This week marks the nine-year anniversary of Elemental, a one-time-only opera performance composed entirely of the unique fire organ and theremin instruments. The two players involved, French inventor Michel Moglie and producer Gaudi, drew a staggering audience of 350,000 to the Coliseum in Rome. The truly organic production is unlike anything ever seen before,or since, and is just one example of the forward thinking innovation that the man simply known as Gaudi brings to the electronic music world.
Other than a stop at the self-described synesthesia of arts and music known as Symbiosis Festival in Oakdale, Calif., Gaudi’s rare appearance in Durango on Friday will be the second of only two U.S. showings this summer. The recently renovated Animas City Theater has dialed in their brand new state-of-the-art sound system, and what better way to put it to the test than having one of the masters of bass-dominated music going to work on it?
Hardly just a DJ, nor a push-button producer, Gaudi comes armed with a table full of gadgetry that he mixes live to form unique sound landscapes. The sonic blends jump from dub to reggae to world beat, and always manage to infuse progressive uses of drums and synthesizers unlike anyone else in his league.
A 30-year career started with keyboard duties for the New Wave band Wild Planet, but Gaudi really came into own with the reggae band Bamboo Company. After that he struck out on his solo path, topped the European charts, was in rotation on MTV, and toured with the likes of Ziggy Marley, Jimmy Cliff and the Wailers.
These days Gaudi operates out of his Metatron Studio in London, where he has released projects like “Earthbound,” featuring 39 musicians from around the world, and collaborated on groundbreaking projects that reimagine Shakespeare’s The Tempest with a 20-piece jazz symphony. When he isn’t skirting the fringes of the music world, he has also been a vocal coach and winner on the mainstream televised talent show X-Factor. Not letting the fame go to his head, he quickly returned to the international touring circuit to close out 2012, and his last show was staged at the the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
To put it bluntly, Gaudi is an artist with a resume pages and pages deep, and that’s only a small selection of his more interesting achievements. When it comes down to it, his most recent endeavor is a return to his literal roots with the 2013 album In Between Times. The triumphant mix of dub and reggae is fused uniformly with assistance from the dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry, Black Uhuru frontman Michael Rose, and Shpongle collaborator Raja Ram. Taking part in this rare chance to hear this album live, or any project Gaudi has touched in the last three decades, is reason enough to make it out to Durango tomorrow night.
Gaudi, Fri., Sep. 27, Animas City Theatre, Durango, 10:30 p.m., $15, animascitytheatre.com