unsound festival 2010 ny

“Since 2003, Unsound Festival, Poland’s most adventurous music festival, has brought a bold and uniquely modern program of music to Kraków. Now, with seven festivals in their native city under their belt (and outpost events further east in cities like Minsk), Unsound is coming west to New York for their first ever North American edition. Unsound Festival New York’s mission is to forge new links between music genres, between generations and even between artistic practices. The driving force in the assembling of the New York program has been Unsound Festival’s commitment to forms of music and sound art that involve experimentation and risk. Unsound Festival has made a worldwide reputation by breaking new ground while dealing with vibrant electronic, experimental, independent, post-classical and club music scenes from around the world.”

Thursday February 4th opens an exciting series of sound, visual art and music events that has never happened in the East Coast of the States. If you follow any sort of experimental electronic music or video art, chances are you heard the waves coming. As an electronic beats enthusiast, I was extremely excited that the Unsound Festival is actually taking place in New York City. I’ve always been disappointed that the experimental electronic scene isn’t happening much here in my hometown compared to Berlin or London, but when I saw the lineup to Unsound I was more than impressed. The program boasts a nice mix of multidisciplinary art forms including electronic/post-rock/classical/neo-jazz music, sound art, experimental visuals… That is the best I can do to categorize — a lot of the work doesn’t cleanly fit into any one categorical box.

The first show begins appropriately at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium with an improvisational performance by Berlin video artist Lillevan (who’s also working on the Warhol Screen Tests) and Finland’s Vladislav Delay, followed by the avante-garde group Solid State Transmitters. This show was also part of the Thursday free Target shows, so the queue of people went around the block. Half of the people didn’t even get to step inside. I decidedly gave up, saving my energy for Saturday’s 8-hour long set of experimental improvised soundscapes from Group Show (Jan Jelinek, Hanno Leichtmann and Andrew Pekler).

The line-up looks like this:

Alexander Kaline
Andrew Pekler
Barbara Preisinger
Bora Yoon
Dave Q
David Daniell
Derek Plaslaiko
Ensemble LPR
Eric Cloutier
Ezekiel Honig
Hanno Leichtmann
Jacek Sienkiewicz
Jan Jelinek
Joshue Ott