Excision showing off the capabilities of his new Paradox stage production; Electric Factory (Philadelphia, PA)
Saturday, March 5th, 2016 || Photo by Panda Media (Zack Bruzgo)
by Kyle Taylor |
Bringing out the big guns would be a massive understatement, if not honestly an insult, to the true ferocity of Excision‘s new live experience and stage production: The Paradox. We have seen the Canadian bass producer steadily build himself, packing 100,000 watts of PK Sound with him each year on tour since 2012. That year he embarked on his first major U.S. headlining tour, The X Tour, which hit The TLA here in Philadelphia. The sound experience was bone-crushing… literally. Anyone in attendance that fateful evening can surely recount the bass vibrating their every cell, head to toe. The first evolution of Excision’s stage production, even at that time, was one of the largest and most technically sophisticated pieces on the market.
The very next year Excision made his return to Philadelphia, this time at the Electric Factory, which he has since made his annual temporary home here in our city on each following tour. That time Excision brought out his new Executioner stage production, introducing one of the largest stage installations ever conceived, plastered with crisp and mesmerizing VJ work throughout the performance. The Executioner made its return in both of the following years (2014 and 2015), this time upping the ante to 150,000 watts of PK Sound. One should take note that the 2014 tour also faced the audience with a life-sized, costumed tyrannosaurus stomping about on stage to the bass-quakes for a portion of Excision’s set.
Photo by Panda Media (Zack Bruzgo)
It was quite easy to tell, however, at that time that Jeff Abel (Excision) had a new dastardly plan brewing for his fans. Why would a man so profoundly devoted to keeping his live experience fresh, authentic, and absolutely mind-blowing settle for utilizing the same stage production three years running? Laziness or complacency are surely not the answer. Of course an obvious hand does point to Destroid, a live three-piece bass music project lead by Excision that also debuted in 2013. The more obvious answer, though, is simply the preparation of the new gut-wrenching Paradox stage production.
The patience of Excision’s fans has truly been rewarded. From even an outsider perspective, one glance at a few photos or even a short clip of the Paradox reveals the insurmountable time and effort that must have gone into its conception. Not only does the production boast one of the most intense and high definition light rigs on the touring music circuit, but the thematic elements themselves deserve equal recognition as well. Much like Excision’s musical production, the visual spectrum of the Paradox bore into and out of a dark contortion of post-apocalyptic, mechanized environments; heavy metal and horror movie moments; and robotic, science-fiction fantasies. The tyrannosaurus also made a much overdue return.
Video by Panda Media (Zack Bruzgo)
Between his annual appearance and heart-throttling sets at Shambhala Music Festival each year, participation in Destroid, operating of his own label Rottun Recordings, and for his sake hopefully still somewhat of a personal life, it is pretty clear Abel is a busy guy. Obviously, a touring piece of production on this level takes more than one man; surely some commendation and applause should be directed at the amazing collaborative team as a whole that came together on this project. Still, the mind behind the conception of such a massive, magnificent piece of art is undoubtedly Abel’s.
The Executioner held its place for three years- it had a good run. New live sets from Excision each year, and of course little dashes of extra surprises still managed to keep things fresh. In the end, one can confidently say the wait was worth it for The Paradox, though. Surely, this project was multiple years in the making, and that time spent perfecting its operation shown through magnificently at Excision’s most recent appearance at the Electric Factory on Saturday, March 5th.
All this talk of the lighting setup is making me feel a little guilty for not mentioning the sound, though. Of course, many bass heads have been following Excision for quite some time already. Many have already experienced the massive 150,000 watts of PK Sound that Abel carts around on tour with him by now. Still, the system deserves a note in itself. Delivering one of the most crisp sound experiences for bass music available today, the gruesome system delivers literal floor-shaking reverberations, even in the most voluminous of venues.
Photo by Panda Media (Zack Bruzgo)
While the Excision sound has remained stagnantly founded around bass music, and primarily dubstep, the sound of the project has undergone equal transformation of incarnations over the years that Abel’s staging has. Growing even more violent and raucous in delivery (even when it seems no longer possible), Excision’s track selections remain impeccable and appropriately self-showcasing year after year. Building sets from a large portion of steadily new, original productions, as well as a handful of tracks off Rottun Recordings, these sets have become a staple of the bass music world- proven largely by the immense popularity and traffic drawn to each year’s landmark “Shambhala Mix”.
If there is one thing we can take away from The Paradox and the 2016 Excision Tour, it is that this one one artist who shows no signs of slowing down, let alone dumbing down, his performances. A true technological connoisseur, Excision leaves us with the conclusion that we can expect to see him continuously take his live performances to the next stage year after year.