Celebrated lighting director Chris Bushell chose a powerfully compact Quartz console from British manufacturer Avolites to busk the emotively impactful lighting for James Blake’s gig at Brixton’s 02 Academy, London. The show was part of the minimalist electronica star’s world tour to promote his third album, The Colour in Anything, the follow-up to his Mercury-Prize-winning second album, Overgrown.
Having previously worked with Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine and Arcade Fire, Bushell has been Blake’s lighting director for over six years – accompanying him on his rise from unknown music graduate to Best New Artist nominee at the 2014 US Grammys.
Although an electronic artist, Blake insists that he and his band play all their instruments and gadgets live on stage. Similarly, he stipulates that the lighting and visuals are manipulated live too – to ensure the audience experience is as authentic as possible. Bushell relied on Avolites kit to do this.
“I own and use a Quartz console with a Titan Mobile Wing, all nicely packaged up in the custom Avolites wheelie case,” says Bushell. “Together they give me enough control options to tweak, fuss and hit stuff moment by moment – all whilst still packing down nice and tight for air travel and dragging through festivals.”
The compact Quartz console is the latest and smallest addition to the Titan Mobile family. It comes complete with on-board processing and a bright, vibrant 12.1″ screen. Featuring the same high quality faders and hardware users expect from Avolites, it is small enough to be taken as hold luggage on a plane – making it ideal for life on the road.
At Brixton, each of the three musicians on stage was lit separately in a square of light. Bushell’s rig contains GLP X4 Bar 20s to define the shape of the square with Martin Aura XBs clustered inside the square to light the subject within, along with SGM Q-7 and Source 4 par fixtures to vary the palette above.
The pods were combined with similar hidden fixtures to the sides; Martin Viper Profiles hidden up beyond the shrouded pods and Martin Quantum Wash luminaires on the floor beneath the LED video screen. Par16 footlights cast silhouettes onto the screen when not in use.
Newly established rental and production house LCR (Lights, Control, Rigging) supplied the lighting package.
“The lighting gave me versatility through utter simplicity,” explains Bushell. “I could contrast strong dramatic looks and then, with the haze off and fixtures hidden, I was also able to shade and blend the artists into the changing lit video landscape behind.”