The theme for Unsound 2014 is The Dream.
On the one hand, this theme explores music that is surreal, dream-like and tranceinducing - be it through drone, rhythm or the juxtaposition of unexpected elements. But there is also a wider cultural context.
The Dream is a symptom of a world where self-expression and experience are increasingly mediated and commodified. It plays out on laptops used for work and leisure, in networked
coffee shops, airports, international “artistic enclaves” and nightclubs. Anxiety is its underside: those Living The Dream often do so in precarious financial situations, while in the background, ecological, political and economic systems lurch towards collapse; war looms on the horizon, threatening to escalate.
Music is one of the ultimate harbingers of an emergent Dreamstate. Its cultural capital expands even as its labor is gradually emptied of monetary value. In the wake of the new
music-industry infrastructure, media companies and brands, a kind of global “underground” forms, where the insatiable drive to be fresh produces, paradoxically, more of the same.
Nowhere is this more evident than at the modern festival, where line-ups seem to be becoming more homogenized, whether at mega-raves or smaller specialised events. Historically, The Dream stems from alternative and even oppositional artistic movements and social systems. Our question is, what remains of that subversive drive? In asking this, we realise we also open the position of our own festival to scrutiny, revealing contradictions.
Through a series of artistic actions, films and talks, Unsound 2014 will explore these ideas, as well as consider their original source - the counter-culture movements.
And of course, at the heart of Unsound’s The Dream are pivotal musicians and artists whose success — or apparent lack thereof — doesn’t affect their refusal to compromise.
A lot of people like Unsound.