Eastern Daze - that genre-bending, intercontinental ping-pong between the traditional and the iconoclast - makes a roaring return for its sixth edition. This year's outing will be an exercise in transcending interdisciplinarity, weaving between nomadic desert music, texturally dense compositional experiments, and the lore and language of generations past for the modern era. Four days, three venues, one singularly ineffable stride towards new and beaten extrasensory frontiers.
A collaborative effort with Vooruit, MIRY Concertzaal, KASK Cinema, Meakusma Festival, KAVIR, De Studio & KRAAK.
Chronopolis is a gargantuan city somewhere in the vastness of space. The immortal inhabitants of the city, bored by their endless existence, one day decide to manipulate time itself. They do so by manipulating atomic particles and electricity and constructing bizarre objects in step with a repetitive rhythm. Ultimately they hope to come in contact with a human being.
This utterly unique animation film from 1982 is an original meditation on the notion of time. Director Piotr Kamler worked his claymation figures for no less than five years to create this film, and the result still stands up today, almost forty years later. ‘Chronopolis’ is a futuristic sci-fi fable that remains breathtakingly poetic in 2019.
The soundtrack for ‘Chronopolis’ is by none other than one of the godfathers of electro-acoustic music and musique concrète, Luc Ferrari. Ferrari, who would have turned 90 this year, was a legendary composer, who set a musical milestone in 1970 with his ‘Presque rien No. 1 - Le Lever du jour au bord de la mer’.
Visual artist and musician Oona Libens and Razen – the group led by Brecht Ameel and Kim Delcour – present the premiere of their new audiovisual project. ‘Het Moederkoren’ is a reflection on ecstatic experiences and hallucinations from the Middle Ages. Razen and Libens share a predilection for forgotten analogue technologies. ‘Het Moederkoren’ is a dialogue, both musical and visual, between improvising artists.
The work of Oona Libens can be situated in the field of media archaeology. Using primitive tools, analogue projection techniques, shadow and light, she creates visual audio plays that are a cross between abstract animation films and educational documentaries.
Razen explores unorthodox musical worlds by means of improvisation using instruments such as the shawm, monochord, sārangī and hurdy-gurdy. Their latest KRAAK album, Ayîk Adhîsta Adhîsta Ayîk, marks the group’s tenth year together and sees components of their own lore resurface in wholly inventive forms that weld medieval tradition, ethno-acoustic elements and otherworldly vibrations into a hypnotic sonic landscape.
Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux, aka Poor Isa, are coming to present their latest work. Played with a combination of prepared banjo and woodblocks, their improvisations flow into rippling compositions, enriched with subtle nuances and scarcely audible sounds.
The DIY techno of Congolese collective KOKOKO! is the most infectious sound of the moment. Using instruments constructed themselves out of found objects from the streets of Kinshasa – jerry cans, oil barrels, saucepans – they make ‘tekno Kintueni’: fast techno with pumping Congolese rhythms. Fongola is the band’s debut LP. A clattering mix of metal percussion, freaky rhythms, fast beats and cutting lyrics about the harsh but resourceful reality of living in Kinshasa.
Effects, a battery of 4-track tape loops and samples from all corners of the globe: welcome to the wondrous world of Raymonde. Hailing from the Lyon, this electronica genius likes to serve up an eclectic ratatouille of tropical ambient and (cracked) musique concrète. His debut Ce qui est en bas, est comme ce qui est en haut; et ce qui est en haut est comme ce qui est en bas was released last year on the ever-excellent Brussels-based label Vlek.
It’s safe to say that Ata Ebtekar, alias Sote, is the godfather of Iranian experimental electronica. With his label Zabte Sote he supports many artists from the Iranian diaspora – including Rojin Sharafi and Nima Aghiani. He also releases his own work through renowned labels such as Warp, Sub Rosa and Opal Tapes. In his compositions Sote deconstructs rules and formulas to create lively synthetic soundscapes.
Out of his last project, ‘Parallel Persia’ (which premiered in 2018) grew a new album that was released this past May.
A violin and two recorders is all the British artist Laura Cannell needs to evoke a fairytale universe, a world where ruins from a grey past are all that remain. With her half-composed, half-improvised pieces, she explores the space between experiment and tradition.
Cannell will present a minimal chamber piece from her new album Waters Deep Cathedral, set to be released in 2020. This album was written and recorded in the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station on the banks of the Thames in London. She’ll also play pieces from her latest solo album The Sky Untuned. “A fascinating and involving album, communicating with an unflinching directness that is sometimes almost raw, and often very beautiful.” – The Quietus
This Swedish-Finnish musician and composer Marja Ahti combines field recordings and other acoustic sound fragments with synths and electronic feedback loops. In this way she creates musical narratives centred on subtle microtonal beats and subdued textures. Formerly performing under the Tsembla moniker, Ahti has been part of the experimental scene in Finland for over ten years and, together with her partner Niko-Matti Ahti, is also one half of the duo Ahti & Ahti. Through her latest album Vegetal Negatives – out this year on the Swiss label Hallow Ground – Ahti explores a new formal language and ambient-like musical palettes.
Mdou Moctar – the artist formerly known as Mahamadou Souleymane – grew up with guitar on his mind in a remote village in Niger. Since guitar-trees don’t grow so well in the Sahel, he had to craft his own out of a plan of wood and some brake cables. He learnt to play from YouTube videos of Eddie van Halen. And he did all this in secret, since the religious village community was not so impressed by his new hobby. He started performing at weddings and parties as Mdou Moctar before recording his first unofficial release in Nigeria in 2008. These recordings ended up, via cell-phone music trading networks, on a compilation from the label Sahel Sounds, Music from Saharan Cellphones. The artist went on to release two albums before catching the eye of the American producer Chris Koltay. March 2019 saw the release of Ilana (The Creator), his first LP to be recorded in the USA.
Chaimbeul grew up on the Isle of Skye, where she soon became acquainted with the sound of the pipes through living legend Rona Lightfoot. From the age of seven she herself began to play and developed a style rooted in the Gaelic language and culture. She would go on to garner inspiration in Brittany, Ireland and Eastern Europe. With The Reeling she has come out with one of the most captivating folk albums of 2019. And for those without the gift of the Gaelic gab, her name is pronounced ‘Bree-chu Campbell” (with the ‘chu’ of church).
Takamba is a hypnotic, traditional style of music from Northern Mali. For centuries takamba has been heard at all manner of festivities and reached its latest high point in the eighties, when local musicians shared cassettes and played them on regional radio stations. Young people gradually lost interest in the genre, but it survived among a small network of traditionalists. Aghaly Ag Amoumine of Tallawit Timbouctou is one of the remaining takamba masters. His compositions are an integral part of the folk repertoire.
The band’s latest achievement, ‘Hali Diallo’, bursts with drones backed up by the tehardent – a four-string predecessor to the banjo – self-made microphones and ramshackle amps. Trance guaranteed, with one of the last great takamba bands.
The Austro-Iranian sound artist Rojin Sharafi – a resident artist at Gouvernement last spring – keenly grabs from many musical buckets: noise, folk, ambient, classical, metal... She recently signed with the Zabte Sote label and collected her work in 'The Tehran Borns productions': bold releases with both (semi-)acoustic and electronic compositions and soundscapes accompanied by visuals. Sharafi alternates musically between raw and tender, but often with a surprising edge. In September she releases her latest album, Urns Waiting to be Fed.
Kavir is a platform that unites Iranian and Belgian artists. In addition to Rojin Sharafi and Sote, they’ll also be bringing two regular KAVIR DJs to Ghent: Losse Veter (heavy industrial) and De Zoon (beefy UK sounds that dip into new wave territory) will be providing us with energetic and eclectic sets. Crat makes the programme complete with a set that combines fierce global ghettotech, shantyhouse and old school hardcore.