Originally posted on the AVNation.tv blog - July 22, 2013
I am unclear as to how i got here, ‘all these tubes and wires...’ to paraphrase Mr. Thomas Dolby. The cotton mouth and clammy skin are indications of a night lost to the reveries as at least a witness if not a participant in the annual show ritual of parading half consciously through the hotel lobbies. These indicators are only second to throbbing of my temples and the insistent buzzing in my ears. I feel as though I attended an all night ‘silent rave’ with my headphones blaring Rancid covers of Mel Torme songs. All apparent signs indicate that I made it home of my own accord. I last recall that there were great rumors afoot that Apple’s ecosystem had usurped the show with an empty hall and a single booth.
My plan (or is that pram?, my notes are a mess here), was to arrive early and report first hand on the cranage. I could see it through the haze of the morning Floridian thunderstorms , ritual bonfires, burnt Ozone and cannon smoke. Just now I have the flash of memory of entering the hall bemused by the wake like quiet and the low rumble of mulling crowds. Rubberneckers, i thought, members of the international society of Schadenfreude affectionado’s more likely - these bastards show up in every crowd. I was being paid to be here, quelling the nausea is a job hazard, one steels the self to take it all in and report the horrors to the sedate civilians. I made steadfastly toward the exhibit floor doors with the intent of getting a first view and a keen determination to inhale the acrid smells of battle mixed with linen fresh scent of the pod people of Cupertino.
Upon opening the door there was the blinding light from the show floor which caused me to reach out blindly bumping into the grunting crowd similarly afflicted, all of us groping for a center with a mad abandon willing our pupils to dilate. White lab mice lay strewn before me shuddering in disoriented jerks. Given a few more moments I am sure my bearings would have returned but then came the enveloping cacophony - a demonic surround sound on steroids - it was like Barry Bonds and Theo Kalomirakis merged V’ger like into Vladimir Gavreau’s love child. The effect forced a full cerebral shut down until the mass of stimuli could be processed. As I began to fade into black the air was knife cut thick with hopeful chatter, morning coffee, eggs, a hint of mint and latex -( While I will not dare to presume the reason for the last item, this is a trade show after all). All of these things I could literally pull out of the air like notes of music to a synesthete.
When I awoke, quivering under a thermal blanket and warmed under the hot lights of the Chauvet booth an epiphany issued forth from the Jorge Luis Borges thousand typewriting monkeys in my head. No war had been waged, no remarkable battle, no charging light brigades - This is a Psycho -Billy Circus complete with over joyful slap revber’d guitars. Psycho-Billy the punk of southern garage bands mixing Johnny Cash with MC5 and a dash of B movie horror thrown in for spice - rock n’ roll’s sideshow barkers. To the uninitiated, or those whose little grey cells are in need of more electrolytes, the show floor is a an assault on the senses. It would seem that any manufacture of a device which can produce noise has ascribed to the late Phil Ramone’s ‘Wall of Sound” accompanied more flashing, blinking, pulsating lights that it should be accompanied by a photosensitizer warnings. One does finally become accustomed to the sensory assault but when the opportunity arises leaving the floor into the lesser volume of the lobby can be just as disorienting, causing one to lose footing in a punch drunk head space as the Cochlear nerve wiggles in its own version of a grand Mal seizure.
But we were talking about what was on the inside eh? Just what were the presenters hawking Baptist minister like from the company pulpits? Oddly there did not seem to be an overriding single theme this year, we’ve been trained to expect this just like the film studios pumping out varying flavors of the same film over the summer and holiday seasons. Is it really a coincidence that six studios release a film based on kids games like CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders? The show floor did not seem to have this overly generic commonness, an associate of mine called it ‘evolutionary not revolutionary’. This, I think, hits the nail into the tail of things. The show itself was tremendous but technology-wise the industry has entered a tempo of sostenuto. 3D is dead (hooray!) but 4K is not like Savior-Faire (not everywhere), Apple - Apple everywhere but some droids are creeping in, not so much vaporware there but TIO might just be giving it a go and Microsoft may be bleeding heavily from Surface losses but Linq is inside everything (The song of HD-BaseT they sing). Of new note is the oddly fascinating use of QR codes as a control and documentation interface by AMX
There is, not to put too fine a point on it, no bees in my bonnet as we watch everyone expand their product lines into places that overlap and hip check current (soon to be former?) partners. I am eagerly looking forward to next years show where we may get to witness a true Alaskan ‘Breaking’ party as the Ice cracks in the warm sun of Lost Wages, NV.