“Sometimes trying to categorise a DJ’s music into a set genre feels mildly offensive. This is definitely true for Dixon, who traversed the boundaries of time, space and style with his track choices.”
Dixon’s mind-blowing Printworks debut has irreversibly redefined clubbing. It’s paved the way for a breathtaking new era of AI-based electronic performances, incorporating holograms, lasers and VR. That the event was so pioneering in its scope stems from Transmoderna, a hybrid collective sitting at the apex of electronic music and digital arts. The group, comprised of four core members alongside its co-founder, Dixon, includes specialists in visual tech development, creative directing and film-making. Together they left thousands of attendees in complete awe at indescribable visuals, created in real-time, that synched with Dixon’s beats. The Innervisions label boss commanded the crowd from the start and throughout with an inimitable 11 hour set that spanned a vast array of genres.
Dixon opened with experimental ambient tunes that echoed throughout the cavernous corners and dark passages of the once-largest printing factory in Western Europe. A giant tunnel of laser-beam light shone down the length of the Press Halls and culminated in the Transmoderna insignia, which glowed like a planet above the decks. Soon came steady techno rhythms with drums that resonated from all corners of the globe. Thin curtains of white light cascaded down from above as hypnotic vocal tracks swirled through the air. The crowd was already mesmerised by the time that the LED back screens were awoken into full force; cobwebs of light spilt onto giant panels that lined both sides of the room.
Sometimes trying to categorise a DJ’s music into a set genre feels mildly offensive. This is definitely true for Dixon, who traversed the boundaries of time, space and style with his track choices. Trying to Shazam parts of his mix proved to be futile in such a massive room, but this almost intensified the mystery and other-worldliness of everything around you. The crowd was diverse in every sense. One of the first couples I walked past at around 1pm looked to be in their early 70’s. Dressed in colourful Innervisions apparel, I came across that same couple raving 9 hours later towards the front of the stage. The thousands that attended the sold-out event were consistently hell-bent on dancing and losing themselves in the whole experience.
As the crowd began to swell I dipped off to get a taste for Transmoderna’s VR installation, ’TERRAFORMING’. Hidden away in a concrete bunker at the opposite end of the venue was a circle of VR headsets playing a 7-minute film. This was, without a doubt, the trippiest video I’d watched in a long while. You went from levitating several feet above the ground in a virtual recreation of the Printworks Press Hall (where Dixon was performing), to floating through the insides of some vividly multi-coloured alien. Dixon had handpicked a collection of avant-garde electronica to heighten the experience even further. Walking back onto the dancefloor, you felt as if the alternate world that Transmoderna had sought to create had shifted into a state of reality.
The atmosphere became even more surreal as the event continued. Green and pink plasma mutated and bubbled quickly on screen as the BPM of Dixon’s set increased. The team worked wonders in radically transforming visuals from track to track, and sometimes within the space of a single tune. You went from dancing in the dizzying heights of the starry cosmos to being engulfed by rippling red water and fiery magma. A standout for me was coming face-to-face with the bobbing head of a towering deep-sea creature, which leant over to look you hard in the eye.
Everything started thumping through after 5pm. The main LED screen, weighing 3 tonnes, flipped down to hang closely above the DJ decks. Dixon switched all systems into overdrive; the music shifted into a more overtly club-orientated direction whilst still remaining heavily eclectic. Egyptian and Aztec imagery morphed into each other at a rapid pace as more and more people joined Dixon on stage. It was euphoric expressions all round by the time we reached the climactic end to a truly special day.