The Real Star of Coachella: The Legendary Sound System [VIDEO]
One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 Coachella lineup was the announcement of an LCD Soundsystem reunion. But there's another surprise. Towards the bottom of the Coachella lineup release, there was a line stating DESPACIO All Weekend Long. So it seems that frontman and mastermind of the iconic dance punk band James Murphy is contributing to the famed festival in another way that's going to significantly impact the Coachella experience - through the Despacio sound system.
The Despacio system was custom designed by Murphy, with help from audio engineer John Klett and 2ManyDJs (brothers David and Stephen Dewaele). It was 2 years in development. The system was originally intended to be the feature of a night in Ibiza, to showcase vinyl specifically. They wanted the system to be the star of the show, with the DJ booth placed at the back of the room opposite the speakers, without any special stage setup - so the crowd would focus first and foremost on the sound system and the incredible reproduction of records it can produce.
Though the Ibiza night revolving around the Despacio didn't end up happening, the system had it's debut over three nights at the New Century Hall in Manchester, UK to rave reviews. From Babycakes Romero:
What was it like?
It was fucking incredible is what it was. Off the friggin chart. Not like anything I have ever experienced before. In a world of repetition this was categorically something different. I have been to a million clubs and gigs and soundsystems before and nothing even comes close. It is a true evolution of sound. Sound guys are always banging on about perfect sound and what it would take to do it but rather than just being pub chat, someone actually went and did it. Optimum sound. In the flesh. And it was a truly beautiful thing. And it was a thing. For the first time ever I realised that sound was indeed a physical entity. It was like meeting an alien from another planet. I’m an atheist but its the closest thing I have ever had to a religious experience.
We haven't been able to find any updates about who will be playing on the system - though it's hard to imagine Murphy not playing a set on it. For an event the size of Coachella, it would be logical that the system would be expanded to a larger size, as it was originally intended for moderately sized club dancefloors, not massive festival stages. Or perhaps it will be placed in a limited capacity tent, in which case getting into that tent may be a struggle. We hope they keep with the original spirit of the system, foregoing a huge stage setup and crazy lights, and instead putting the DJ booth opposite the rig and encouraging the audience to focus on the sound.
See the full Coachella lineup here.