Shpongle presents music for the eyes in Vail
VAIL CO, Colorado
Music is a potion for the ears. However, Simon Posford, the DJ/engineer of trance-band Shpongle, takes music one step further to complete the sensory experience and transfix not only the ears, but the eyes as well.
Psychedelic trance music may be hard to put into words for those whose ears have yet to hear this unique genre, but Posford uses words such as “alien electronics and gurgles” and “darkly mysterious yet positive” to describe it.
He quickly apologizes for any confusion and states: “Attempting to describe music with language is like trying to explain physics through the medium of mime.”
The Shpongletron Experience is the latest brainchild of Posford. Shpongle’s music may be stellar through a pair of speakers, but seeing the band live is a step into the next dimension.
For The Shpongletron Experience, the stage is set with a horned three-tiered structure. Posford creates his musical concoctions from the inside, “partly DJing, partly playing live and manipulating stuff on my laptop,” he says. The structure is designed for a highly visual component to the concert, with psychedelic lights and a platform for dancers with LED hula hoops.
“It has to be seen in all its glory to get the full picture,” says Posford, in an entirely true plug for the free Friday night concert in Vail Village, part of the Spring Back to Vail lineup.
Choosing Shpongle to play at Spring Back to Vail was an easy choice for Adam Sutner, of Vail Resorts, and one of the organizers of the series.
“We’ve had success this season with DJ-oriented performers … our fans loved the shows,” says Sutner, who credits Highline Sports for booking Shpongle. “They’re a great sound, and what we especially like is their continental flavor, which suits our cosmopolitan audience very nicely.”
Musical entrepreneurs often have a history to their great sound and universal appeal. At the early age of seven, Posford began to unveil his natural musical gift.
“I taught myself piano by watching a child prodigy friend of mine and then sneaking back to the piano … to piece together what he was doing,” Posford says.
Years later, after working as a tape-op at Virgin Studios, he left to work as an engineer for Youth, the producer of The Verve and other bands. While he was engineering, he also was working on his own album.
“It was a win-win situation because I was being paid to produce my own album, with top engineers, in the studio where I worked,” Posford says.
The man knows his craft. With four studio records under the band name Shpongle, he also has a solo career under the stage name “Hallucinogen” and also ventures into the band Younger Brother, making up a third of the project and proudly exhibiting the latest work “Vaccine.”
“As an artist I need to challenge myself and cross boundaries and try new things,” Posford says. “If I stick to any one sound or project for too long, I begin to crave something different.”
Expect this anxious yearning in musical form Friday night. The Shpongletron Experience will lull you into a trance and leave you wanting more.
Rachel Kiely is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.