Dan Zen has been interested in Light Shows for most of his life. He grew up watching Hilarious House of Frightenstrein – with Igor dancing in the oil drop psychedelics. Zen also grew up in the sixties and seventies with hippie parents and a love of patterns and shaping environments.
For his first band, The Chessmen (1989), he created light shows for pretty well every show. This was pre-digital projector times so were made from old slide projectors with their middles cut out to allow for custom spinning wheels or revolving tracks run by little motors. Many involved op art or overlapping lines and circles.
Oil Drops were a favourite. Zen would put several sandwich bags with different color oil and water into the slide area and squish them with a cam lever run by motors. He also created overlapping circular plates with mixing fins and trays trays for squelching as seen in many of Thee Gnostics shows (1994). Gorgolon Tape Release is pictured below.
With the dawn of digital projectors all sorts of light shows were possible. For Zen’s Final Gnostic appearance (aside from reunions) a compilation of old home videos including video feedback were projected. See if you can get through all of this song – it is worth it – there are some wicked sounds and visuals as the Hari Krishna come on to stage.
When Zen left Thee Gnostics (1996), he still did light shows for them as well as light shows for other bands such as the Ride Theory (Young Rival), Christmas and Simply Saucer.
Some Simply Saucer pics – look at pics to right in photostream to see more patterns used for lightshow – from the Dan Zen tool, Tilator. These flowed with the beat.
As Zen became able to animate to sound frequency in Flash he created light shows that moved to the beat of the music. Examples were the Christmas show in Toronto (try it) and The Magic Shadows show in Hamilton (try it).
In particular, the demand for original Christmas vinyl records is extremely high, with one album recently having been sold on Ebay for $2000! For this show Bryden was backed up by Toronto’s Saffron Sect and the performance was enhanced with a wickedly cool light show created by Dan Zen.
For Thee Gnostics Reunion show Zen created a water based light show that moved when people pulled on a series of Cyber Medallions hooked onto the light show – this warbled projections of the inside of keyboards. This was used as a wall projection as there was a projectionist for the night. See the making of video. The cyber medallions were given away to the audience after the show.
The latest light show for the Hawkwind Tribute show at This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton used Opartica Tunnel controlled live by Dan Zen – click the link and watch as there are a number of snips from songs in the one video. There were also lights by General Chaos at the sides. See Pics.
Did the lights for the Bob Bryden Yorkville Days CD Release:
And Hollow Earth
Here are some videos from the 2014 Simply Saucer show at the Casbah for the Baby Nova Tour – animated factories at controllable speeds and background supernovas.
All the best and try adding a light show to your event!