Rival Consoles – Convergence Fest. // Village Underground

Descending down into Village Underground to the sound of Myriam Bleu’s ‘Soft Revolvers’ – an audiovisual piece embracing a lot of electronic noise and digital art – the night could’ve only been in the hands of one organisation, Convergence and kickstarted the opening party to their annual 4 day festival promoting electronic experiments, art and an amalgamation of brilliant live music.

Once Bleu had set things suitably experimental, DJ Mr. Mitch picked up where things left off with a hugely eclectic set spanning from heavy beats loaded with rap to cutting glitch noise reminiscent of Aphex Twin and luminaries. Backed by one carefully executed light show of never-ending colours and strobes, Mitch proved his curator credentials from intense grime influence through moments of soul to ambient soundscapes of cockerels and crickets in a seamless mix that left the room more than warmed up, and left huge promise for his second solo record, due later this year.

Before the headliner, one final dose of experimentalism came in the form of Noga Erez, a name picking up speed in the electronic field lately and for all the right reasons. Hailing from Tel Aviv and citing inspirations like Björk, M.I.A and Kendrick Lamar, her sound comes across as forward-thinking multi-genre spanning brilliance, created from the sparseness of a handful of synths, drum machines and her own distinct vocals. Gaining the full attention of the hugely crowded room in an instant, alongside a sole percussionist armed with a drum pad, Erez’s set captured the atmospherics of her environment through daunting electronics whilst channeling the energy of modern pop in a blend worthy of all appreciation and showcased the infective boundary pushing variation of her upcoming debut record whilst smoke and lights filled the room, and she proved more than one to keep a close eye on across 2017.

Finally taking to the stage shadowed by an impressive decks setup and a sole projection screen behind, Rival Consoles then proceeded to conjure up a set in a whole new dimension, and prove exactly why he was Convergence’s DJ-in-residence back in 2015. With a set spanning the alternative electronics of his previously ever-growing back catalogue of material alongside snippets of a new track, Ryan Lee West lived up to his claims of making electronica ‘more human and thoughtful’ and his crafted beats and synths pulsed around the room consuming the crowd in a haze of lush atmospherics a world away from the clinical EDM sounds usually gracing the ears of the public. In addition to his innovative sounds, throughout the show entrancing visuals appeared on the screen behind West, performed live in Max/MSP by Erased Tapes label founder and master curator Robert Raths, mutating with every electronic glitch into a spellbinding show of it’s own and slotting in perfectly with the encapsulating nature of Rival Consoles live.

As the night drew to a close, and West ended on a smash of noise and strobes, from start to finish the line up felt like an exact representation of everything perfect about Convergence Festival, with every act making music far from dismissive dance music and indulging in concocting arty synth fuelled experiments, in exactly the right way to send a crowd of people home more than impressed with it.