the exhibition into a 360 degree immersive environment.

In collaboration with Berlin’s design and art studio WHITEvoid, the exhibition includes 61 swiveling circular mirrors, 90+ free-range lights, and the most kick-ass 360 degree sound system you’ve ever heard.

Opening the night were hometown heroes Deniro and Elias Mazian
who neatly sparked the night with housey and soulful tunes. As the evening progressed, the SKALAR installation increasingly intensified, teasing the audience with a taste for what’s to come. At 2AM sharp, the Parisian musician Kangding Ray presented a never-before-heard live hardware techno act paired with a never-before-seen visual improvisation of SKALAR by Christopher Bauder. The mind-bending techno set attendee’s into a trance as the awaited the main act of the night. As the clock struck 3:30AM sharp, Korean Queen of house and techno gracefully took the stage; none other than Peggy Gou.

Ms. Gou is a notorious selector who always curates for her environment and SKALAR was no exception. Her ability to swim through various genres and energy-levels was captivating. Standing on the rotating stage, Gou constantly interacted with her crowd, showing love and appreciation for being invited to captain such a unique stage.

Throughout the month-long residency, Audio Obscura offered three uniquely different experiences for your mind to play with the installation: Exhibition, Live-show, & Rave.

The exhibition, open nearly every-day, was a programmed loop of SKALAR’s most impressive formations and sounds. This was the only opportunity to get intimate with the installation and move freely around the room to experience all perspectives on the masterpiece.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All visitors of the show last Saturday are invited to check out the exposition for free on Tuesday or Wednesday, courtesy of Audio Obscura. They want the visitors to have the chance to experience the special art installation in its purest form. You can use the same ticket as you used for Saturday’s show.

The Live-show is the artist’s bread and butter, the best way to experience the installation. Each of the 6 sold-out live performances were uniquely improvised and illustrated true artist expression. The hour-long live performance punches you into an intense, meditative state as the artists improvise and explore the depths of light and sound design.

Lastly, the #SKALARave was its own beast. An experiment only made possible by Audio Obscura and their willingness to push the boundaries of the traditional rave experience.

While the was personally the most unique event I have ever attended, I can’t help but think about whether or not this type of experience will be adopted in the future. At first I found myself, as well as many around me, confused with this new environment. The speakers are behind me, DJ swiveling around, and there’s no one point to look at. My brain is so used to the two-dimensional concert that it took me a while to open up to a new type of experience. However, after those eight relentless hours of intergalactic euphoria, I knew that Christoper Bauder, Kangding Ray and Audio Obscura were up to something special. We’re just lucky to have witnessed it.

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Photo Credit:
Tim Buiting and Kirsten van Santen