There are festivals, and then there’s Unsound. While so much in electronic music programming walks the line between club accessibility and more adventurous experimentation, some time falling over one side or the other of that divide, Unsound consistently hits the center of the bullseye with some of the most creative, imaginative music around. It’s just smart music. You can catch Unsound in its home city of Krakow, Poland, or you can find it as it pulls an international roster of artist to the metropolis New York City. And, at the moment, you can enjoy it from the comfort of wherever you call home, thanks to a nice stream from Hype Machine and Unsound that hops to the top of our must-listen queue for Monday.
Who’s in store? Alongside Polish animation and other goodness, expect a night of ladies whose names begin with the letter J working with experimental sounds (LA’s Julia Holter, Norway’s Jenny Hval, New York’s Julia Kent), a reimagining of Herbie Hancock by Poland’s LXMP, Germany’s wonderful Pole and the ongoing tour of Monolake’s visual-sonic masterwork, England’s Demdike Stare, New York’s own ambient imagineer Zemi17, and bass mainstays like Sepalcure and 2562. There are talks on history, explorations of music technique and particularly performance, and even a tribute to (too-often unsung) Manhattan minimal pioneer La Monte Young. (That great herald of experimental sound, The Wire Magazine is involved in discussions.) I’m probably most disappointed myself not to witness the premiere of “TRINITY,” a promising-looking, epic exploration of nuclear testing in New Mexico by Biosphere and Lustmond, bringing together two of the world’s most sonically-imaginative artists.
If you can make it to Poland or Manhattan, I certainly endorse experiencing the festival in person, but in the meantime, let’s enjoy surveying its musical treats: