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Shining Some Custom Light on Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros has earned their reputation for exploring an often bleak musical terrain that echoes the barren landscape of their native Iceland. Using their projects to promote this vision, not only in music but also through the visual media of video, staging and light, the band clings to a minimalist aesthetic style. On their 2012-2013 tour, Sigur Ros uses a custom lightstix design to offer a stark yet interesting element to the stage.

“The idea was to create a three-dimensional star-cloth around the musicians, rather than have the light source come from outside their world,” describes Willie Williams, show designer. “I always like to insert fixtures in and around the performers. In the past I've used everything from truck brake lights to bedside lamps, so it was nice to have these lightstix specially manufactured by Specialz.”

Though the concept is fairly straight-forward, light bulbs on the end of sticks, Specialz had to create a product that could easily withstand the stress of touring. Dave Smith, managing director for Specialz, helped transition these lightstix from concept to reality, “The demountable tubes are of varying length from 200mm to 1000mm. They are wired internally to provide an absence of visible cable, as the proximity to the performers meant that aesthetic look of the units was an important factor.” Finished black, the bases were built in three sizes, to stabilise the varying heights of the units. Smith also mentions they continue to improve the lightstix, “Now, we are in the process of designing a low wattage dimmer, so the whole system can be completely self-contained whilst touring.”

“The lightstix look great, beautifully finished, extremely well packaged; the presentation is excellent,” says Sigur Ros Production Manager Derek McVay. Breaking down and reassembling easily, fifty lightstix pack away into only three flight cases. Plus, Specialz applies a protective coat to the bulbs themselves to act as an impact absorber. If a light should be broken, the glass is contained by the plastic coating. “It would take real intent to break one.” assures McVay, “The whole design, from the stix, to the way they assemble, to touring them round the world, has been thought about and applied. The band loves them.”

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Photo © Specialz