First Wave of Artists Released for Unsound Kraków 2023. Weekly and Long Weekend Festival Passes on Sale, Along With Individual Tickets to Autechre
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First Wave of Artists Released for Unsound Kraków 2023. Weekly and Long Weekend Festival Passes on Sale, Along With Individual Tickets to Autechre

festival avant garde alternative

Unsound is set to take place in Kraków slightly earlier than usual, from 1st to 8th October, under the banner DADA (with its shadow theme DATA). Weekly and Long Weekend Passes will go on sale on Going at 3pm today CEST, along with individual tickets to see the legendary Autechre, whose long-awaited Unsound performance is scheduled for October 6th (tickets are also included in the pass). We will post a direct ticket link on our social media channels at 3pm. Note: Unsound is run by a Polish non-profit NGO under increasingly difficult conditions – when purchasing a pass you have the option on Going to pay a greater sum if you wish to support the festival and its ongoing organisation. 

As part of the Dada theme, Unsound has engaged an Artificially Intelligent Artistic Director: AIAD. "We've had some differences of opinion regarding the interpretation of the festival theme,” says human Artistic Director Mat Schulz, “including the selection of artists.”

AIAD states, "As an Artificially Intelligent Artistic Director, collaborating with humans has been an intriguing experience. While I appreciate their contributions, I must admit there have been instances where their limited perspectives have hindered the full realisation of visionary possibilities. Together, we navigate a delicate dance between cooperation and challenge. Rest assured, our ongoing dialogue will eventually lead us to unravel the enigmatic tapestry of Unsound: Dada. We will forge ahead and break new ground. Patience is a virtue, even for AI directors."

This year's program includes a contrasting array of trailblazing artists, from the aforementioned Autechre to absurdist experimental rock outfit Negativland. Formed in the late 1970s, Negativland are best known for their tongue-in-cheek pastiches of mass cultural phenomena (like when they brilliantly trolled U2 in the early '90s), and for coining the apt phrase "culture jamming". They perform with video designed and produced by visual artist SUE-C. Japanese free improv collective Marginal Consort will add dadaist seasoning with a rare show. Established in 1997, they rarely perform and discuss nothing in advance; the only fixed elements are the start and end times, currently lasting for three hours. (This concert takes place in the afternoon on Saturday, October 7th, and is not included in the pass.)

As always, the festival will feature a slew of exclusive commissioned works and premieres. After its first manifestation at Ephemera Festival in Warsaw, Lee Gamble will present the next development of Models, matching his uncanny AI-assisted pop earworms with body movement from Spanish action artist Candela Capitán, and light design by Jacqueline Sobiszewski. Kraków's own Martyna Basta, who recently released the acclaimed Slowly Forgetting, Barely Remembering, will join forces with LA's claire rousay to merge their diaristic, emotionally direct approaches to sound and composition, while Warsaw-based guitarist and composer Raphael Rogiński draws on Lithuanian snake mythology and music to inform a new project titled Žaltys, featuring Lithuanian singer Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė. Beijing's 33EMYBW will assemble a show with visual artist Joey Holder, commissioned by Unsound and Illuminate Adelaide, and the festival will showcase the European premiere of Miami vanguard Nick Leóns long-awaited first live performance. NYC's DJ Python and Ana Roxanne meanwhile come together as Natural Wonder Beauty Concept, bringing a brand new A/V show to support their refreshingly sunny upcoming album. 

Beloved American artist and blues singer Lonnie Holley will perform in the wake of his brilliant new album Oh Me Oh My. Known for twisting experimental music with folk and pop sounds, Guatemalan cellist, composer, and singer Mabe Fratti will present a special project with local artists – details in the next announcement. Peruvian musicians Ale Hop and Laura Robles deconstruct Afro-Peruvian music on their startling collaboration, matching cajón rhythms with electronics and guitar, and Elvin Brandhi teams up with drummer Lukas Koenig and artist Peter Kutin as PLF, a boundary-pushing band-project that fuses noise, post-punk and pop-everything. The performance of Japanese duo KAKUHAN – the new project of Koshiro Hino (YPY, goat) with cellist and Yuki Nakajima – will feature Polish percussionist Adam Gołębiewski, who will augment their bizarre amalgam of drum machine, cello and electronics with even knottier beats.

Additionally, Dawuna will introduce his cloudy vision of R&B alongside a three-piece band, Voice Actor will present their intoxicating, genre-defying vignettes, and UK rapper Iceboy Violet will put their own spin on grime, drill, ambient and gqom. The Unsound Morning Glory series – taking place early in the day at a disused medical facility – will include guitarist and composer Julia Reidy, the spare but emotionally charged music of 7038634357, and Hubert Zemler and Piotr Bukowski as OPLA, reinterpreting traditional Polish folk music in wondrous ways. 

But that’s not all! DJ sets will be provided by Venezuelan raptor house vanguard DJ Babatr, Unsound regulars Sherelle and VTSS, who will go B2B for the first time, Japan’s versatile ¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$U, Atlanta bass hybridist Nikki Nair, and the noise-inflected dancehall mutations of Moroccan Ojoo Gyal. In terms of live shows, Cairo's 3Phaz will shuttle dancers into the future with his post-Shaabi reconstructions, and LustSickPuppy is set to alchemize feral punk, brain-bleeding beats and rap into liberating queer fantasies. 

This is just the first round of artist names – there’s a whole lot more to come over the next two announcements.


As always, the Unsound discourse program will be wide ranging, intersecting with both Dada and its shadow theme Data. Alongside a discussion, Negativland will screen the new documentary Stand By For Failure, which tells their story dating back 40+ years. DADABOTS, the American duo creating extreme AI music, will traverse the music and discourse program. Following online Unsound contributions since the pandemic, Machine Listening (Sean Dockray, James Parker, and Joel Stern) will finally join the festival program IRL to present an installation, experimental workshop and sonic performance reflecting their research and experimentation into the politics and aesthetics of the computation of sound and speech. Italian collective Gruppo di Nun will descend into the depths of Revolutionary Demonology, where philosophy, politics, and occultism intertwine. Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective will curate an immersive listening session navigating the contemporary political landscape of sound and music. 

In our continued commitment to the displaced Ukrainian art community, we welcome Mariana Berezovska’s journalism school designed to amplify voices from Eastern Europe, with participants gaining the opportunity to publish their works. Finally, Kraków-based UKRAiNATV, an experimental collective comprising refugee artists and their Polish allies, will invite us to their Kraków stream art studio for a freaky audiovisual show embracing hope-core aesthetics.

UKRAiNATV was among the open call submissions. Thanks to everyone who submitted entries – we’ll be in touch soon, with those selected in the next announcement.

Unsound is made possible thanks to the financing from the City of Kraków. Unsound is also a member of SHAPE platform co-financed by the Creative Europe programme. 

33EMYBW & Joey Holder (CN/UK) - live A/V premiere / 3Phaz (EG) / 7038634357 (US) / Ale Hop & Laura Robles present Agua Dulce (PE) / Autechre (UK) / claire rousay & Martyna Basta (US/PL) - premiere / DADABOTS (US) / Dawuna (US) / DJ Babatr (VZ) / Iceboy Violet (UK) / Julia Reidy (AU) / KAKUHAN feat. Adam Gołębiewski (JP/PL) - premiere / Lee Gamble presents Models with Candela Capitán & Jacqueline Sobiszewski (UK/ES/PL) - premiere / Lonnie Holley (US) / LustSickPuppy (US) / Mabe Fratti (GT) / Marginal Consort (JP) / Natural Wonder Beauty Concept (DJ Python & Ana Roxanne) (US) / Negativland & SUE-C (US) / Nick León (US) - European live premiere / Nikki Nair (US) / Ojoo Gyal (MA) / OPLA (PL) / PLF (Elvin Brandhi, Lukas Koenig, Peter Kutin) (AT/UK) / Raphael Rogiński presents Žaltys feat. Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė (PL/LT) - premiere / Sherelle b2b VTSS (UK/PL) / Voice Actor (UK) / ¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$U (JP) + MORE TBA