Sweet Harmony: Rave | Today — Saatchi Gallery

SWEET HARMONY: RAVE | TODAY, is an immersive retrospective exhibition devoted to presenting a revolutionary survey of rave culture through the voices and lenses of those who experienced it. The exhibition recaptures the new world that emerged from the acid house scene and narrates the ascendancy of rave culture with the youth of today. Saatchi Gallery’s Director Philly Adams alongside co-curator Kobi Prempeh have assembled a comprehensive panel of visionaries including; Sheryl Garratt, Bill Brewster, Agnes Bliah, Juan Rincon (Voltage and SCI-Arc), Jorge Nieto (Creative Director of Village Underground) and Craig Richards, all of whom have made significant contributions in the execution of the exhibition. Their combined reflections have culminated in a unique and timely production staged over two main floors of the Gallery.

Philly remarks: “I am delighted to showcase a timeline history of the UK rave scene – how it arrived, how it exported, and morphed across Europe and beyond. The exhibition will champion authentic commentators from past and present and re-position revered artists closely linked to the story. It will examine the ways electronic music has connected people from all walks of life, at a key moment in our history where we need to come together.”

The exhibition features Lost Souls Of Saturn Transmission, a multidisciplinary project combining music, images and storytelling into an inextricably linked whole. Lost Souls Of Saturn is a joint project from Seth Troxler (voted Resident Advisor’s number one DJ in 2012) and Phil Moffa (DJ, producer, professor and studio owner). Inspired by seminal artists such as The Orb, Mark Leckey and David Morales, along with science-fiction soundtracks and post-modern philosophy, Troxler and Moffa have collaborated with Aaron Kulik (visuals), Marc Ippon de Romda (light Installation), ATO Designs (production design) and Andrew Lochhead (concept development) in creating the immersive experience. The installation comprises seven custom-built screens and LED paneling with video, spatial lighting and six stacks of custom-calibrated L-Acoustics loudspeakers, broadcasting the ‘Transmission soundtrack’ in high definition, creating an environment within which to reflect on the world around us and our impact on it. The interactive and immersive installation represents not only a significant creative output by the artists involved, but serves as a contemporary example of electronic music and rave’s ongoing and boundary pushing dialogue with the visual arts. Transmission premiered during Art Basel in June 2019, before making its UK debut at Sweet Harmony.

Rave culture and, most importantly, electronic music has been the basis of my entire life. The Detroit rave scene in the 90s and early 00s – specifically the influence of Ghostly International, Interdimensional Transmission, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Underground Resistance and Untitled – provided the backdrop soundtrack and inspiration for two generations of artists, creatives and, of course, musicians. The impromptu dance floors in warehouses, and those in clubs such as Motor, The Works, and Tangent Gallery were the places where we met, built our networks and gave many of us the first opportunities to present our ideas to the public. A public that also served as an extended or replacement family. A family that, for me, would form the core contributors in the work we are presenting in Transmission. This musical and artistic incubator launched many a career and its influence was felt well beyond the city’s border. Little did we know at the time it would go on to change the world forever.

Seth Troxler

Rave culture is freedom, rave culture is unity, and its soundtrack has resonated with me as much as these ideals have. Growing up as the fifth child in my family, it was customary to inherit the genre preferences of my older siblings. However, house music and the New York club scene were something I discovered completely on my own. These were the catalysts to acquiring turntables, attending university for music composition, and subsequently producing and performing electronic music for the last 20 years.

Phil Moffa
  • July – September 2019
  • 10.00 – 18.00
  • Saatchi Gallery, London