Azu Tiwaline & Defasten conjure audiovisual talismans, live at MIRA 2021

Adapted from a live performance at the 2021 edition of Barcelona’s foremost digital arts festival.

Azu Tiwaline translates the enveloping silence of the desert into atmospheric washes of polyrhythmic dub and techno, combining elements of Tunisian ritual trance music associated with stambali, a group healing rite of chanting and dance, with dense electronics. The artist’s moniker can be translated from Berber as “eyes of the wind,” an image that speaks to the organic textures of her sound, a sonic exploration of her roots in the Tunisian Sahara. When digital artist Patrick Doan, aka Defasten, was brought together with the producer for the 2021 edition of Barcelona’s foremost digital arts festival, MIRA, it was the rich history and invocation of space within Azu Tiwaline’s sound that he felt most drawn to.

“I settled on a visual language derived from talismans – timeless objects of religious and magical power of infinite designs that protect, heal or can cause harm to targeted individuals,” explains Defasten. “Another prominent visual feature is the inclusion of geometric symbols or icons that embody various significance related to geographic landmarks, the natural order and social codes. Together with the talismans, these objects of power exist in a landscape out of time, within a dimension outside of normal human perception.”

As impossible objects shift and spin around each other, Defasten allows us a glimpse of the crackling energy of their live performance, including holograms of Azu Tiwaline, captured using a Kinect camera, and a reconstructed, digital approximation of the MIRA stage. Meeting the organic textures of Azu Tiwaline’s sounds with intricately rendered virtual objects, Defasten draws out the magical potency of her sonic palette, extending the ritualistic qualities outward, folding the audience into the trance.

In his own words, Defasten has been making digital art “since the genesis of the internet age,” creating generative, audio-reactive systems with a singular, retro-futurist aesthetic. He has made music videos for Detroit Underground, Peter Kirn and B E N N. For more information about Patrick Doan and his work you can visit his website and follow him on Instagram.

You can find Azu Tiwaline on Bandcamp and Instagram.

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