One of our favourite music festivals, Unsound, begun in Krakow has been spreading itself wide, with festivals popping up in Tbilisi and New York. This will be the first time the programme hits London and it will be running from Thursday, September 26, to Sunday, September 29.
It would appear that nothing is off limits for NYC-based, Moscow born producer Slava. As an artist and programmer who is as informed by Britney Spears as he is Chicago footwork, the trained jazz guitar player-come-frenetic dance DJ explored perversion in all its multiplicity in this year’s Raw Solutions, out on Software in April. But as if sexualised sound bytes and eloquently phrased pop misogyny wasn’t enough for Slava to illustrate just how truly surreal modern culture is, here he’s dropped this rattling depiction of two teens, suggestive of siblings and their very guilty pleasure for ‘Girl Like Me’ directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko. Watch at your own risk. **
I am not a man!/ I am not a woman!/ I am both/ I am neither/ If you don’t like it/ take a breather! So announces Miguel Gutierrez between work outs during his DEEP Aerobicsset. An acronym for Death Electric Emo Protest Aerobics, there’s no doubting the intention of Gutierrez’s celebration of the non-essentialist form and, by extension, the entire oeuvre of The Knife. Performing at London’s Roundhouse in support of the release of their explicitly Third Wave, post-structural opus to feminism gone AWOL, Shaking the Habitual, the Swedish duo give added meaning to the oft-quoted maxim of Gender Trouble author Judith Butler’s, “we are always in drag”.
As a band who’s very image is unclear -an outfit taken to hiding their faces behind masks, conducting interviews only through Skype -it’s no surprise that their second tour in 14 years and five albums would feature an interrogation of performance, authenticity and artifice. Hence, the enveloping ambient opener, cast into darkness and the following confusion of who’s performing what, if at all.
There are several people on stage in brashly glittering gowns and eye make up. The layers come off at times, back on at others –hanging limp on a coat hanger when uninhabited. A bizarrely shaped tuneless guitar is played through a rotating roster of dancers –male, female, ambiguous –while vocals are handled by all, occasionally taking turns in addressing the audience with the odd “hello London!” while Karin Driejer-Andersson’s voice is seemingly channelled through these flesh and bone vessels during songs. The lights go off for the droning ambience of ‘Old Dreams Waiting to be Realised’ and ‘Fracking Fluid Injection’, no staged distraction from the unsettling mood of frustration and urgency that the track generates as a twirling fluoro whistle tube becomes the focus and only light among the shadows. Performers take up drums sticks and pretend to drum, pose and mimic performance, with their silent instruments over a backing track.
Needless to say Dreijer-Andersson and Olof Dreijer are not there. At least not explicitly. It’s hard to say because no one’s wearing a name tag and having never been offered a photo, cross-dressing, wigs and masks make it impossible to distinguish fiction from reality. But then what is reality anyway? As Olof has repeatedly told press, everything’s a performance; pictures can be deceiving and captions misleading.
Depending on your disposition, you could interpret The Knife live as one big hoax perpetuated at the expense of its audience or a brilliant expression of the complexities of human interactions, the redundancy of categorisation and liberation of transcending them. Judging by the shamelessly cavorting crowd, trembling in unison with euphoria, it’s likely they’re of the latter camp. **
In the lead up to Dean Blunt‘s highly anticipated, and we daresay brilliantly promoted, second album, The Redeemer, out on Hippos in Tanks, May 1, the musician, artist and self-made myth, has dropped a new track, not to appear on the forthcoming track listing but enough to get the romantic vibe, his press has been alluding to.
With the upcoming album to include track titles like ‘Seven Seals of Affirmation’, ‘Walls of Jericho’ and ‘All Dogs Go To Heaven’ there’s no mistaking the spirito-mystical bent of Blunt’s recent direction, in line with a growing post-science current towards a sort of neo-transcendentalism that new media artists like Theodore Darst and groups like The Eternal Internet Brotherhood echo. As they say, “where Science fails, God prevails”. See The Redeemer track listing below. **
1. I Run New York
2. The Pedigree
6. The Redeemer
7. Seven Seals Of Affirmation
8. Walls Of Jericho
9. Make It Official
10. Need 2 Let U Go
15. All Dogs Go To Heaven
16. Imperial Gold
After ten years of releasing, producing and performing music, SSION will be embarking on their very first UK & European tour. Famous for their lives shows, supporting the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Gossip, as well as producing videos for Peaches and Santigold, they self-released Bent in 2012 and will be at Paris’ La Machine du Moulin Rouge and London’s Birthdays on the weekend of June 29 to 30.
SSION is led by Kentucky-born Critcheloe, who is also known around NYC for applying a Ryan Trecartin video aesthetic to the collective’s dreamy pop dance numbers of an 80s Madonna vibe and Prince-like sensuality. He’s also been on the songwriting team for post-ironic poster girl Lauren Devine’s track ‘Just A Little Ready‘ with Laurel Halo. See full tour dates below. **
Mon 10th June – Stockholm, Under Bron
Tues 11th June – Verona, SS Festival
Wed 12th June – Malmo, Moriska Paviljongen
Thurs 13th June – Vienna, Pratersauna
Fri 14th June – Milan, Plastic Club
Sat 15th June – Athens, Pixi
Sun 16th June – Palermo, Pride
Mon 17th June – Munich, Strom
Tues 18th June – Cologne, Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
Wed 19th June – Leipzig, Ut Connewitz
Thurs 20th June – Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg
Fri 21st June – Amsterdam, MC Theater
Sat 22nd June – Brussels, Bruxelles Congres
Sun 23rd June – London, XOYO
Wed 26th June – Manchester, Islington Mill
Thurs 27th June – Bristol, Start the Bus
Fri 28th June – Barcelona, Razzmatazz
Sat 29th June – Paris, La Machine du Moulin Rouge
Sun 30th June – London Birthdays
Polish producer Piotr Kurek quietly released the brilliant Edena at the worst possible five days before Christmas 2012, on cassette label Sangoplasmo. Thankfully, his two most recent records under his name (he also plays as Piętnastka and Suaves Figures), Heat and Edena, will be re-released on vinyl via Italian label Black Sweat Records.
Kurek also starts a European tour at the end of April and ending mid-May. If you haven’t heard of him before, see our review of Edena here. Tour dates below.**
When it comes to his concept of time and eclecticism, Piotr Kurek is all over the place. As a composer and multi-instrumentalist with a penchant for vintage sound equipment, as well as the practical sense to know where their limitations are, his musical compositions –part melodic narrative, part sound collage –distil a sense of nostalgia into a romance for the present. Using a Moebius comic he had never seen (Le Monde d’Edena) and an instrument he would never have (a Mellotron) as a conceptual starting point, the Warsaw-based, Polish artist presents Edena, out on Wroclaw label Sangoplasmo.
In its 10th edition Experimentaclub seems to have less of a push than its previous 2-3 editions, we’re noticing less advertising and communication from their main sponsor Caja Madrid (via La Casa Encendida) & a far less ambitious line-up brought by the director Javier Piñango… crisis maybe?
Anyway, we cannot ignore one of the best electronic & truly experimental music festivals that inaugurate the year in southern Europe: Experimentaclub ’10 in Madrid. It’s no Sonar ok? But the intimacy of listening to Chris Clark or Mouse on Mars (well known artists) in such a small venue (the Auditorium is barely for a couple maybe 3 hundred people at most and the terrace for around 100) for only 3€ is a unique and always aerial experience.
This year the festival is focused on the memory and its power to create electronic music. Codes, sounds, instruments, aesthetics and previous electronic languages that the electronic of this new decade is reviewing in order to reinterpret from a new point of view… new electronic is always old re-dimensioned old electro?
This year will be a lot about how current electronic sounds play & experiment with the memory; present in the workshops but also brought by this year’s top artists: Carlos Giffoni (behind No Fun Fest) or Experimental Audio Research (E.A.R), the most experimental sounds from Sonic Boom.
A mix of past & present and a not easy way of mixing old & new…. Seefeel are making their comeback, Peter Rehberg’s dark project, black electronic metal by Stephen O’Malley (member of Sunn O)))… and the presence of Bernhard Günter one of the big names when it comes to art sound.