Resident Advisor has produced a short film about Unsound Krakow. Including interviews and performances with some of this year’s artists, the film gives a great overview of some of the venues we use, as well as a taste of Krakow in autumn. You can watch it here.
This seems a good moment to recap our events for the year, our busiest ever. 2017 included Unsound Dislocation events in Minsk in Belarus, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Kazan and Murmansk in Russia, and Lviv in Ukraine. Thanks to Goethe-Institut for inviting us to these places. In 2018, we look forward to heading to Baku in Azerbaijan and Yerevan in Armenia, the last two destinations of this epic three year project. All these events are an essential part of Unsound’s identity, which takes a truly global approach to making connections, in smaller more isolated places as well as major cities.
Krakow came next, the 15th edition curated around the theme Flower Power, taking the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love to riff on the ideas related to counterculture and ecology, as well as explore the dark times in which that era and our own exist. The festival included a music program of over a hundred shows in many different venues, installations, workshops and by far our most ambitious discourse program yet - an aspect of Unsound Krakow we intend to expand further upon in 2018.
In its review, Resident Advisor wrote that it’s a “sense of unfiltered adventure that defines pretty much every aspect of Unsound. The festival has spent 15 years creating an environment where artists and audiences alike push themselves, uncovering new possibilities in sound and broadening their understanding of different music and cultures.” The Quietus called Unsound “one of the world’s greatest festivals”, while Electronic Beats wrote “Since its inception 15 years ago, Unsound has been extolled as a pioneer in experimental underground music, and this year it further cemented its position as a leader and innovator in this forward-thinking scene.” The Guardian wrote a piece on both Unsound and Portugal’s Semibreve, describing both as “the festivals that dream a better world in sound” and writing, “Every autumn these festivals head to the coalface of today’s music scene, where ideas and aesthetics are mined and sent up to the mainstream.”
After Krakow, we travelled to Toronto for two special Halloween events, presented with The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and Luminato Festival. The two-night bill included “AutoBIOgraphy Edits” performed by Jlin and dancers from Company Wayne McGregor, a condensed version of Wayne McGregor’s “AutoBIOgraphy” for which Jlin composed the music in partnership with Unsound. For audience and reviewers, an unexpected highlight of Unsound Toronto was Polish band Księżyc, making their North American debut. NOW Magazine wrote of the events that “a standing ovation proved Toronto and Unsound still have mutual feelings for each other.” We couldn’t agree more!
We then travelled down under, to Adelaide, where after four editions of Unsound within the framework of Adelaide Festival, we presented a stand alone event in partnership with Random Harvest and Insite Arts. This allowed us to expand the festival and include installations, a daytime discourse program and club nights. Australia’s Realtime said of the event, “Unsound Adelaide was outstanding in its conception and delivery, adding a crucially important dimension to musical programming in Australia. With a recurrent Unsound, Adelaide is now more firmly positioned in a growing world-wide circuit that focuses on and stimulates experimental composition, performance, technical development, discussion and criticism and supports local performers and communities. It is to be hoped that Unsound continues to flourish.”
Finally, in December, our last event for the year was co-presented with the Barbican in London, in their main concert hall. The almost sold out evening attracted almost 1700 people, coming for commissioned and premiere works by NIVHEK (akd Grouper) & MFO, The Caretaker & Weirdcore and Felicita & Slask Song And Dance Ensemble. Jacek Hawryluk wrote in Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, "Unsound London and its Dislocation theme was a perfect multi-level description of our current times. They are constantly shifting, turning back, full of emotional turmoil - and longing for what has gone forever." Crack Magazine wrote, “Unsound Dislocation revealed layers of identity, loneliness and alienation through the medium of experimental music.”
We would also like to say congratulations to Jlin, an artist we’re proud to represent via Unsound Productions. Jlin has been at the top of a wide range of end of year lists for her album “Black Origami”, including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and The Wire.
We’d also like to thank every artist, audience member and local partner involved in these Unsound events, and we look forward to seeing you somewhere in 2018. Stay tuned early next year for announcements on our activities - and sign up to our Facebook and Twitter account for the latest news. Our 2018 theme and dates will be announced early next year.