Review: In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats

A journey into the heart of 1989's rave culture

music review (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
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In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats @ Electric Dreams
Photo by Tom Millen
Published 20 Feb 2024

Immersion is one of those intangible things that many artistic endeavours pursue: putting the viewer within the action, so that the outside world melts away. And it’s an especially tricky thing to pull off within the chaos of a Fringe, but Electric Dreams – a self-styled ‘immersive festival’ within the Adelaide Fringe – may well have achieved that with In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats.

Pitched as a virtual reality journey through the 1989 rave scene in Coventry, England, Beats sets you up with a VR headset, headphones and a controller for each hand, allowing you to interact with the various life-size dioramas throughout the experience. From an era-accurate bedroom of young party-goers, to the office of Coventry Police’s ‘Acid House Unit’ – and more besides – the ‘show’ marries interview snippets with promoters, DJs and ravers from the period with abstract, psychedelic segments for an astonishing trip. 

And for something that is chiefly ‘documentary’ in its presentation, it becomes surprisingly emotional – particularly when listening to real-life accounts of the struggles, victories and kinship felt by those at the forefront of an inclusive, counter-culture movement. VR might hardly be novel these days, but even if you’re accustomed to the brain-tricking magic of being in digital spaces that defy concrete reality, Beats remains a truly immersive spectacle – and a triumph of technology dovetailing with art.


In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats, Sam Jacobs Room at Electric Dreams @ Freemasons Hall, until 17 March