Absolut Electrik London- Exploring the future of nightlife
You’d be forgiven for thinking that nightlife and clubbing experiences don’t need to change. All you really need is a space to dance and the music to carry you. The rapid sell-out success of Four Tet’s annual Brixton Academy all-nighter every October is testament to this. Famously, he wanted no frills, no light shows; just the music speaking for itself and commanding the venue. And I agree with the importance of the bare bones approach, but if there’s room for pushing boundaries in any realm, it’s in the experience of music.
Last Thursday, Absolut attempted to do just that. Armed with R&S and Marshmallow Laser Feast collaborations (the former one of the most well-respected electronic labels around, the latter an innovative design studio specialising in visual effects), they put on a pretty extravagant display at Pulse in Waterloo.
Stand-outs in terms of visual and musical synergy were Moiré and Lone’s sets. During Moiré’s house set, a real-time golden hologram of him sparkled and flowed across a transparent screen in front of the decks. People were staggered, rapidly snapping and tweeting: the wave of social media pats on the back for Absolut began. Lone, DJ and super-producer, played a selection of his finest warped and melodic hip-hop infused tracks. He enjoyed the apt accompaniment of thousands of tiny coloured lights, starting their life behind him, soaring down each side of the room, and shooting off “into the distance” on the back wall. For those on the dancefloor, it gave the surreal and dizzying effect of travelling at speed through space.
Stepping away from the dancefloor, Absolut’s perfectly mixed and potent cocktails were on offer at the bar, whilst their new silver vodka bottles were found artistically and precariously suspended in a wire structure (into which one of my friends fell, frantically became tangled, and had to be plucked out of). Adding to the visual extravagance of the night was a room in which you could have an individual virtual reality experience via a headset: a landscape rolling and expanding and pulsating in time with the music before your eyes. A recipe for motion sickness, but rather epic nonetheless.
AV shows are nothing new, but there was no doubt that the visual technology used was hugely enhancing for the whole experience: an authentic night carefully thought-out by Absolut. If they wanted to get people talking and tweeting in amazement, it worked: their social channels were awash with stunning shots of the evening. The latest technology coupled with credible and current musicians positioned them firmly as a forerunner of both believable and effective brand alignment with the arts.