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Avraham Tal plays Robe on tour
For Israeli singer/songwriter Avraham Tal’s 2019 tour, lighting design includes Robe MegaPointes, Spiiders and BMFL Spots. Tal wanted to be able to ‘play’ the lighting concurrently to his instruments onstage, and he wanted this to be achieved without the mechanical precision of timecode but with a more organic process.
Co-designers Eran Klein and Omer Israeli of Cochavi & Klein Light Architects proposed a scheme - including Robe moving lights - which was chosen to help explore and develop this idea. A major part of the creative process was focussed on finding a new way of synching lighting and video with elements of the music, utilising MIDI over Ethernet into the GrandMA2 lighting console via a ‘boom box’ device that Madrix programmer and tour LD/operator Naor Bonomo spec’d and programmed.
Different lights can be ‘played’ per song, and instruments triggering the action can be assigned via the lighting console. This setup allows the artist to improvise whenever he feels like it, without timecode dictating the schedule. The lighting console also triggers the Madrix controller running the mapping on the LED tubes.
This way, when Avraham Tal plays his Ableton MIDI Push ‘piano’ for example, different notes can be paired with different lighting effects, allowing him to literally ‘play’ the lights and to flip dynamically from doing so on one set of lights to another.
The overall look of the show was inspired by multiple aspects including vintage 1980s style DJ light boxes, and the lighting rig is designed with six distinctive and different layers or levels, all of which can work together or individually. They can also be combined or stripped back as the set unfolds.
This includes the 18 x Spiiders rigged above the main section of the stage and a layer of BMFL spots stationed upstage denoting the back of the set. On other levels are a row of Sunstrips along the front of the stage in the footlights position; a wall of LED tubes immediately behind the band; a layer of strobes and some modern versions of classic 1980s multi-light balls on moving head yolks, as well as some Jorgos RGBW triangular tiles.
The artist wanted a bit of a studio/jam session vibe, so the four backing musicians are all positioned on an upstage riser with the LED tube wall behind them and the Spiiders up on the rig above. The Spiiders are linked to the lighting MIDI control.
Seven Robe MegaPointes are positioned directly above the band for individual key lighting, and three for back-lighting Avraham Tal. Another five BMFL Spots on the front truss provide the main front key lighting - as the artist prefers to work without follow spots in order to have a better connection to the people and the immediate environment.
Four BMFL Spots on the floor at the back shoot through the band, the LED tube wall and the rest of the set. These amplify lighting instruments like the LED wall that are acting as physical set pieces. Another two MegaPointes are positioned on each side of the stage to make the stage space appear a bit wider and to backlight guest musicians positioned on either side of the stage.
Cochavi & Klein designed the set. The production manager is Lihi Gindin, the lighting director is Ziv Holtzman and the project manager is Dor Aichner. Sound is designed by FOH engineer Amotz Nachmany.
Lighting and sound equipment is being supplied by Hakol Bakol, with some of the Robe and the Jorgos fixtures supplied by Danor Theatre & Studio Systems and the LED tubes and Madrix from KO. Pixel Studio created the video content.
(Photos: Lior Keter/Riki Kendel)
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