Unsound 2012: First Acts Announced

Krakow's excellent Unsound festival announces the first acts for their 2012 tenth birthday edition

Unsound Festival Krakow have announced the first details of their 2012 event, which will run for the week of 14th-21st October. As one of the last few years’ more reliably exciting musical events, it’s fair to say that the initial news is auspicious indeed for this year’s edition, which marks the 10th anniversary of the festival. As ever, the whole week is centred around a theme: where 2010’s was ‘Horror’ and last year’s was ‘Future Shock’, this year’s – appropriately for 2012 – is ‘THE END’.

"What does "THE END" refer to?," teases the announcement on the Unsound website. "Is it the current mixture of feelings around us – the apocalyptic atmosphere and opposing sense of potential rebirth, or does "THE END" refer to something more prosaic? At least for now, we’re not going to say."

But to mark their tenth birthday, the festival have announced that they will be inviting back some of their favourite artists who’ve played over its first decade of existence, with "quite a few presenting projects on a large scale". On top of that, they promise "compelling world debuts, label showcases and other delights shaped by innovative and extreme programming that has become Unsound’s trademark for both its Krakow and New York events."

So the first series of acts includes a heady array of names. First up is aTelecine, who will be delivering the world premiere of their live show. Consisting of Sasha Grey, Pablo St. Francis, Ian Cinnamon and Anthony D’Juan, their music draws heavily from early British industrial, with Grey having cited TG and Coil especially as influences in the past.

Julia Holter is also among the first crop of names, in the wake of her very well-received albums Tragedy and Ekstasis.

Another intriguing premiere is a collaboration between two Quietus favourites: Canadian sound artist/musician Tim Hecker, and Dan Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never. The two have recently been recording a joint album at Mexican Summer studios, which is set to be released through Lopatin’s own label Software. But in advance of its release they will be showing off their material at the Unsound show.

Unsound have commissioned another collaboration for their 2012 events – TRINITY, the joint project of Lustmord and Biosphere, which looks into "the first tests of nuclear weapons in the New Mexico desert." The duo made field recordings at Los Alamos earlier this year, and premiered the project at Unsound New York in April, alongside visuals from MFO.

And excitingly, Unsound have managed to coax one of the finest acts of last year’s festival, Leyland Kirby, to reboot his subversive V/Vm project for the first time since 2006 for a live show. His creepy, slowed-down and looped deconstructions of pop songs were precursors to a new generation of YouTube-using audio manipulators – including Oneohtrix’s Dan Lopatin, who like Kirby recorded his own take on Chris De Burgh’s bleeding-heart standard ‘Lady In Red’. This promises to be a treat – Kirby’s stage shows are legendarily chaotic affairs, heartfelt, amusing and deadly serious in equal measure.

"Ideally, a festival ought to actively encourage a lowering of the usual barriers," we said in our review of Unsound 2011. "Those attending need not only to feel as though they’re involved in the festival’s day-to-day running – they actually need to be involved. That’s one aspect Unsound gets completely right. From the moment the festival begins the small crew of organisers mingle with everyone else. They’re hogging the dancefloor for Legowelt’s dreamy analogue techno at the opening party. They’re stood around chatting after the lectures that take place throughout the week. They’re mingling in the same cafes and bars. It seems like a small point, but it makes a huge difference, contributing to the sense that those attending are as important an aspect of the festival as those in charge."

More details are available at the Unsound website.

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