Strong Norwegian presence at the Unsound Festival in New York this weekend.
Wednesday april 18, sees the opening of the 3rd edition of the New York version of the ever expanding Unsound Festival. The festival, characterizing themselves as “ … a festival of advanced music”, started out in Krakow, Poland in 2003. It still runs every October in its home country, but the festival has since then also appeared in Prague, Warsaw, Bratislava, Kyiv and Minsk. According to the festival’s website, “Unsound is interested in the idea of cross border collaboration, and thinking of the festival as a tool for commissioning and fostering new work”.
As a telling proof of this, this year’s festival in New York sees a strong Norwegian participation from artists on the borders of modern, exploratory music. Running from april 18 to Sunday 22, the festival presents an impressive field of around 40 artists from around the globe, with an emphasis on central and eastern Europe as well as the US. Included are 3 norwegian artists, all bound to make their mark on an exciting line-up.
In performing order, you will first have a chance to see Jenny Hval, who is part of the festival’s opening night programme called “The option of silence”, whose aim is to present “A night of distinctive female artists working with experimental sounds. LA resident Julia Holter and Norway's Jenny Hval both combine avant-garde structures with music at the edge of pop; they also work with explicit lyrics exploring sex and gender, subverting expectations. Holter's "Tragedy" and Hval's "Viscera" were among 2011's best albums. New Yorker Julia Kent performs work for solo cello.” One of the most singular and individual voices to appear out of Norway’s strong music scene for past few years, regardless of genre, be sure to catch the mesmerizing sound of Jenny Hval.
Next out, performing on Friday 20th, is metal/electronica pioneers Next Life. Now in their 13th year, founder and originally solo performer Hai Nguyen Dinh is now joined by Tormod Christensen on Casio and Anders Hangård on drums for a trio performance, exploring the boundaries between metal riffs and tracker sounds. Next Life will perform as part of a night called “SINGULARITY”, presenting “Some of the most celebrated acts working in exploratory realms of music, creating often extreme sounds wherein genres implode, becoming something exciting and new. Norway's Next Life fuses ear-shredding black metal, noise and electronics, Hype Williams combine performance art with bass mutations, and Actress takes dance music to its most experimental limits, turning it in upon itself.”. On saturday Hai Ngyuen Dingh will team up with Nondor Neval for a collaboration performance at the "Unsound LABS Music Program 1", a program that "... feature collaborations between musicians of different kinds working together for the first time in a series of unique free performances. Curated to cross borders related to matters of sound and geography, this year's program pairs artists from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia with musicians from the U.S."
One of the definite highlights of this years festival is the world premiere of a specially commissioned piece for the Unsound Festival. From the north of Norway comes electronic ambient pioneer and inspirator Geir Jenssen, aka Biosphere. Together with "... LA dark ambient overlord" Lustmord, Biosphere has written TRINITY, a piece that will take a special look at the world's first tests of nuclear weapons in the New Mexico desert. "TRINITY was the code name of the first detonation of a nuclear device at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. Lustmord and Biosphere recently visited the site and other locations in preparation for the project. Lustmord notes that the name TRINITY "holds connotations with Christian doctrine and also applies to undercurrents in the project, in particular Alpha & Omega vs. Oppenheimer's Shiva. Everything changed on that day on July 16, 1945. For the first time we had the capability to totally destroy ourselves and the world we live in. We have lived in its shadow and have been feeling its resonance ever since. The project isn't just about the making and detonating of the first nuclear device, but is also about the mindset that bought it about and the beauty and the horror of its existence and its deployment." Lustmord and Biosphere are also fully involvement in the development of visuals for TRINITY."
Biosphere and Lustmord will also perform TRINITY at the prestigious MUTEK festival in Canada in may/june.
Read more at the Unsound Festival website: unsound.pl
Biosphere website: www.biosphere.no
Jenny Hval website: jennyhval.com
Next Life website: www.electricdungeon.org
*All quotes from the Unsound Festival website