Unsound takes place this October, between 6th - 13th October. Presented around the theme Solidarity, the festival will take over the city of Krakow, bringing not only music but an extensive discourse program of talks, workshops and film screenings. Passes and Sunn O))) tickets go on sale Monday 3rd June at 4pm CEST via Polish ticket provider Going.
Highlighting longterm relationships that Unsound has created - and continues to create - the program includes a number of premieres and new projects from returning artists. Also well-represented are emerging names from vibrant scenes around the world.
Artists: The Caretaker & Weirdcore (UK, world premiere) ○ Emptyset presents Blossoms - live (UK, world premiere) ○ Eris Drew b2b Octo Octa - dj (US) ○ DJ Marcelle - dj (NL) ○ Gabber Modus Operandi - live (ID) ○ HHY & The Macumbas + HHY & The Kampala Unit (PT/UG, world premiere) ○ Holly Herndon presents Proto (US/DE) ○ Jay Mitta & Ant Virus - live (TZ, European premiere) ○ JD Twitch presents Against Fascism Trax - dj (UK, world premiere) ○ Manara - dj (UK) ○ MCZO & Duke - live (TZ) ○ Moor Mother & London Contemporary Orchestra present The Great Bailout (US/UK, world premiere) ○ Nazira (KZ) ○ The Necks, Ilan Volkov & Sinfonietta Cracovia (AU/IL/PL, world premiere) ○ Objekt × Ezra Miller - live (DE/US) ○ Olivia & Chino present Radiation 30376 - live (PL, world premiere) ○ Paula Temple - dj (UK) ○ Population One - live (US) ○ Prison Religion - live (US) ○ Robert Henke presents CBM 8032 AV (DE, world premiere) ○ The Round Table Orchestra (PL) ○ Sherelle b2b FAUZIA - dj (UK) ○ Sote presents Parallel Persia (IR) ○ Sunn O))) (US) ○ Violet - live (PT) ○ VTSS - live (PL) ○ WIXAPOL presents Prześniona Rejwolucja / Draemt-thru Raveolutoin - live (PL, world premiere)
Speakers: Ayesha Hameed (UK) ○ DeForrest Brown, Jr. (US) ○ Ewa Majewska (PL) ○ Jay Springett (UK) ○ John Higgs (UK) ○ Nathalie Olah (UK)
Films: SIKSA. Stabat Mater Dolorosa (PL)
Formed especially for Unsound and the European Solidarity Centre, THE ROUND TABLE ORCHESTRA is a music project referencing the 1989 Warsaw talks in which the Polish government engaged in discussion with members of the opposition, including the trade union Solidarność. The group will create a musical dialogue around a table, and includes REMONT POMP - a percussion ensemble with members with and without a disability - as well as some of Poland’s best jazz musicians, including saxophonist/clarinetist MIKOŁAJ TRZASKA, saxophonist TOMASZ GADECKI and trumpeter TOMASZ ZIĘTEK.
THE CARETAKER is driven by empathy as well as imagination, exploring memory, loss, nostalgia and what it means to exist as a human being through music and sound. Leyland Kirby’s final epic work under this moniker is a six-part album sonically documenting a descent into dementia. Now The Caretaker will present an entirely new show with visual artist WEIRDCORE, drawing upon the paintings of Ivan Seal, the artist behind The Caretaker’s iconic album covers.
MOOR MOTHER and the LONDON CONTEMPORARY ORCHESTRA will present The Great Bailout, a free verse poem that acts as a nonlinear word map about colonialism, slavery and commerce in Great Britain and her commonwealth. Also tracing the margins of classical music, THE NECKS will join forces with Krakow’s SINFONIETTA CRACOVIA and ILAN VOLKOV, performing together in the medieval Wieliczka Salt Mine. SOTE’s Parallel Persia - described as “a soundtrack for a science-fiction version of Iran” - combines electronics and traditional Persian instruments to create an alternate sonic universe.
Three projects directly explore the relationship between computing, machine intelligence and artistic practise. ROBERT HENKE presents the world premiere of the audiovisual show CBM 8032 AV, a work—three years in the making—run entirely on restored Commodore CBM 8032 computers. This show is not included in the festival pass. In another premiere resulting from long-term research, EMPTYSET employ emerging machine learning to create Blossoms, a work focusing on ideas of evolution and adaptation, fragmentation and resilience, and the convolution of biotic and abiotic agency. After presenting a developing work at Unsound two years ago, HOLLY HERNDON returns to present the completed Proto, created with the help of an A.I. program called Spawn and a human chorus, to explore ideas of community, tradition and humanity.
Every show from SUNN O))) is a special experience - a ritual bringing together the audience and musicians on stage. The group will perform at Unsound following their new album Life Metal, which brings light and colour to their sound and image. Around Unsound, they will also release another album, Pyroclasts, described as more meditative.
WIXAPOL make their live debut at Unsound 2019, presenting the world premiere of Prześniona Rejwolucja / Draemt-thru Raveolutoin, an audiovisual show taking its title from a book by Andrzej Leder tracking the transformation of the Polish working and middle classes. Through an ethnological lens they will explore wixa music, a local genre of hard dance music mostly associated with the working class from smaller towns. GABBER MODUS OPERANDI will also present an audiovisual show exploring a local take on hardcore dance music, referencing Indonesia’s anarchic spirituality.
In 2017, Unsound reached out to the Ugandan record label and affiliated festival Nyege Nyege, leading to a European premiere performance by Otim Alpha. Two years on, the two festivals are deepening their connections even more, joining transnational curatorial forces to bring another selection of East African artists to Europe, most for the first time.
MCZO & DUKE were slated to perform at last year’s Unsound, but due to a misprint in their passports weren’t allowed to leave their country. At Unsound 2019, they’ll finally get to present their raw and infectious take on singeli, an ultra-fast Tanzanian genre that is the country’s answer to hardcore dance music and rap, combining rapid beats with stories about life in Dar Es Salaam. The scene will also be represented with the European premiere of JAY MITTA, who comes together with ANT VIRUS, one of the most exciting rappers in the genre.
Hailing from Portugal HHY & THE MACUMBAS will appear with HHY & THE KAMPALA UNIT formed in Uganda in 2018 by Jonathan Uliel Saldanha. The Ugandan artists will come to Europe for the first time to perform together with the Portuguese ensemble in a unique show.
Other acts to perform at Hotel Forum include PAULA TEMPLE, whose work references political themes while treating music as a call to action. Optimo’s JD TWITCH returns to Unsound to present a DJ set inspired by his label AGAINST FASCISM TRAX, established to “provoke dialogue that is fundamentally anti-racist, anti-sexist, non-homophobic, non transphobic, non-ageist” and “non-ableist”. Known for their message of love and the fight for inclusivity in the music industry, ERIS DREW and OCTO OCTA return to Kraków for an extended b2b set closing the Saturday night. Almaty’s NAZIRA and Lisbon’s VIOLET are equally recognised for activism and their emotional techno sound; the former will DJ, the latter will play live.
Other live shows in the club program include OBJEKT, who will follow up on his acclaimed album Cocoon Crush with a live show combining music, lights, lasers and visuals designed by EZRA MILLER. Unsound resident DJ OLIVIA will make her live debut in a collaborative show with CHINO titled Radiation 30376. Detroit legend TERRENCE DIXON will make a rare appearance as POPULATION ONE, while Poland’s VTSS will finally get her due at Unsound, playing a late-night set. Equally heavy but coming from a different angle are PRISON RELIGION, known for their powerful performances combining rap and industrial music.
Representing the young UK scene are SHERELLE and FAUZIA who will play a b2b set exploring the strains of the hardcore continuum and beyond, colliding bass music and jungle with Chicago’s footwork, among other genres. Also coming from London is MANARA, whose take on club music draws equally from grime and Bollywood.
Last but certainly not least is DJ MARCELLE, the Dutch DJ known for inventive sets in which club music of every kind meets experimental sounds, folk and more. Impossible to pigeonhole, Marcelle is someone you need to hear out.
As in years past, Unsound is presenting a robust discourse program alongside the music. All talks in this program are open to the public and free of charge. Highlights of the talks program—to be further revealed in the months to come—include...
Polish feminist philosopher and activist EWA MAJEWSKA will discuss the legacy of the early Solidarność movement to discuss the possibilities of counterpublic solidarity today. The UK’s NATHALIE OLAH will present a talk related to her upcoming book Steal as Much as You Can - How to Survive Austerity and Win The Culture Wars.
Referencing African-American political activist and auto worker James Boggs, Theodore Roszak’s Making of a Counter Culture and Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave, DEFORREST BROWN, JR. will discuss the state of Black representation across the music industry, covering a general history of Black music (with a focus on techno) as it relates to the general development of on the ground music cultures.
AYESHA HAMEED will present Black Atlantis, a multi-part experimental lecture performance looking at possible afterlives of the Black Atlantic: in contemporary Mediterranean migration, through Afrofuturistic dancefloors and sound systems, and in outer space.
Writer and strategist JAY SPRINGETT will give a talk entitled Solarpunk: Life in the future beyond the rusted chrome of yestermorrow, as well as moderate a panel on interspecies solidarity. JOHN HIGGS will discuss his just-released book The Future Starts Here: Adventures in the Twenty-First Century, offering an optimistic idea on what the future may hold.
Unsound will also once again present an extensive film program, to be announced in subsequent releases - though we can already divulge that we will be screening SIKSA. Stabat Mater Dolorosa, “a musical about death and a girl” directed by PIOTR MACHA and SIKSA.
Stay tuned for future announcements regarding more of the program as the next edition of Unsound draws near.
Jonathan Uliel Saldanha of HHY and Violet are supported by the SHAPE Platform.