Entries tagged with: UNSOUND
photos by Bart Babinski, words by Greg Cristman
After not presenting an Unsound Festival in the USA for 2013, the event came back with some great shows recently in NYC. The Saturday night (4/5) performance was the debut show at The Wick, a 700 capacity room that is housed in the old Hittleman Brewing building on Meserole St in Bushwick (which also houses sister venue The Well). The Wick feels and looks like a mini version of the Knockdown Center in Maspeth where Red Bull Music Academy hosts events and M.I.A. is playing this Friday.
With a complete surround sound system set up special for this event by promoters the Bunker, the music sounded thick and warm in the rustic, brick walled space with a thirty foot high wood ceiling that almost looked like the top of an old barn. The rawness of it was great, though some of that is still getting touched up. They will preserve the original brick, pipes, beams and other details.
When walking around the venue, the sound would shift in very slight and subtle ways. It made me recall my frequent visits to La Monte Young's excellent Dream House installation in Tribeca in the 90's. The artists all performed from a high platform that restricted your ability to actually spy on any of the gear they were using, and they played mostly in total darkness only being lit by the large projections behind them.
Starting off this particular evening in the venue, which has since hosted the New York's Alright fest, Slint and a Cam'ron show last night, was the New York debut of Norwegian Le Petit Garcon whose guitar and sound manipulations had a spacey, psychedelic feel incorporated into his isolated, ambient take on techno. The room was still fairly sparse attendance wise and the few people there mostly sat and watched the visuals or simply stood with their eyes closed and floated along with the music.
The incredible Vladislav Delay was scheduled to be on the bill, but unfortunately he had to cancel his entire US tour. Acclaimed New York based electronic, drone and experimental producer Robert A.A. Lowe, of Lichens and Om fame, very ably filled the empty slot. Robert's set consisted primarily of his beautiful, almost angelic voice, being processed and manipulated into a warm, ambient drift. Leisure Muffin, who just released his first ever 12-inch single on The Bunker's new record label, joined Robert at the end of his set and then continued on his own, taking the music in a totally different direction. His modular-synth-inflected take on Kosmische music added spongy, bouncing and dubby techno elements to his pounding beats that had the now very full venue actively dancing along.
Brooklyn based, fractured house performer Ital (known for a couple acclaimed albums on Planet Mu) was joined by Aurora Halal for their worldwide live debut performance as Ital & Halal. They delivered a set of highly danceable techno that clearly put the dancing fans into overdrive.
Certainly the evening's key draw was the return to U.S. shores of the amazing German dub-techno duo Porter Ricks. It's possible that the last time they played in NY was at the Mille Plateaux 10th anniversary party at The Anchorage (inside the base of the Brooklyn Bridge) on June 28, 2001. Porter Ricks is comprised of multimedia artist Thomas Köner and sound engineer Andy Mellwig and they came out of live gig retirement to perform at the Unsound Festival in Krakow last October. Their debut album Biokinetics from 1996, is, for myself and any many others, one of the best dub techno recordings ever made. It was released on the extremely influential Chain Reaction label and featured pulsating, fractally arranged productions that continually morphed in a sound that many have described as aquatic. This essential recording was re-released in 2012 on the Type label. Their set delivered some classic old tracks along with some new music and it was as magnificent and mesmerizing as you would expect from this extremely talented duo.
Miles, who hails from Manchester England and is one half of Demdike Stare, is equally known for his solo output and unique DJ sets. He closed out the evening. As one of the key figures of the cult label Modern Loves, his sound has always been somewhat rooted in the Basic Channel style so it was a good fit for him to follow Porter Ricks. His set incorporated many elements of Basic Channel as well as techno, ambient and industrial.
Overall it was a very long but wonderful evening that ended around 6AM. This is a great new venue and I'm looking forward to seeing more shows there in the near future. Upcoming shows at the venue included Marnie Stern (TONIGHT - 5/8), Liars (5/9), The Men & Obits (5/10), Nazoranai (Keiji Haino, Stephen O'Malley, Oren Ambarchi) (5/21), and another edition of the Bunker with a live set by Shackleton (5/30).
We also just posted pictures of New York's Alright at The Wick. More pictures from the Unsound Fest below...
It comes as certain ideas from techno's fertile, experimental, mid-1990s period are being picked up by a range of underground musicians. Many of these ideas have permeated so deeply into the culture that it's hard to remember a time without them, but we wouldn't have Burial, to name just one of the duo's distant descendants, without Porter Ricks' seafloor crackle and mottled-granite color scale.The above quote is from Pitchfork's 8.5 Best New Reissue review of the 2012 reissue of Porter Ricks' 1996 debut, Biokinetics. The duo remained mostly inactive since their mid-late '90s period, but played a few shows recently and will play at least two more this year. At the moment, they're scheduled for the second annual Denovali Swingfest in London (with The Haxan Cloak, Thomas Koner and more), and they'll also come to NYC this week for Unsound Festival.
Porter Ricks were the duo of Thomas Köner, a sound artist and ambient composer, and Andy Mellwig, a techno producer who also recorded as Continuous Mode and, with former Monolake member and future Ableton founder Gerhard Behles, as Async Sense. Released in 1996, Biokinetics was Porter Ricks' debut album, gathering tracks from three vinyl EPs released that year along with three songs exclusive to the album. It had been years since I last listened to it, and the Type reissue surprised me first by reminding me how diverse the album is. "Chain Reaction" has long since become shorthand for a certain fusion of buoyant dub, hazy ambience, and coiled techno, but on Biokinetics, none of these has quite settled into place; it's a dynamic, unpredictable mixture of pulse and hiss.
Their show at Unsound happens on Saturday (4/5) at The Wick with a great lineup that includes Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (aka drone musician Lichens), Miles (the solo project of Miles Whittaker, who is one half of Demdike Stare who also play Unsound on Friday), Leisure Muffin, the duo of Ital & Aurora Halal, and Le Petit Garcon. Tickets for Saturday's show are still available.
You can stream Biokinetics in its entirety, along with the flyer for Saturday's show, below...
Avant-garde composer Ben Frost will release his new album, A U R O R A, on May 27. Like his previous work, it's ambient but you'd be hard pressed to call it mellow. There's a lot of tension here, which cracks open into bursts of noise. The record features former Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, Shahzad Ismaily (who both just played Ecstatic Music Fest with Colin Stetson), and Thor Harris of Swans/Shearwater. You can stream "Venter" from the album, as well as an LP trailer, below.
While Ben hasn't announced any A U R O R A performances in North America yet, he does a have a few projects happening on our shores. He contributed sounds to an installation called "Ephemera" that will be on display at NYC's Audio Visual Arts Gallery in the East Village from March 31 - April 6. Part of the Unsound Festival, the project from artist Geza Schoen, also features sonic contributions from Tim Hecker, and Kode9's Steve Goodman:
Bringing together scent and sound in startling new ways, the first phase of Ephemera is an installation that will present olfactory compositions based on musical resonances and reverberations...Ben also provided the music for FAR, which features choreography by Wayne McGregor and jaw-dropping visuals, including a computerized pin board of 3,200 LED lights. FAR will be performed at Pittsburgh's Byham Theatre on April 26 (more info), and at Washington DC's Kennedy Center from May 1 - 3 (more info).
...Three musicians -- Ben Frost, Tim Hecker, and Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) -- created sonic raw material which Schoen then reinterpreted to create three different scents: Noise, Drone, and Bass, respectively. Schoen's scents were then used to guide the development of further sounds to fit an installation-style environment.
All dates are listed, along with LP trailer and "Venter" stream, below...
Back in 2011, it was announced that new Brooklyn venue The Wick would open in a former brewery at 260 Meserole St (next to the barely-open outdoor venue The Well), and that venue is finally set to open this March.
Four shows have been announced so far. The first is experimental Japanese musician Keiji Haino on March 27 before he heads to Tennessee for the Big Ears Festival. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Then, as discussed, The Wick is one of the venues that NYC's experimental music festival Unsound happens in. That fest will have Porter Ricks, Vladislav Delay, Miles, Leisure Muffin, Ital & Halal and Le Petit Garcon on April 5. Tickets are on sale now.
The Wick will also be one of the venues used for hardcore/punk fest New York's Alright. That includes the Dawn of Humans, Contingent, Blotter, Asile and Goosebumps show on April 17 (tickets) and the Hank Wood & the Hammerheads, DiE, Savageheads, The Impalers and Razorheads show on April 20 (tickets). The other NY's Alright shows happen at Le Poisson Rouge, Acheron, and ABC No Rio. Updated schedule below.
The Polish-based experimental/electronic Unsound Festival took 2013 off in NYC (it did happen in other countries though), but it will return for another installment this year from April 2 - 6 at various venues, including Cameo Gallery, Issue Project Room, BAMcinematek, The Wick, Lincoln Center, and others. Artists playing include Demdike Stare, Huerco S, DeepChord, Inga Copeland, Ital & Halal, Ben Vida, Vladislav Delay and others.
Ticket info TBA, but you can check out the full schedule below...
by Andrew Sacher
Laurel Halo at Warsaw 4/20/12 (via)
Laurel Halo's Spring EP which was originally set to come out in March under the moniker King Felix as the first release for Mute's new Liberation Technologies imprint, was pushed back and finally released earlier this month. Like her 2011 EP, Hour Logic, Spring focuses on Laurel's talents as a producer rather than her voice. It boasts a wide variety of sounds ranging from footwork to deep house to ambient. Although it's probably more suitable blasting through the PA at a club, it's just as listenable on headphones in a bedroom. Liberation Technologies is selling the EP on vinyl at their European webstore and its available digitally on iTunes. Streams of two of its tracks below.
Meanwhile, Laurel Halo is readying Quarantine, her debut full length which is due out under her usual moniker on June 5 in the US and May 28 in Europe via Hyperdub. Maybe you caught her previewing some stuff off the new album at her Unsound show at Warsaw this past Friday (4/20) (how was that?).
Quarantine is a drastic departure from all of Laurel's previous work and is by far her biggest and most distinct statement yet. After introducing and confirming her skills as a producer on Hour Logic and Spring, Laurel leaves almost all of her beatwork behind on Quarantine in favor of centering the songs on her own voice. Though she did use her vocals in the forefront of 2010's King Felix EP, the new album bares little resemblance to the reverby electronic pop of that release. Here, she's channelling a Bjork-like falsetto and overexposing her vocals to the point where you feel like you're in the room with her as she's recording them. The off-kilter melodies and sparse arrangements bring to mind early Laurie Anderson with a Berlin Trilogy type of itchingly addictive ambience. Sample the album for yourself with its closing track, "Light + Space," which is available to stream below.
Laurel will tour Europe in support of the album surrounding its release date, but before she leaves town, she'll play another NYC show opening for Chairlift at Webster Hall on 5/8 with Pains of Being Pure at Heart drummer Kurt Feldman's Ice Choir project. Tickets are still available. Chairlift just finished their tour with Nite Jewel (who headlined Bowery Ballroom last night). Check out pictures from the Austin show.
All dates and song streams (when Soundcloud stops being down) below...
photos by Greg Cristman
"On Saturday night the festival presented a commission: "Trinity," a collaboration by Lustmord, from Los Angeles, and Biosphere, from Norway. The West Park Presbyterian Church had been turned into a surround-sound environment.The Unsound Festival came to a close after performances from Napszyklat and Maria Minerva, with DJ sets from Sun Araw vs. Heat Wave and Eltron John, Sunday night at Glasslands.
Trinity was the name of the first test of the atomic bomb, in New Mexico, and the images on the video screen at the church were black-and-white film of desert landscapes, 1940s bomb technology and eventually the detonation. Lustmord and Biosphere are kindred spirits, masters of ominous ambience: enveloping, murky, ultra-slow-motion music. "Trinity" filled the room with tectonic rumbles and gradual whooshes, with tolling crashes followed by silences, with air-raid sirens, with claustrophobically thick cluster chords that were sometimes electronic and sometimes orchestral -- part Penderecki, part "A Day in the Life" -- and with spoken words from the era, wondering, "What have we done?" They embraced technology to question where technology can lead. -[NY Times]
The Lustmord/Biosphere collaboration at West Park Presbyterian Church on Saturday (4/21) also featured a supporting slot from Jacaszek. More pictures and a video from that show, below...
by Andrew Sacher
London-via-Estonia's Maria Minerva made her US live debut at Glasslands last night (4/22) as part of the Unsound Fest closing party. The stage was lit up by an original video montage which included clips of highway driving, old music videos, and tropical storms as Maria performed solo with her laptop/samplers/keyboard and an effected vocal mic which soaked her voice in reverb and delay. Though Maria is a producer and had the stage setup of one, she opted for more of a pop performance, spending most of the time away from the boards and focusing on her voice which rotated between speak-singing and a floaty falsetto. And while visuals for some electronic artists have become "what you watch" at their shows, for Maria they only added to her own performance, which included dancing on stage, standing on chairs, and charismatic gestures.
Like Neon Indian or Toro y Moi, Maria Minerva is looking back on nostalgic pop music through a psychedelic lens. She creates dense, hypnotic atmospheres in virtually all of her music, yet seeing her perform it in front of clips that hearken back to the days where MTV actually played music videos, it's hard not to wonder how many cues she takes from those groups that were on MTV. This isn't a totally foreign concept--Grimes and Zola Jesus have achieved similar feats--but Maria does it really well and there's something very pleasing about music that can be perceived as intelligent while hitting the spot filled by pop. In addition to those nostalgic pop video moments and the samples in her songs, she's quite referential. Because of the effects on her voice, it wasn't always too discernible, but when it cut through I could make out some other allusions to pop culture. The most notable one came when she nicked The Kinks' lyrics on her final song of the night by repeating, "Boy, you really got me going/you got me so I don't know what I'm doing/yeah, you really got me now/you got me so I can't sleep at night," to her own rhythms and melodies.
a Sun Araw vs Heat Wave DJ set, along with Napszyklat and DJ Elton John, opened the night. Watch some Maria Minerva videos below...
by Andrew Sacher
Speaking of dub/psych artists who are playing Austin Psych Fest later this month, but are meanwhile in NYC for Unsound this week, Madison, Wisconsin duo Peaking Lights (who play a free Unsound show at Lincoln Center on Thursday with LXMP) just dropped the first track off their upcoming album, Lucifer (out 6/19 via Mexican Summer) and it's pretty great. Stream that track, which is called "LO HI," along with all of their dates, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, and The Congos - FRKWYS Vol. 9: ICON GIVE THANK
Speaking of Sun Araw (aka Cameron Stallone), he's part of the recently released ninth installment of Brooklyn label RVNG Intl's FRKWYS series, which brings together modern experimental artists and their influential forerunners to collaborate on an album. In the past, we've seen collaborative releases from Julianna Barwick and DNA's Ikue Mori; Daniel Lopatin, James Ferarro, Samuel Godin, and composer David Borden; and Blues Control and Laraaji, among others. The newest release, FRKWYS Vol. 9: ICON GIVE THANK, sees Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras, who were both members of the now-defunct Pocahaunted (whose lineup also included Amanda Brown aka LA Vampires and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast), teaming up with The Congos, who released the dub/reggae classic Heart of the Congos in 1977, produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry. That's the artwork above.
The track, "Happy Song," which you can stream below, sounds too modern for a '70s reggae band but too genuinely nostalgic for modern psych experimentalists, and doesn't really fit anywhere in between.
ICON GIVE THANK was released in conjunction with the film, ICON EYE, a film documenting the album's making. That film will be screened as part of the Unsound LABS on Saturday (4/21) at Anthology Film Archives at 1 PM. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Sun Araw's Cameron Stallones, director Tony Lowe, and project producer Matt Werth.
The movie screening is one of at least three Sun Araw events in NYC this weekend, with the first being a full band show at Le Poisson Rouge Friday night (with Pole & Marc McGuire of Emeralds), and the last being the recently-mentioned DJ set with Heat Wave at Glasslands.
Film trailer, streams, album tracklist, and all dates, below...
Sun Araw Band at BV SXSW (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Heat Wave, who is in NYC this week for the Unsound Festival for which he will participate in a 'Sun Araw vs Heat Wave' DJ set at Glasslands on Sunday (4/22) with Maria Minerva, is playing his first ever Brooklyn show TONIGHT (4/18) at 285 Kent with OHBLIV, Pilgrim (not to be confused with the metal band), and North American, with DJ sets by Zona, Bessed Of, and Witch Doctor.
Of the Glasslands show, Unsound writes, "Especially for the Unsound closing party, Sun Araw will perfrorm a DJ set with close associate and guitarist Alex Gray, who jams with Sun Araw in his band, and is also in Heat Wave and Deep Magic." Tiny Mix Tapes clarifies and says "Heat Wave [is] a project started in late 2010 by L.A.-based Alex Gray (Deep Magic, Sun Araw, Olympus Mons, Earthsurfers)."
More info on the 285 Kent show is below, along with a stream of a Sun Araw vs Heat Wave mix.
Julia Holter @ Le Poisson Rouge in March (more by by Amanda Hatfield)
Unsound Festival New York, the Poland-based series of avant-leaning, ambient and experimental music, kicks off five nights in NYC with two events tonight (4/18): instrumental Warsaw band Baaba scores animations at BAM, while Julia Holter, Julia Kent and Jenny Hval playing a sold-out show at Issue Project Room.
Check out the festival's full schedule, which includes several free shows such as LXMP and Peaking Lights at Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium on Thursday 19th (both have amazing songs on the comp below). Issue Project Room hosts free day sets Saturday and Sunday (though only tickets for Saturday appear to still be available).
If somebody said "an ambient musician" was playing live in town this evening, I wouldn't exactly rush out, you know? I'd rather stay home and read a book. [laughs]Lustmord collaborates with ambient musician Biosphere at an Upper West Side church on Saturday.
[he then goes on to describe how seeing Kraftwerk live changed his mind]
I hadn't seen them live for a long time, and they played in LA--four middle aged guys on laptops, how boring is that? But, fucking hell, it was one of the best gigs I've ever seen. That's when I really thought, yeah, you can stand there with your laptop and do your thing as long as you got the fucking sound.
Inner Tube were set to play Le Poisson Rouge on Friday, but have been replaced by Mark McGuire (solo). And:
a visual program has been added to Bass Mutations on April 21, showing the ways in which visual artists have helped shape the way we imagine bass music. Curated by "Big Up Magazine" Editor-In-Chief Katya Guseva in collaboration with Dave Q from Dub War NYC, it will take place in a movie theatre adjacent to the dancefloor at the venue for the night, IndieScreen. Live audio from Bass Mutations performers such as 2562, Teeth, Sepalcure, Distal, Throwing Snow and Nguzunguzu will provide the soundtrack.Stream an excellent playlist of Unsound artists below...
by Andrew Sacher
Laurel Halo at PS1 in 2011 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Brooklyn's Laurel Halo, who has two solid EPs under her belt and another coming on Mute's new Liberation Technologies label (that one was supposed to come out this week, but has been pushed back), just announced that she's signed to Hyperdub, the label founded and run by Kode9 and whose roster also includes Burial. The label will release her debut full length album, Quarantine, on June 5 in the US and May 28 in Europe. The album art and tracklist are below.
Laurel's got two upcoming appearances in NYC including a techno party at Glasslands on April 13 with Korean Beauty Slaon and Rem Koolhaus (probably DJing?) and a live set during Unsound Fest at Warsaw on April 20 with Ital, Demdike Stare, Hieroglyphic Being, Zemi17, and Monolake, who are all also playing live. Tickets for that show are on sale. The Bunker party flier is below.
Ital meanwhile plays in Brooklyn TONIGHT (3/21) at Knitting Factory with The Suicide of Western Culture and Octo Octa. Tickets are available.
All dates, album art and tracklist below...
by Andrew Sacher
Julia Holter at LPR last week (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Julia Holter, who has been making a ton of buzz lately with her excellent new album, Ekstasis, and her NYC live debut, which you can now watch in full at NPR, will be playing the first day of the fest on Wednesday, April 18 at Issue Project Room with Julia Kent and Jenny Hval.
On Thursday, April 19, psych/dub duo Peaking Lights and LXMP will play a free show at David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center at 7:30 PM. That show will be followed by live sets by Actress, Next Life, and Hype Williams at Le Poisson Rouge at 11 PM.
Friday's (April 20) shows include Sun Araw, pole, and Inner Tube at Le Poisson Rouge at 6 PM and live sets by Laurel Halo, Ital, Demdike Stare, Hieroglyphic Being, Zemi17 and Monolake at Warsaw at 10 PM.
On Saturday, April 21, Biosphere and Lustmord's special TRINITY piece will be performed at West Park Presbyterian Church at 7 PM with an opening set by Jacaszek. After that show, at a venue TBA we'll get Sepalcure (live A/V set), Nguzunguzu (DJ), 2562 (DJ), Teeth (live), Throwing Snow (DJ), DaveQ (DJ), and Distal (DJ).
The festival wraps up on Sunday, April 22 with mostly Unsound LABS, including a talk with Biosphere & Lustmord on 'TRINITY' at the Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building at 4 PM. Glasslands will then hosting the Unsound Festival closing party at 9 PM with live sets by Napszyklat and Maria Minerva (who will be making her US debut) and DJ sets by Sun Araw vs Heat Wave and Eltron John.
Ticket info for all of the paid shows is available.
Full schedule including Unsound LABS below...
by Andrew Sacher
DOWNLOAD: Maria Minerva - "Gloria" (MP3)
Last month, we announced that the Unsound Festival is returning to NYC on April 18 - 22 across various venues including BAMcinématek, The Bunker, Lincoln Center, ISSUE Project Room and Le Poisson Rouge. We also since mentioned the related Kickstarter campaign for UNSOUND LABS.
Now, a lot of really exciting additions have been made to the lineup, including Julia Holter (who makes her NYC debut at LPR on 3/6), Maria Minerva, Peaking Lights, Sepalcure, Nguzunguzu (who recently announced a tour), Laurel Halo, 2562, Inner Tube (aka Mark McGuire of Emeralds and Spencer Clark), and many more. The full current lineup is listed below. More details coming soon.
One of the most interesting additions to this year's Unsound lineup is Estonia's Maria Minerva (aka Maria Juur), who will be making her NYC/US debut at the festival. According to her facebook, she'll be "doing two things at the festival, more info soon." Maria first caught my attention with her first official LP, Cabaret Cixous, which dropped last year on Not Not Fun. The album showed a tasteful knack for ambient/experimental pop but left me admittedly feeling like she still had plenty of room left to grow. A few months later, she dropped the Sacred & Profane Love EP on NNF's sister label, 100% Silk, and it was exactly what Cabaret Cixous was yearning for. The most impressive moment on the EP (and her best song yet) is the track, "Gloria," which you can download above or stream below. Fans of Grimes, Julianna Barwick, or fellow Unsound performers Julia Holter and Laurel Halo, take note.
Lineup, song stream, and all Maria Minerva dates below...
Emeralds with Alan Howarth at UNSOUND 2011 (more by Erez Avissar)
While we await full details on Unsound NYC 2012, the festival is working to ensure funding for its "LABS" by putting up a Kickstarter. The say;
In 2012, we are working to expand UNSOUND LABS, both within the context of the festival and with further related events to be presented throughout the city during the rest of the year. During UNSOUND FESTIVAL NEW YORK 2012, we will be presenting more special collaborations between musicians from the U.S. and Europe, with a special focus on New York, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. Concerts presented under the banner of LABS will be free and open to all. We will also be recording all UNSOUND LABS concerts for distribution via a free digital compilation to be available for download after the festival.Pledges get you anything from a "sincere thanks and a cryptic missive via email" to "VIP access + 3-night accommodation at the 10th anniversary of UNSOUND KRAKOW in October 2012." Full details are at Kickstarter and in the video below. The festival runs from April 18th - 22nd at multiple venues across NYC.
Likewise, all talks, presentations, and tours presented as part of LABS will be free and open to all. That has always been the case in the past, and it is important to us to continue in a similarly accessible vein. Your support will allow us to help cover LABS-related costs not supported directly by the cultural institutes we work with to make the festival come together as a whole. It will allow us to continue to present new and interesting work and ideas and part of LABS--and keep things free.
Lustmord at Unsound 2011 (more by Greg Cristman)
Set aside April 18 - 22 which is when the annual Unsound Festival will make its way back to NYC at various venues across the city including BAMcinématek, The Bunker, Lincoln Center, ISSUE Project Room and Le Poisson Rouge.
So far amongst the confirmed are Baaba, Hype Williams, Berliner POLE, Jacaszek, Demdike Stare, ITAL, Hieroglyphic Being, Sun Araw, and a special set from Biosphere with Lustmord:
The worldwide debut of a special commission by Unsound and The Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York and San Francisco: TRINITY features two legendary pioneers of ambient music Biosphere and Lustmord joining forces for the first time. Though both hail from very different worlds - Los Angeles based Lustmord is shrouded in darkness, whilst Biosphere's equally mysterious persona is deeply connected with the Arctic Circle - together they will create a work inspired by the first testing and development of atomic weapons in the Nevada desert.Lustmord also played Unsound 2011. Stay tuned for more details on the 2012 fest.
This project is just one in a series of works related to the new Nordic scene - with a special focus on Norway. Unsound Festival New York's 2012 program will also include the blistering live show of Oslo-based digimetal band KILLL.
photos by Erez Avissar
""IF YOU'RE FROM NEW YORK, you'll know this one." As the image of an eye patch-sporting Kurt Russell flashed across twin screens behind the stage at West Village destination Le Poisson Rouge, the speaker struck up a portentous synth line and the audience burst into nostalgic applause; ...the tense theme from 1981 cult actioner Escape from New York is one of his own compositions. Alan Howarth... is something of an icon to fans of electronic movie sound tracks and effects: His résumé is peppered with Hollywood titles from Poltergeist to Raiders of the Lost Ark, John Carpenter projects like Escape and Halloween featuring prominently among them.Synthesizer music pioneers Alan Howarth and Harald Grosskopf shared a bill with Emeralds as part of the Unsound Festival at Le Poisson Rouge on Friday night (4/8). And it was old meets new, as Grosskopf was joined by A.R.P, Blondes, Laurel Halo, Pink Skull and James Ferraro. Howarth and Emeralds also played together. Jade Boyd provided the visuals.
"Most of this music's just been sitting around for thirty years," Howarth admitted cheerfully, reveling in the attention it was now receiving and clearly overjoyed to find himself out of the studio and in front of some appreciative listeners. Harald Grosskopf, drummer for 1970s German space-rockers Ash Ra Tempel and author of 1979's Synthesist album (described by the organizers as "the nexus of Krautrock, Kosmische, and New Age"--and who am I to argue?), was in similarly high sprits. Taking the stage after Howarth, he got rather more of a workout, bobbing and weaving behind his stand-up kit while adopting a range of orgasmic/tortured facial expressions. "This screen is to monitor my blood pressure," he quipped, pointing to one of several nearby laptops. "It's nothing to do with the music."
After an hour or so of meandering but effortlessly enjoyable stuff, Grosskopf and friends made way for Emeralds, a young trio from Cleveland whose synth-heavy instrumental jams owe much to their senior colleagues' pioneering work..." -[Artforum]
The theme continued the next night as well as many of the same performers, Harald Grosskopf included, played and/or DJ'd at a secret party in Brooklyn. Erez was at both events, and his pictures from them continue, with some videos, below...
photos by Greg Cristman
"Rumbles, thunderclaps and a baleful reading from the Old Testament prophet Amos -- "I will slay the last of them with my sword" -- opened the set by Lustmord on Sunday night at the Abrons Arts Center, the finale of the Unsound Festival of electronic and contemporary music and video. It was an extraordinarily rare live performance by the British musician Brian Williams, who has been recording as Lustmord since 1980 but has given only a handful of public concerts during his career, emerging for the Unsound Festival in Krakow, Poland, last year.Lustmord played two Unsound Festival shows in a row, both presented by the Blackened Music Series, at the Abrons Arts Center in NYC on Sunday (4/10). Polish experimental musician Robert Piotrowicz and Void Ov Voices (aka Attila of Mayhem) also played both shows. More pictures from the late one (Lustmord's second USA show in 25 years), below...
Lustmord has been a pioneer of what is generally called dark ambient music. It is textural rather than melodic, ultra-slow and submerged in bass and sub-bass frequencies, merging natural reverberations -- Lustmord has recorded in crypts -- with electronic ones. It opens abysses and lingers in them. When Lustmord got started it was associated with post-punk industrial music. Mr. Williams was a member in the 1980s of the Australian industrial group SPK and more recently has collaborated with the Melvins and Tool. While recording prolifically as Lustmord he has worked extensively as a sound designer in Hollywood, bringing ominous resonances to movie soundtracks."
04.01 FridayThough I don't think everyone is playing at 8:00, that is the official description of the Unsound Festival's first event which is happening at Issue Project Room tonight (4/1). Read more about it on the Opal Nest blog, and browse through the whole schedule to see what's happening over the 10 days at various New York venues.
08:00 PM // ISSUE PROJECT ROOM
UNSOUND LABS: COLLABORATIONS 1, presented with ISSUE Project Room
Unsound Festival NY Labs kicks off at ISSUE Project Room with the first of 2 nights focusing on collaborations. HATI (PL) collaborates with Z'ev (US); Dawid Szczesny (PL) collaborates with duo MERCE made up of harpist Shelley Burgon & avant-turntablist Maria Chavez (US); Anna Zaradny (PL) collaborates with New York-based Walkman manipulator Aki Onda (US).
08:00 PM HATI + Z'ev
08:00 PM Anna Zaradny
08:00 PM MERCE
08:00 PM Dawid Szczesny
08:00 PM Aki Onda
Tickets: $12 / $10 members IPR
April 6th is the Daníel Bjarnason/Ben Frost w/ Krakow orchestra Sinfonietta Cracovia "Music for Solaris" show at Alice Tully Hall. Sinfonietta Cracovia (who are coming all the way from Poland) also perform the day after that at Judson Church where they'll be performing Gorecki including the piece you can watch below.
"Now in its second year, this New York outpost of a vital Polish avant-garde music festival includes several events of note for contemporary-classical partisans. On Wednesday at Lincoln Center, the Sinfonietta Cracovia presents "Music for Solaris," a multimedia homage to Stanislaw Lem's novel with music by Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason, and works by Krzysztof Penderecki and Steve Reich. On Thursday evening Morton Subotnick revisits his pioneering electronic work "Silver Apples of the Moon" at the Rubenstein Atrium; later, at the Judson Church, the Sinfonietta Cracovia plays works by Henryk Gorecki in a concert shared with the Norwegian duo Deaf Center. Wednesday at 8 p.m., Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, (212) 671-4050, lincolncenter.org; $20 to $30. Thursday at 7:30 p.m., David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center, (212) 875-5456, lincolncenter.org; free; at 10 p.m., Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village , (212) 598-0551, judson.org; $12 in advance, $15 at the door. (Smith)"You can also find more info in our previous post on the fest's lineup, and in our initial announcement as well. The above-mentioned video and more below...
Ben Frost at Brooklyn Masonic Temple (more by Greg Cristman)
After a successful inaugural year, Unsound returns in 2011. As discussed, the ten day festival will take place from April 1st - 10th at multiple venues across New York City with the musical program taking place from April 6th - 10th.
Kicking off April 6th at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, as also discussed Unsound will host Music For Solaris, a multimedia experience that incorporates the Tarkovsky film, Lem's written source material, and music "written for twenty-nine string players, two percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics by Ben Frost (Australia / Iceland) and Daníel Bjarnason (Iceland) in collaboration with one of Poland's leading orchestras, Sinfonietta Cracovia." Brian Eno and Nick Robertson will be on hand for "film manipulations" of the Tarkovsky film.
The next three days will see events with Morton Subotnick, Atom, Lone, Badawi, Kontext, Alan Howarth, Harald Grosskopf, Emeralds, the previously mentioned debut of the new incarnation of Skull Defekts with Daniel Higgs (April 3rd at Littlefield), and so much more.
On April 10th, the festival will close up shop with with three events, one of which will feature the NYC live and dark debut of Lustmord with Void Ov Voices (aka Attila of Mayhem) and Robert Piotrowicz at Abrons Art Center.
More details on Unsound NYC are below.
Moritz Von Oswald Trio at Unsound 2010 (more by Greg Cristman)
UNSOUND had it's first NYC event over the course of ten days in February with artists like Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Aidan Baker, Carl Craig, and a ton of others. Now the Polish organizers will make their return to NYC from in April 2011 (the 6th through 10th) for a gang of musical acts as well as "workshops, discussions and experimental events". So far the lineup hasn't been announced, save for one performance:
Making its USA premiere at Unsound Festival will be a new Unsound-commissioned project by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnasson, with "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson. The ambitious project will celebrate the 50th anniversary (2011) of the publication of Krakow writer Stanislaw Lem's novel Solaris and will feature Frost / Bjarnasson collaborating with Sinfonietta Cracovia, one of Poland's leading orchestras.More details about the NYC event are forthcoming, but the work will make its world premiere "at Unsound Festival on the 24th of October 2010 in Krakow Poland. It will then be recorded in Krakow, for release as an album on the Icelandic label Bedroom Community."
Written for 29 string players, 2 percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics, Music For Solaris has its beginnings in both Lem's original novel and the 1972 film adaptation by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a re-imagined soundtrack for a film so still as to become almost absent, a story in sound, and an exploration of an interior cosmos. It is music written by human beings, removed and mutated by machine intelligence, then translated once more by human beings.
Integral to the project are a series of "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson, drawing on moments from the original Tarkovwsky film to create a visual parallel to the music composition process. The performance will also mark the release of the album Music For Solaris.
Ben Frost meanwhile is scheduled to open the sold-out Swans show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on 10/8. Brian Eno is currently streaming his new album Small Craft on a Milk Sea, due in November via Warp.
The ongoing Unsound festival continues to impress. LPR will feature the great Tim Hecker TONIGHT (2/10) with Radian, Sweden's Tape, and Mountains with a special and unique set from a "band formed during the kids electronic music workshops" that have taken place throughout the festival. Tickets are still available.
Hecker released two LPs in the past two years: a solo effort entitled An Imaginary Country via Kranky last year and a collabo LP with Aidan Baker on Alien8 called Fantasma Parastasie. The ever prolific Baker has a few different projects up his sleeve but one of those, Nadja, will also be in NYC as part of the Unsound fest.
As a performer, Daniell utilizes acoustic, electric, and pedal steel guitar along with a variety of electronics. He has worked for over a decade as a member of the improvising blues-drone trio San Agustin, along with many other collaborators through the years, including Tim Barnes, Ateleia, Jeph Jerman, Thurston Moore, Sean Meehan, Loren Connors, Tomas Korber, Greg Davis, as lead guitarist in Jonathan Kane's live band, and as concertmaster for Rhys Chatham's 100- and 200-guitar performances. Current active collaborations include a duo with guitarist Douglas McCombs (of Brokeback, Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day) and a trio with Christian Fennesz and Tony Buck (of The Necks).Tickets are still available.
Aidan Baker has a new LP entitled Liminoid/Lifeforms out NOW via Alien 8. Stream the entire thing and/or download one track, "Liminoid Part III", above. After NYC, Nadja will blast off to Europa to link up with OvO and Thrones (who is playing TWO NYC shows, 2/18 and 2/19) for a string of dates in later March/April.
Full tour dates and a bunch of videos are below.
words by BBG, photos by Greg Cristman
No one minded that the Moritz Von Oswald Trio had five members when it made its American debut on Saturday night at Le Poisson Rouge, part of the Unsound Festival New York and the Wordless Music series at the club. The trio is an alliance of techno and ambient disc jockeys and programmers doing what they don't do in D.J. booths or remix studios: playing instruments together in real time.Moritz Von Oswald Trio were joined by DJ Eric Demby (aka Treeboy) and the LPR Orchestra, who played reimagined versions of Ravel's "Bolero" and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" at LPR on 2/6.
Mr. Von Oswald was surrounded by keyboards and synthesizers. Sasu Ripatti, also known as Vladislav Delay, was at a percussion kit with conga drums, bells and cymbals. Max Loderbauer, a k a N.S.I., was at his own analog synthesizer. And with them were another two renowned D.J.s: Carl Craig, a pioneer of Detroit techno, on synthesizers, and François K, a patriarch of house music, providing mixing, effects and additional sounds.
Their shared improvisation only hinted at the dance floor. It was sci-fi ambient music, with a background wash of pink noise like interstellar dust and puffy tones, pitched and unpitched, arising out of the static. The group's D.J. instincts governed the perpetually evolving structure: riffs appeared, drew responses, repeated, became foundations and eventually dissolved as new ones arrived. -[New York Times]
More pictures from the Moritz Von Oswald Trio show are below...
Carl Craig, one of the many artists at Unsound 2010
Since 2003, Unsound Festival, Poland's most adventurous music festival, has brought a bold and uniquely modern program of music to Kraków. Now, with seven festivals in their native city under their belt (and outpost events further east in cities like Minsk),The festival will kick off on Thursday, February 4th, with the first ever US performance from Vladislav Delay + Lillevan as well as Sebastian Meissner + Kwartludium as Solid State Transmitter. The former will perform their "ongoing series of electronic music and video improvisations", while the latter will reimagine SST Records (yes, that SST) through the eyes of a classical composer (wow, awesome). The FREE show will take place at David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center.
Unsound is coming west to New York for their first ever North American edition. Unsound Festival New York's mission is to forge new links between music genres, between generations and even between artistic practices.
The driving force in the assembling of the New York program has been Unsound Festival's commitment to forms of music and sound art that involve experimentation and risk. Unsound Festival has made a worldwide reputation by breaking new ground while dealing with vibrant electronic, experimental, independent, post-classical and club music scenes from around the world.
Feb 5th begins the start of Warhol Program, a series of pieces designed for and in tribute to Andy Warhol. The great Carl Craig will join nsi. for live soundtracks to "Blow Job" and "Kiss" respectively during a pair of screenings that night at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater> Tickets are currently on sale for both the first showing at 7:30 (tix), and the second going down at 9:30 PM (tix). The show will be the US debut of the pieces, with nsi.'s piece being it's world debut. For the night owls, the party continues at Public Assembly, who will house Bunker parties on that night, 2/12, and 2/13. More details about the Bunker parties are at their site.
The Warhol Program continues the next day (2/6), when Groupshow (Jan Jelinek, Andrew Pekler, Hanno Leichtmann) will lead a free eight-hour (!) improvisation to Andy Warhol's film "Empire" at LPR. Maybe hook up a sack lunch?
After eight hours of improv, LPR will make way for A Century of Dance Music featuring the US debut of Moritz Von Oswald Trio:
Berliner Moritz Von Oswald is well known for his work as part of the duos Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound as well as for his own "M" series of recordings. He could be labeled the inventor of "dub techno," if that weren't too narrow a tag to define the scope of his music and accomplishments. Moritz Von Oswald is highly ranked by many critics and fans alike as one of the most original electronic music producers of the last two decades. [On 2/6] Von Oswald unveils his new trio featuring Vladislav Delay on drums and Max Loderbauer on electronics in their first ever North American performance. Last year their debut album was released by London's Honest Jons.Doors are at 10PM, and tickets are on sale.
In tribute to Von Oswald, the evening opens with New York City's Ensemble LPR - the flexible house band of the venue (Le) Poisson Rouge which is led by LPR's two young founders - David Handler (violinist / composer) and Justin Kantor (cellist) along with fellow Manhattan School of Music graduate Orlando Alonso (conductor / pianist). The Ensemble will perform new renditions of Ravel's "Bolero" and selections from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" based on remixes Moritz Von Oswald and Carl Craig assembled in 2008 for the Deutsche Grammophon album "Recomposed" (released only in Europe).
We'll post more details on this festival, but for now, dig on the full lineup (below) and a few videos. In addition, you can download a copy of the Unsound digital compilation for FREE for a limited time. Get on it!