It was bound to happen. It was only a matter of time before symphonic versions of electronic dance music started to appear on the scene, marrying sequencers, synths and drum machines to live orchestras.
But an idea that seemed far-fetched just a few years back has now become a reality, thanks to the ever-growing popularity of electronic music and, also, to the evolution of the pioneering artists who made house music so big in the first place.
Pete Tong played club classics live alongside the Heritage Orchestra in Pacha Ibiza’s 50th anniversary this summer.
And Sasha presented his Re:Fracted show at The Barbican in London last May, where he reinterpreted his music accompanied by an eight-piece string section and a classical percussionist.
I can’t think of a more fitting match when it comes to melding electronic and classical music than Sasha’s particular brand of progressive house, and this version of his 1999 track ‘Xpander’ proves it. His sets were already the closest thing to a symphony you could find on a dance floor, and now he has taken it to the next step with a risky concept that could easily turn into self-parody and disaster but instead, remember we´re talking about Sasha here, becomes an emotional, spine-tingling experience.
This version of ‘Xpander’ builds and builds momentum from the first notes played on a xylophone until it reaches full orchestral frenzy, a sonic wave engulfing all who happen to be in its path, maybe jerking a tear out of someone´s eye or making their hair stand on end, but the effect on the audience is evident by the end of the performance, with everyone up on their feet, cheering and dancing as if they were in a warehouse or an open field back in the 90´s, instead of in a concert hall in London in 2017.
Maybe we were a bit sceptical about the idea of mixing electronic music with orchestral arrangements, it seems like there’s a very thin line between genius and embarrassment when attempting this, but Sasha comes through with flying colours, delivering a very effective and cohesive performance, bringing together two worlds that he makes into one, giving his fans and audience something beyond a quirky experiment, and showing them the results of his hard work and dedication in bringing his vision to life. A proper night out for those involved and a show to be saved for posterity.
Watch Sasha’s ‘Xpander’ live at the Barbican below.