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Unsound Festival NY 2011

Featured Artists: Deaf Center

by Maria Papadomanolaki on April 19th, 2011

Deaf Center (Image: John Twells)

Behind the alias of Deaf Center are Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland, too pals from Norway. They are equally fascinated and inspired by the lights of the cities, an atmospheric walk in the empty forests of Norway, the dark yet disarming emotional contour of the movies of David Lynch or Kubrick. Erik has recently moved to Berlin where Deaf Center recorded, within three days, their latest album Owl Splinters, in Nils Frahm’s studio. He also runs Miasmah one of the most distinguished labels of experimental music and has being releasing solo work under a variety of monikers, the most prominent Svarte Greiner (Black Leaves in English). Otto has also been actively producing work for Nest, among others, as well as taking care of his home in Norway. I first encountered their music when exposed to the beautiful sincerity of Pale Ravine (Type Records, 2005). I was impressed by the density of their modern classical-ambient soundscapes, knowing that both considered themselves classically untrained or to be more specific self-taught musicians.

I had the chance to see them perform live here in New York as part of this year’s Unsound Festival’s Beyond the Dark – a tribute event for the music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki at Judson Church in Manhattan. Erik has also performed as Svarte Greiner with Polish-German percussionist Paul Wirkus on the live soundtrack for Murnau’s German Expressionist classic “Nosferatu”.

In the following questions I try to focus on Deaf Center’s creative process, their thoughts about computer sequencing as opposed to live instrumental performances, and the power of words in their music-making. Continue Reading More »

Unsound Festival NY 2011 Recap

by Helen Homan Wu on April 12th, 2011

Ben Frost, Daniel Bjarnason, Sinfonietta Cracovia with film manipulations by Brian Eno & Nick Robertson (Photos: Stephen Cardinale for Unsound Festival)

It has been a highly provocative and musically charged past week and a half. For those who have been following Artcards Review, I’ve been covering Unsound Festival 2011 here in NYC since its opening on April 1st.  And yesterday was the final wrap up of an entire week and a half of experimental music and sonic arts events. The shows were aesthetically diverse and seemed to have opened up new pathways for a lot of local sound art enthusiasts. Besides igniting interest through cross-cultural collaborations, audiences also got a chance to get a closer look at the artists’ practices through “conversations” during Unsound Labs. In retrospect, Unsound 2011 seemed to have a much less focus on electronic music per se, with a more diverse palette on genres ranging from Iceland’s Ben Frost and Sinfonietta Cracovia, to Lustmord and Deaf Center, both deep, dark, and ambient in its own ways, to the Bunker nights of techno music to the finale disco party by local hosts Kiss & Tell. Even though I wanted to attend it all (trust me, I penciled it all in my calendar), I would not have been able to write this recap if I did. But apparently Stephen Cardinale, Unsound’s official photographer shot through the entire week of events, and here it is below. Continue Reading More »

Music for SOLARIS

by Helen Homan Wu on April 5th, 2011


Music for SOLARIS (North American Debut) a tribute to the novel “Solaris” by Stanislaw Lem.  Composed for twenty‐nine string players, two percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics. Performed by BEN FROST (Iceland/Australia), DANÍEL BJARNASON (Iceland), SINFONIETTA CRACOVIA (Poland) with film manipulations from BRIAN ENO / NICK ROBERTSON (UK)


Ben Frost

Official Website:

PRESENTED BY:  Unsound Festival New York, Sacrum Profanum, The Adam Mickiewicz institute, Krakow Festival Office, the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and the Goethe-Institut New York @ Alice Tully Hall Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 1941 Broadway, New York, NY

(All images courtesy of Unsound Festival New York)

Unsound Labs Photo Recap

by Helen Homan Wu on April 4th, 2011

Zomes live at Littlefield

Unsound Festival NY 2011 kicked off with Unsound Labs and Collaborations last week, giving us a first taste of what is coming for the major events happening this week.  This year, underexposed artists from Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland will all feature during Unsound Festival New York alongside artists from USA, Germany, Austria, England, Spain, Switzerland and Argentina.  Full schedule of events here.

All photos by Stephen J Cardinale for Unsound Festival New York

Terry Pender at Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center

Continue Reading More »

Unsound Festival New York 2011

by Helen Homan Wu on March 29th, 2011

As we approach the horizon of the 2011 Unsound Music Festival NY, I can feel the anticipation building up. If you are a fan of electronic music and sonic arts, like I am, you probably know that Europe (particularly Germany) is the place to be. Beginning April 1st, New York folks will be in for a treat.  It was only until a few weeks ago that the 2011 program has been announced, but it was well worth the wait.  Last year’s line-up was amazing, but this year’s will not disappoint. The Festival officially opens on April 6th, with a preliminary week of screenings and lectures opening on April 1st under Unsound Festival NY Labs.

View full program and artists here.