Unsound 2019

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  • Sunday, October 6, 2019, 12:00 PM - Sunday, October 13, 2019

“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.

Jonathan Uliel Saldanha of HHY and Violet are supported by the SHAPE Platform.

[UPDATE – 2 JULY]

he music program is joined by:

33EMYBW presents Arthropods - live (CN, world premiere) ○ 8ULENTINA (US) - dj ○ Anthony Pateras presents This Ain’t My First Rodeo (AU) ○ Bastarda (PL) ○ CCL - dj (UK/US) ○ Deena Abdelwahed - dj (TN) ○ Dreamcrusher (US) ○ Eli Keszler & Nate Boyce present Pedagogy (US, European premiere) ○ Félicia Atkinson (FR) ○ FOOZOOL - dj (US) ○ Goat (JP) ○ HYPH11E b2b Slikback - dj (CN/KE) ○ Jasmine Infiniti - dj (US) ○ Ka Baird (US) ○ Lingua Ignota (US) ○ LOFT (UK) ○ LSDXOXO - dj (US/DE) ○ Luz - dj (BE/DE) ○ Matias Aguayo presents Support Alien Invasion (CI/DE, world premiere) ○ Matmos presents Plastic Anniversary (US) ○ MC Yallah & Debmaster (UG/KE/FR) ○ Monster - dj (PL) ○ MSYLMA feat. ZULI, Karim el Ghazoly & Omar El Sadek (SA/EG/CZ, world premiere) ○ Osheyack & Adam Dupré present Memory Hierarchy (US/CN, world premiere) ○ Teki Latex b2b Betty - dj (FR) ○ Teto Preto (BR) ○ Upsammy - dj (NL) ○ Vladislav Delay feat. AGF presents Raaka (FI, world premiere) ○ Yen Tech presents Hypercanto (KR/US/CN, world premiere) ○ Zimpel/Shackleton (UK/DE/PL, world premiere)

Jan Sowa (PL) ○ Jaśmina Wójcik (PL) ○ Mat Dryhurst (US/DE) join the discussion program.

Film program additions include:

Black to Techno (UK/NG) ○ Hail Satan (US) ○ Hi, AI - Love Stories From the Future (DE) ○ Solidarity According to Women (PL) ○ Symphony for the Ursus Factory (PL)

One aspect of the Unsound Solidarity theme is to emphasise notions of community that have been built - and continue to form - around the festival. This includes the audience, but also artists.

At a time when traditional forms of music media and distribution are rapidly transforming - even breaking down - the ways that Unsound makes use of the festival model as a platform become increasingly relevant. This includes fostering relationships with artists over time, to presenting or commissioning new works and collaborations, as well as continually supporting new artists, scenes and collectives. You don’t come to Unsound to affirm what you know, but instead to rethink and discover.

SHACKLETON will join forces with acclaimed Polish clarinetist WACŁAW ZIMPEL in the world premiere of a new show, described by the artists as “a brand new long-form, slowly evolving composition”. VLADISLAV DELAY will also present Raaka, a new show made up entirely of unreleased material and a chance to hear his new radical sound, with visuals prepared and performed live by AGF.

MSYLMA’s Dhil-un Taht Shajarat Al-Zaqum is one of the most unusual debuts in recent memory. The Saudi Arabian artist sings about coming of age, inspired by pre-Islamic and quranic poetry, while drawing from the contemporary sounds of r&b, club music and experimental electronic music. In another world premiere, he will be joined by Egyptians ZULI and KARIM EL GHAZOLY, while Czech-based Egyptian artist OMAR EL SADEK will perform visuals.

ELI KESZLER and NATE BOYCE - both crucial to Oneohtrix Point Never’s recent live shows - will present the European premiere of Pedagogy, their new audiovisual project for synthetically augmented percussion and guitar. Pedagogy explores different aspects of instrumentality, including the performance of an instrument and the instrumentalisation of things or people, and the musical effect of being trained to respond to music emotionally, invoking the idea of submitting to authority, discipline and history.

Earlier this year MATMOS released a new album, Plastic Anniversary, recorded using only plastic objects to explore the tension between plastic being useful for humans and harmful to the environment. Some of the tracks from this record were presented for the first time at their Unsound Adelaide show last year - now the full spectacle will be brought to Kraków.

LINGUA IGNOTA combines neoclassical music, black metal and noise to tell a personal story of abuse, rage and survival. Her Unsound show will follow the release of her powerful new album Caligula. Also from the U.S., the prolific DREAMCRUSHER describe their work as “NIHILIST QUEER REVOLT MUSIK”, colliding noise, industrial, punk and protest.

KA BAIRD is an American multi-instrumentalist, searching for inspiration in sacred rituals, but following Joan La Barbara’s maxim that “voice is the original instrument”, the possibilities of the human body are always at the heart of her work. Ka will present new material, to be released after the festival. Japanese band GOAT will also bring new material to Kraków, ahead of a new album on Morphine Records. They specialize in radical minimalism, blurring the line between the avant-garde and rock music through repetition.

French electroacoustic artist FÉLICIA ATKINSON will perform in the wake of The Flower and The Vessel, an album that was crafted while pregnant on tour, exploring ways of connecting to the world through music and sound. Focusing on the conclusion rather than the beginning of life, Polish ensemble BASTARDA perform modern reinterpretations of medieval music rituals for the dead, where Last Rites over the grave, chants and polyphony were woven together in deeply symbolic ways. Australian ANTHONY PATERAS - who appears on the new Sunn O))) album - will present his solo electronic show This Ain’t My First Rodeo, exploring the psycho-acoustic interactions between two synthesizers in quadraphonic settings to deeply immersive, time-transporting effect.

More than ever, music scenes - particularly in the context of club music - thrive off collectives. SVBKVLT is at the heart of one of the most exciting electronic music scenes in the world, in Shanghai. Unsound will present a series of world premieres by artists on their roster, including YEN TECH, a Shanghai-based Korean-American rapper, singer and producer whose Hypercanto explores a vision of accelerated (post-)humanism. OSHEYACK and ADAM DUPRÉ’s Memory Hierarchy is a response to the idea of memory manipulation through social media, employing deepfakes, face filters and livestreaming while musically expanding on a hardcore vocabulary. Further boundary-pushing club music comes from 33EMYBW, whose Anthropods will be released in parallel with the world premiere of the live show. After working on music together, HYPH11E will play a b2b dj set with Kenya’s SLIKBACK. This set connects Shanghai and Kampala through another previously announced co-curatorial collaboration with the festival/label NYEGE NYEGE. The previously announced Indonesian band GABBER MODUS OPERANDI is also part of the SVBKVLT curatorial thread - their next EP comes out on the label this year.

Added to the Nyege Nyege showcase is the European premiere of MC YALLAH, the veteran Ugandan rapper about to launch onto the world stage. A local hero, she launched her career in 1999 spreading a message of integrity and motivation among youth, and will perform at Unsound with French producer DEBMASTER, who produced her upcoming album.

Oakland’s CLUB CHAI and Berlin’s ROOM 4 RESISTANCE are both collectives focused on queer femme / non-binary producers and djs, built around an ethos of community-building. Together they will throw a special mid-week party at Szpitalna 1. featuring the Club Chai founders FOOZOOL and 8ULENTINA, who will explore diasporic narratives and non-Western sounds. They will dj alongside Tunisian artist DEENA ABDELWAHED - who also inhabits a space between tradition and futurism - and LUZ, both from Room 4 Resistance. Club Chai will also be represented by JASMINE INFINITI, who will perform at Hotel Forum. Note: the Szpitalna 1 party requires an additional ticket on top of the festival pass.

Hotel Forum will also feature TETO PRETO, a Brazilian group who made their debut during the Brazilian coup d’etat in 2016, criticising the political situation and living conditions of black and queer communities. Connected to São Paulo's MAMBA NEGRA parties and the associated label Mambarec, their shows combine performance art and music, blending African, Brazilian and electronic inspirations. Chilean/German MATIAS AGUAYO will also present the world premiere of a live show built around his Support Alien Invasion record. Incorporating non-Eurocentric, non-4/4 rhythm programming, this record represents “a plea to welcome human aliens (the different, the foreign, the immigrant), a hope that letting them 'invade' us might set us free, free from isolation, alienation, exclusion”.

Further club acts include TEKI LATEX and BETTY who will play a b2b set. Both are French djs are known for their eclectic sets, combining seemingly disparate sounds. UPSAMMY has quickly become one of the most sought after djs thanks to her trippy selections pushing techno into more abstract areas. Seattle’s CCL also blends a caleidoscope of rhythms, playing a mixture of deep and immersive sounds. LSDXOXO rose to fame as a NY’s GHE20G0TH1K affiliate, and is now one of the hottest names pushing the sound of rave music forward. Also on the bill is Poland’s MONSTER, one of the best techno DJs in the country and an active member of Oramics collective. LOFT will perform live, deconstructing techno and drum & bass, as heard on her recent EP for Tri Angle.

Additional artist names will be announced around the end of July.

The Unsound daytime discourse and screening program is of key importance to the theme this year. As such, as we are rolling parts of it out in advance with the music program.

Artist and writer MAT DRYHURST will return to Krakow to give a talk on Interdependent Music, dissecting the ideological underpinnings of “independence” as a concept that he believes has run its course, and propose how a new holistic protocol of interdependence might provide the necessary break for a new aesthetic and infrastructural path for music and the greater economy.

Warsaw-based writer and theorist JAN SOWA will present his research project Solidarity 2.0, investigating what is left of democracy today, describing how the few have recaptured what is supposed to belong to the many. At Unsound, he will invoke the practises of radical democracy to envision new forms of collective empowerment.

Polish director JAŚMINA WÓJCIK will give a Q&A after the screening of her film SYMPHONY FOR THE URSUS FACTORY, which records the choreographed movements of ex-workers of the Ursus Factory as they reenact their work in a plant that no longer exists, recalling memorised actions and sounds.

Other films in the Unsound program include SOLIDARITY ACCORDING TO WOMEN, directed by Marta Dzido and Piotr Śliwowski, showing the key role that women played in Poland’s Solidarity movement in the 1980s, largely working behind the scenes. BLACK TO TECHNO, directed by British-Nigerian Jenn Nkiru, reclaims the black origins of techno in Detroit in a nonlinear short film. Penny Lane’s HAIL SATAN tells the story of the controversial Satanic Temple, whose members are committed to social and political justice in unexpected, often playful ways. HI, AI - LOVE STORIES FROM THE FUTURE by German director Isabella Willinger explores the relationship between robots and humans.

Betty is supported by the SHAPE Platform.

TICKETS

As in previous years, Unsound Weekly and Long Weekend Passes have sold out quickly.

Due to festival capacity at various venues we are unable to make these numbers greater, but that’s why we introduced the Forum Pass. This Pass will allow you entrance to all three Hotel Forum nights at a modest discount of 10 PLN, but will also mean you do not have to purchase multiple tickets, and can skip queue. As the number of these passes is also limited, please don’t delay in purchasing. These passes are also available through Going.

Individual tickets - including individual Hotel Forum tickets - will go on sale mid-August, after the full festival schedule has been announced”.

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