How a Team of Creatives Developed Excision’s Most Baffling Ultra 2024 Visuals

This is a guest column written by Gordon Droitcour, a co-founder and executive producer at COUR, a multidisciplinary creative house. He also is the co-founder of Syne Research, a brand that celebrates the visual side of the listening experience through digital album artwork displays.

Late last year, the Excision and Immanent VJ team approached COUR to handle the creative and execution for five songs of Excision's newest tour, "Nexus," along with Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Elevating the tracks "Bass to the Dome," "1 on 1," "Death Wish," "End of the World" and "Kern Happy Die," COUR sought to create five distinct worlds that would seamlessly merge with the music. Aware of Excision's reputation for creating electrifying performances, the team knew they had to deliver a spectacle that would not only enhance the music, but also leave the audiences wanting more.

The COUR team began work in December 2023, working with Excision and creative/video director Matt Medwid to develop the visuals for five tracks during the performance. Excision and the Immanent team were entirely responsible for the creative concept behind the Ultra Music Festival set and wanted the performance to be visually striking and appear as if the visuals were popping out of the screen towards the audience.

Alongside Matt, COUR drew inspiration from intense twists on nature, the pulsating beat of internet culture and the quirky realms of computer futurism to breathe life into the performance. We came up with unique concepts to accompany each of the five songs.

During "1 on 1," the team wanted to create a Tron- and Tetris-inspired architectural wonderland for Excision that would match the perspective of the stage and extend it. It was a pretty special moment. Lasers were dancing across a wireframe landscape, revealing intricate geometric shapes against the night sky. It was architecturally-led but felt like a fast, rhythm-based cube-crusher game.

Excision's Visuals for "1 on 1" at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Matching the futuristic bass beats of "Bass to the Dome," Excision wanted to bring the performance to life with pulsating cubes of lasers rolling and crashing into the earth while unleashing a barrage of pyrotechnics, shockwaves and digital signals. During the track, the sides of the cube begin to fall away, revealing a futuristic bass speaker inside.

Excision's Visuals for "Bass to the Dome" at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

As the show progressed and the energy of the set increased, the team wanted to create an exciting moment for the audience that would match the energy of "Kern Happy Die." During the track, a laser is emitted from the center of an LED wall, and a reactor core is activated in the centre of the screen.

As the core began to fire up, a bright green backlight slowly began to fill the screen, illuminating a vast array of people standing on a multi-story scaffolding structure. As the song builds, the people on the scaffolding begin to convulse and move frantically.

Excision's Visuals for "Kern Happy Die" at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Another concept the team developed was a futuristic computer interface that visualized a cybernetic overlord’s voice through a stunning 3D lattice structure during "End of the World." The computer interface was a thin glass with intricate HUD visuals displaying data.

As the song darkens, the overlord leaves the computer interface, breaking the frame and extruding towards the audience. This moment fully demonstrated Excision’s unparalleled creativity and technical prowess as artists at the top of their game.

Excision's Visuals for "End of the World" at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Alongside Matt and Excision, COUR transformed the stage into a rocky, hieroglyphic-filled cave for "Death Wish." An ominous "X" emerged from the darkness, accompanied by bursts of fire, lasers and the chilling proclamation "Time to Grant Your Death Wish" splashed across large screens, which engulfed the audience in an unforgettable sensory experience.

Excision's Visuals for "Death Wish" at Ultra Music Festival 2024 (0:30)

Though COUR specializes in video content, they pride themselves in being a multidisciplinary creative house handling things from creative direction to design to content. The Ultra Music Festival performance was a testament to Excision’s raw talent and creativity to deliver one of the most forward-thinking and innovative live music experiences.

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