Plaid @ The Art School, 29 Sep

Live Review by Donald Shields | 05 Oct 2016
  • Plaid Live at The Art School

 A celebration of ambient, electronic psychedelica is first up at The Art School this late evening, courtesy of Konx-om-Pax. The DJ, musician, graphic designer and animator also known as Tom Scholefield performs for the modest crowd who have made the effort to brave a cold and rainy Glasgow night. Scholefield's talent for animation is illustrated on the large projector screen behind him.

The graphic virtuoso has worked with the likes of Hudson Mohawke, Lone, Mogwai and Jamie Lidell, and his often ominous imagery marries well with his dark and progressive electronic sound. A floating, spinning skull disappears into pink clouds, shooting lines of colour next to floating balls of different hues, like a lava lamp on acid. The crowd is engrossed, almost entranced by the audio and visual feast. Konx-om-Pax takes his musical craft as seriously as his graphic work, evident by his concentration on the musical apparatus and relative lack of interaction with the audience.

Plaid, meanwhile, make a whistle-stop visit to Glasgow amidst a massive world tour. The London duo of Andy Turner and Ed Handley are veterans in electronic music having released albums together as far back as the early 1990s. The stage is altered, removing the projector screen and adding in its place a wall of triangles in front of the pair. This obscures the crowd’s view of the artists behind behind a wall of shapes and light, akin to the live performances of Richie Hawtin alter-ego Plastikman. The room fills and feels more engaged as Plaid transition from moody ambience to a loud trip-hop beat with melodic synths.

New album The Digging Remedy is received enthusiastically, with tracks such as Do Matter and CLOCK particular standouts. Multi-coloured spots appear on the triangular façade to be replaced with illumanati-like imagery of yellow eyes, all pulsing in time with the music. Lighting behind the on-stage wall of triangles creates an impressive silhouette as Turner and Handley progressively lift the energy of the crowd.

This culmination of light and sound proves a far more engrossing experience than your run-of-the-mill DJ on stage – it's understandable why this genre is often referred to as 'Intelligent Dance Music'.