It’s not a coincidence that the birth of electronic dance music coincided with the rise of animated computer graphics.
Scene: It’s 1993 and you just called the rave hotline to get directions to tonight’s party. Your friends have an amazing connection who’s got lab-tested MDMA. House music is your life, at least when you’re not listening to techno, drum ‘n bass or chill-out music. The party’s happening at an abandoned old brewery with underground catacombs formerly used to keep beer cool. It’s not the safest spot — few exits, too many people — but there are three rooms throwing down beats on a trio of great sound systems.
By 2 a.m, a few thousand people are in. On the screen behind (insert your favorite ambient DJ here) is a freaky animated movie that, when the ecstasy kicks in, basically comes to life. It was created by a visual artist who goes by 3Lux, who’s been obsessed with wild new computer graphics. The artist has been parked in front of his monitor for the past month working on his latest creation. It’s time to get lost.
It’s not a coincidence that the birth of electronic dance music coincided with the birth of animated computer graphics; both harnessed the increased storage capacity and processing power of early chips to create art that couldn’t have been possible a decade prior.
The shock-of-the-new sensation of this eye and ear candy was irresistible, especially when you’re hopped up on synthetics and already in a dreamlike state.
Granted, reveling in hours and hours of this stuff may only be pleasurable with chemical aid, but to experience these artworks 30 years after they were created is to understand the ways that music, dance, tech and chemistry combined to capture lightning in a bottle.
The below mysterious creation is identified only as ‘VHS tape labeled ‘Bill’s Cool Stuff’ produced by Optique Vid Tek in the mid 1990s.” Bill did indeed make some cool stuff.
As with the opening video, the below excursion was released by a rising Berlin techno label called Stud!o K7. Between 1991 and 1993, the label issued three VHS cassettes by 3Lux. In cover text accompanying the DVD release of the videos, the three works are described as “Forerunner(s) of the legendary X-Mix series.”
The notes continued:
… The 3Lux videos took the very first step in the visual realisation of techno. In the early 1990’s, to a soundtrack of now classic tunes the hot producers of the day – including Dave Angel, Visions of Shiva, Aphex twin, Biosphere, Alec Empire, Neutron 9000, Mixmaster Morris and Cosmic Baby – young computer artists began exploring the possibilities of computer animation and new digital technologies. They hit the ground running, through pulsing shadows, distressed landscapes, whirlpools of sound and vision. Fresh and raw, exuberant and optimistic, the 3Lux series was a bold expedition into the uncharted imagery of techno, early trance and ambient. Where these groundbreaking animations would lead, much was to follow. This was the foundation of the videoscape electronic dance music would inhabit from here on in.
1991 mix (above) details:
Voov – Freezer AC1 – MFS/DSB – Polyopie
Escape – Trip from Mars – Fax Rec. – Polyopie
Silence – Omid/Hope – Fax Rec. – Pit Weber
Sven Väth – Caravan of Emotions – Eye Q Rec. – Rainer Remake
Evolution – Sub-Marine – MT-Production – K-O2
Ongaku – Mihon #2 – Pod Rec. – Olaf Garvers
Atlantis – Paradise – R+S Rec. – Vivid Image
Heart of Space – Drawn – Fax Rec. – Ume no Kaisha
Voov – D.D.R.
Silence – Trip
Aphex twin -Shotkeya – R+S Rec. – Taste Video
Biosphere – Cloudwalker – R+S Rec. – sys.gfx
The Orb – Towers of Dub – Wau! Mr Modo – Stalin Retina