Unsound Krakow celebrates its 15th edition this year - accordingly, the festival will invite a cast of artists closely connected to its history along with various pioneers and some of the most searching and progressive artists and strains of music that we have discovered this year. The festival, with the wide and expansive theme of “Flower Power,” takes place from October 8th to 15th, and passes go on sale today—Monday May 29—at 4pm CEST via Ticketpro. Weekly Passes cost 470 PLN, while Long Weekend Passes cover October 12 to 15th and cost 400 PLN.
EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN engage certain perhaps unexpected aspects of our Flower Power theme (further explained here) and its exploration of counter-culture in all its forms: of darkness and light, fragility and growth, order and chaos. The band created its unique sound by combining guitars and homemade instruments fashioned from scraps of metal, drainpipes, chains, drills, cables and more, while foregrounding Blixa Bargeld’s magnetic voice. In their 37th year, they’re embarking on a “greatest hits” tour that will highlight many creative peaks.
NIVHEK (Liz Harris/Grouper) & MFO will present “After its own death”, the result of a residency in Murmansk, located in the Russian Arctic. Paradoxically minimalist, both harsh and dreamlike, the work will explore landscape, nostalgia and isolation via image and sound. This is part of the Unsound Dislocation series and co-commissioned with Goethe-Institut and The Barbican, London. The work will premiere as part of Unsound Murmansk, and follows a 2016 commission for which Helm and Moa Pillar worked with visual collective Embassy For The Displaced to explore Siberia.
Presented in collaboration with EUROPALIA INDONESIA, MOONDOG FOR GAMELAN is the world premiere of a show that sees acclaimed Indonesian composer IWAN GUNAWAN and his ensemble KYAI FATAHILLAH joining forces with Sweden’s STEFAN LAKATOS, performing on the unique trimba built by the late visionary Moondog himself. Although often considered by many New Yorkers a simple busker, "the Viking of 6th Avenue" was a classically trained composer who created revolutionary and influential works combining classical music, jazz, Native American music and field recordings.
ZONAL is KEVIN MARTIN aka THE BUG and JUSTIN BROADRICK, a further development of their famed duo TECHNO ANIMAL. As another Unsound premiere, the band will join forces with MOOR MOTHER, a U.S. musician and poet whose work embodies protest via noise, hip hop and Afrofuturism. Moor Mother will also perform solo at the festival.
Unsound has a history of presenting new laser works, including Robert Henke’s Lumiere in 2013 and Double Vision by Robin Fox and Atom™ in 2014. Both have gone on to tour widely. Now ROBIN FOX will premiere "Single Origin", the third part in his influential trilogy for lasers that began in 2004 and a work that goes even further into exploring the geometry of sound. Described by Fox as “essentially a concerto for a single laser beam”, this work draws the spectrum of RGB (red, green and blue) into one laser projector.
Wolfgang Voigt’s legendary GAS project is one of the key points in ambient music’s history. Influenced by Voigt’s artistic affinity to romanticism and the forest as a place of yearning, GAS reemerged in 2017 after a seventeen-year hiatus with the brilliant album “Narkopop”. He performs at Unsound with visual work that also reflects to the festival’s Flower Power theme.
Appearing on the same bill as Moondog for Gamelan and intersecting with ambient music are VISIBLE CLOAKS, a duo made up of Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile. Utilising virtual versions of instruments from around the world, they create a dynamic and expressive mesh of crystalline sounds, transforming acoustic textures into the digital. Please note that this double bill is a daytime show outside the main festival pass and needs a separate ticket.
JLIN’s first ever show outside the U.S. was at Unsound Krakow in 2015. Since then, Unsound has been closely connected to this unique artist, including instigating a collaboration between Jlin and Studio Wayne McGregor for a new dance performance. The piece will premiere in Sadler’s Well in London right before the festival. At Unsound, Jlin will return following the release of her acclaimed sophomore album, “Black Origami”. Further outgrowing the boundaries of footwork, Jlin explores the intersections of ritual and club music in a dazzling blend of weightless, graceful yet powerful drum patterns, creating music that lies outside any genre. Check out the fantastic new video for her track “Carbon 7 (161)”.
Although NINA KRAVIZ has achieved stardom within the DJ community, her techno sound is moving in increasingly adventurous directions. She is also the founder of трип, a label mainly focused on Russian artists. She will perform on the same Hotel Forum lineup as PTU, a Russian duo combining techno and rave tropes with impeccable sound design; PTU will also be involved in Unsound Kazan, their home city.
Our usual club venue in the formerly abandoned late-'80s Hotel Forum will also host many of the finest DJs from the U.S. Detroit legends DJ BONE and DJ STINGRAY will partner for the first time ever for a back-to-back set, followed by NONCOMPLIANT, a great DJ with two decades of experience finally making waves outside her country. Based in Japan but also hailing from the Midwest, DJ SPRINKLES is an outspoken artist and house musician whose work foregrounds issues of gender and identity. Discwoman’s UMFANG comes from the East Coast, pushing dynamic techno. Many of these figures will also appear in Unsound’s daytime discourse program.
Stretching the boundaries of techno music is Sweden’s VARG of Northern Electronics, whose Nordic Flora series found the prolific artist expanding his musical vocabulary in fascinating ways by its third installment released earlier this year. Reaching towards often contradictory and unusual inspirations, he finds some humour in the deep melancholy that permeates his works.
Also working on the outskirts of techno music is Belgian-Congolese artist NKISI, known for a fascinating mixture of hardcore subgenres such as doomcore and gabber with African club music. Appearing alongside the NON collective co-founder is one of its associates JULIANA HUXTABLE, the New York performance artist, poet and DJ, known for her multi-genre explosive sets.
Last but not least, we have also invited two noise artists known for engaging performances exploring the physicality of sound: PHARMAKON, whose music based on the study of trance materialised this year in the form of her “Contact” album, and EWA JUSTKA, the self-taught synth-builder working with multi-sensory presentations of analogue signals.
Many other artist announcements will follow in the months leading up to the festival. Also, please note that, after this announcement and tickets going on sale, we are putting on hold the submissions for membership in the recently inaugurated program Friends of Unsound. We would like to thank all people who have joined so far, and hope to see you at the festival and encourage you to keep supporting our mission in exchange for our love and gratitude.
UNSOUND 2017 ARTISTS ANNOUNCED SO FAR:
DJ Bone b2b DJ Stingray (US) — world premiere
DJ Sprinkles (US/JP)
Einstürzende Neubauten (DE)
Ewa Justka (PL/UK)
Juliana Huxtable (US)
Moondog for Gamelan with Iwan Gunawan and Stefan Lakatos (IN/SE) — world premiere
Moor Mother (US)
NIVHEK (Liz Harris/Grouper) & MFO pres. “After its own death” (US/DE) — commissioned project
Nina Kraviz (RU/DE)
Robin Fox pres. “Single Origin” (AU) — world premiere
Visible Cloaks (US)
Zonal & Moor Mother (UK/US) — world premiere
Varg is supported by the SHAPE Platform.