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First Program Announcement For Unsound Kraków 2021: dəəp authentic

unsound 2021

It’s time to make the first program announcement for this year’s Unsound Kraków, taking place between October 13th - 17th around the theme dəəp authentic. As previously mentioned, the festival will be scaled back in terms of number of venues and days, with total capacity evaluated closer to the dates. A limited number of passes will be released via Going on July 20th at 4pm CEST, priced at 510 PLN.


‘Though we’re excited to present the festival, our plans are cautious as we realise the situation is fragile,’ say Unsound directors Gosia Płysa and Mat Schulz. ‘The first announcement’s commissioned works have a strong focus on Polish artists, to mitigate travel risk as well as support the local scene. We’re also presenting a physical realisation of projects originally conceived to take place online as part of last year’s Unsound Intermission edition.’


Given that dəəp authentic is partly about exploring the line between offline and IRL worlds, it’s deeply ironic that the Unsound Facebook page – with 67,000 followers and an archive dating back to 2008 – is currently unavailable. We are pushing Facebook to fix the problem, as the platform remains necessary for organising events. We will have more to say on this issue, especially if it is not soon resolved.


Unsound 2021 will feature the premiere of ROBERT AIKI AUBREY LOWE’s score for the horror film CANDYMAN, directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele. Robert is known well to experimental music fans for his work marrying modular synthesis and voice. Lowe says, ‘This presentation is an electro acoustic score that is the culmination of months of collaboration and investigation of the folklore attributed to the trauma of black bodies. The intention was to produce a sonic landscape that existed as a character within the film while honoring the cinematic legacy of the story as well as the universe created by Clive Barker.’ Joining him on stage are Matthew Morandi, Randall Dunn, Brent Arnold, Polish musicians Hubert Zemler and Resina as well as Kraków's Spółdzielnia Muzyczna Contemporary Ensemble. Like Unsound premieres for Chernobyl and Stranger Things scores, the 80-minute show will focus on the music and immersive lighting. Co-presented with Kraków Film Music Festival, a first round of tickets also go on sale on July 20th, priced at 90 PLN.


Part of Unsound 2020’s online edition, WEAVINGS was a durational improvisation conceived and curated with NICOLÁS JAAR, featuring 12 instrumentalists from around the world performing via Zoom. For Unsound 2021, Jaar has created a visual score to present Weavings IRL. Names will soon be released, including several artists from the original transmission. Listen to a section of the original Weavings on the Unsound Intermission album.


SHACKLETON & ZIMPEL present THE SPIRIT STILL REMAINS, a new commissioned performance involving alto clarinet, electronics and voice. Broadly understood as ritual and devotional music, the work will explore transcendence, love and death. In a special show featuring the freshly formed Phoenix Ensemble – made up of Kraków classical musicians – EARTHEATER will perform Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin live, an album of experimental songs composed around guitar, strings and electronics that blur the acoustic and synthetic. 


ZOSIA HOŁUBOWSKA and JULIA GIERTZ’s COMMUNITY OF GRIEVING is another work whose original presentation was at Unsound 2020’s online edition, drawing on traditions of vesper, lament and sonic meditation. The work will now be presented IRL, involving live voice, choreography, costume and set design. Listen to a section of Community of Grieving on the Unsound Intermission album here.


Also a continuation of a project initiated for Unsound 2020 online, Polish percussionists HUBERT ZEMLER and MIŁOSZ PĘKALA will perform the music of JLIN, as well as their own compositions inspired by film and theatre music by PENDERECKI. Joining them is pianist and composer GRZEGORZ TARWID. Chicago clarinetist, keyboardist, composer and singer ANGEL BAT DAWID is one of the most original artists in jazz in recent years; she will perform solo (we can also already reveal that she will be part of Weavings!).


In 1968, New Zealand composer ANNEA LOCKWOOD wrote PIANO BURNING, a piece in which a performer lights up an upright piano beyond repair, then plays the instrument for as long as possible, until it is engulfed in flames. Curated with Lawrence English/Room 40, Piano Burning at Unsound holds a special resonance this year acting as a meditation on the pandemic and its impacts on the very nature of live performance.


DANNY L. HARLE’s concept album HARLECORE features alter ego DJs playing in different rooms of a digital club as they survey the history of rave, revelling in a gleeful absurdity that virtual puppet master SAM ROLFES will bring to life visually in a premiere A/V show called The Harlecore Experience. (Note also that Rolfes is the unique mind behind the Unsound 2021 dəəp authentic design.) Musician and visual artist JULEK PŁOSKI’s most recent album is Human Sapiens, referencing gabber and more experimental forms of music to create a dizzying, colourful whole that is a response to homophobia in Poland; they will also present a new A/V show.


We’re carefully working on the club nights, which like the overall program will be limited in size. First names include the European premiere of a live show from Berlin-based Philadelphian LSDXOXO, who recently released the EP Dedicated 2 Disrespect on XL, including the queer anthem ‘Sick Bitch’. Another premiere is a transatlantic b2b set between the Godfather of Footwork RP BOO – long connected to Unsound – and SHERELLE, one of the most exciting UK DJs, whose sets rip through jungle, drum ‘n’ bass and footwork. AceMoMa is made up of two of the hottest names in the New York scene – AceMo and MoMa Ready – with albums and sets that leap through techno, house, jungle, hip-hop and more. A member of the Oramics platform, MONSTER is one of Poland’s best DJs, her sets similarly eclectic and euphoric.


The discourse program will be presented IRL and online, and includes the return of MACHINE LISTENING presented with Australian sonic art organisation LIQUID ARCHITECTURE. The online episode Unnatural Language Processing will feature live performances, audio works, experiments and talks, with a focus on the appropriation and manipulation of speech recognition and auto-transcription algorithms by artists and musicians. HOLLY HERNDON and MAT DRYHURST will present a special live session of their podcast series INTERDEPENDENCE, which features conversations with figures shaping 21st century culture.


Others in the general program include K ALLADO-MCDOWELL, the author of PHARMAKO-AI, a book co-written with the language AI GPT-3, exploring selfhood, ecology and technology; AARON BENANAV, the author of Automation and the Future of Work, on structural economic trends that will shape working lives into the future; and KUBA SZREDER, who will ‘perform’ his book The ABC of the projectariat, about the precarious lives of freelancers working in culture.


Note: all Unsound events currently require audiences to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not yet vaccinated, you have time to get your shots. If you cannot get vaccinated for health reasons, please contact us at [email protected].


The second Unsound 2021 announcement comes at the start of August, expanding the music and discourse program, as well as interpretations of the theme, so stay tuned and follow us via:




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A significant part of Unsound 2021 program is realised as a part of Kraków Culture program supported by the Municipality of Kraków and Krakow Festival Office.

Both Community of Grieving and The Spirit Still Remains are commissioned thanks to the “New Tradition” program supported by Instytut Adama Mickiewicza, Co-financed by The Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.

Unsound is a member of SHAPE Platform and We Are Europe platforms funded by Creative Europe. 


K Allado-McDowell (USA)

Angel Bat Dawid (USA)

AceMoMa (USA)

Aaron Benanav (USA)

Eartheater & Phoenix Ensemble (USA/PL) - special presentation

Danny L. Harle presents The Harlecore Experience with live visuals by Sam Rolfes (UK/USA) - premiere

Interdependence, with Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst (USA/DE)

Zosia Hołubowska & Julia Giertz present: Community of Grieving (PL) - premiere

Annea Lockwood presents: Piano Burning (NZ)

Monster (PL)

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe presents Candyman (USA/PL) - premiere

LSDXOXO (USA/DE) - European live premiere

Julek Płoski (PL) - A/V show premiere

RP Boo b2b Sherelle (UK) - premiere

Shackleton & Zimpel present The Spirit Still Remains (UK/PL) - premiere

Kuba Szreder (PL)

Weavings, conceived with Nicolás Jaar - live premiere

Hubert Zemler & Miłosz Pękala & Grzegorz Tarwid (PL) - premiere

+ More to be announced!