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PREVIEW: OFF Festival
Julian Marszalek , July 19th, 2017 14:52

Ahead of the return of OFF Festival to Katowice in Poland, Julian Marszalek offers up a primer on the event and the local treats that lie within this year's line-up

Imagine, if you will, a festival dedicated to cutting edge music both old and new; a festival that gathers music from the world over; where the line-up is arranged in such a fashion that you see more music than you would otherwise; an event where the food is cheap, plentiful and edible; where you’re not wading through litter at the end of day; the laid back and friendly crowd is from all over Europe and beyond and at an event that goes on for three days and for less than £70.

You, my friend, are imagining OFF Festival.

Regular readers of tQ will already be familiar with our annual jaunt to the Silesian city of Katowice in south-west Poland for the festival and it’s for all those reasons above and more that we keep returning. Think of it as a gourmet festival made up of only the finest musical ingredients. You might not recognise everything that’s on offer but the chances of you returning with new and favourite flavours are very high.

This year’s line-up boasts PJ Harvey, Feist, Swans, Royal Trux, Arab Strap and Shellac are among the list of big hitters. But dig a little deeper and there’s plenty more to discover, not least a host of some of the best music that’s currently emerging from Poland. Again, if you’ve been with tQ for some time then you’ll know we’ve not been backwards about coming forward with the incredible stuff emerging from there.

And speaking of which, below are some of the Polish acts that’s we’re looking forward to seeing this year. This is just a mere taste and you’re encouraged to view this as a first step to a greater journey.

If you’d like to stuck in further, then take part in the competition at the bottom of the page. We’ve got two pairs of tickets (including camping) to give away that could see you having a terrific weekend at the festival, which takes place from August 4-6. Find more details here.

Batushka

If you’re going to blaspheme, then you may as well do it in style, and for this lapsed Catholic, Batushka are ticking all the right boxes. This is an ensemble that clearly has much to recommend it and the concept of mixing extreme metal with orthodox hymns has to be worthy of investigation. Ritual and religion have always been fertile grounds for inspiration, not least because the idea of subscribing to something with absolutely no basis of proof is as fascinating as it as daft. Chuck in enigmatic, robed figures, detuned guitar strings and what sounds like a massed horde singing terror into hearts of its enemy, this could well prove to be the highlight. It’s just a shame that we’ll have to leave the virgins’ blood in the food and drink area.

Bastard Disco

I’ve been to a few bastard discos in my time. These were the kind of townie nightmares where smart but casual clothing was compulsory and being able to get in wearing really, really, really black jeans was little more than a pyrrhic victory thanks to garbage fare on offer inside.

Given the delightfully obnoxious hardcore sounds made by these self-confessed “noisy bastards” playing “bastard rhythms” with “bastard attitude” one suspects they’ve had a few experiences like this themselves, the bastards. This should be a thoroughly gnarly experience, which suits this bastard just fine.

Kwadrofonik & Artur Rojek

Written by David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise, Industrial Symphony No. 1 has only ever been performed twice before at a two-night run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1989. Now a new version is being presented at OFF by Kwadrofonik & Artur Rojek. What makes this collaboration so interesting is the minimal set-up of the quartet Kwadrofonik, who interchange the roles of piano and percussion and then back again in the blinking of an eye, and the delicate voice of singer and festival director Artur Rojek who takes on Julee Cruise’s parts. This should go down a treat with some damn fine coffee.

Mitch And Mitch

As evidenced by their set at the Spring Break festival in Poznan earlier this year, Mitch And Mitch are awkward buggers to pin down. Slipping and sliding across a variety of genres that include soul, boogaloo, jazz and pretty much whatever else they come across, their new album Vistantes Nordestinos finds this Warsaw-based ensemble adding the influence of Tropicália to their palette.

Trupa Trupa

Hailing from Gdańsk, Trupa Trupa seem to occupy a weird, twilight hinterland of musical styles. Little wonder that our own Tristan Bath was moved to opine of their music thus: “Razor-edged no wave rumblings, anguished Bad Seed shanties, sopping wet blue-eyed soul ballads - Trupa Trupa touch on it all.” They do indeed and their performance at OFF should as intriguing as it will hopefully be pleasurable.

If you would like to win a pair of tickets for this year's OFF Festival, please send the correct answer to the question below to comps@thequietus.com - the competition closes at midday on July 21.

OFF Festival moved to its current site of Dolina Trzech Stawów in Katowice in which year?

A: 2008 B: 2010 C: 2013

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