KRAAK FESTIVAL 2023
Here’s to KRAAK Festival’s 2023 return, back for yet another loaded day in the shrubbery of Antwerp’s trippiest woods! For its third edition at Het Bos, KRAAK Fest assembles a motley troop of sound makers and breakers from the underbush of the experimental at large. The call of Italian warsongs, the melodrama of burdened masculinity, the poetry of humble earthenware, the invented languages of goblin electronica, the jagged shrillings of steel and glass and cowhide and whatever gadgetry can be found to make noise almost incarnate ~ and that’s just a sampler of the bountiful phenomena to witness at this year’s reunion of sonic oddities and buzzed-out camaraderie. There’s much intense memory-making to be done in these Scheldian backwoods, and it’s always better to be there than to not.
Special FEESTHONDJE beer available ~ With the support of Vlaanderen, departement Cultuur, sport, media & in collaboration with Het Bos ~ Rambo doggie pic (c) Vincen Beeckman
|broke but still going-type ticket
|never wasn't not going-type ticket
|going loaded-type ticket
|only going for the end-type ticket (available at the door from 10pm)
LINEUP & LOCATIONS
Sat. 04 March 2023
(b) - bar / (c) - concert room / (e) - exhibition room / (t) - theater room
|Turner Williams Jr. (b)
|Aya Suzuki (e)
|Daphne X (c)
|Justice Yeldham (t)
|Food People (c)
|Valentina Goncharova (e)
|Alto Fuero (c)
|Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah Walker (c)
|Nuit Noire (c)
|Younes Zarhoni (t)
|Charmaine's Names (c)
|Bâton XXL (b)
|Morthen Kiang DJ set (c)
The union of two shapeshifters from the Brussels/Marseille conflux, Alto Fuero feels like club music that has seeped through the meshes of alternate realities. French-born artists Victoria Palacios and Loto Retina are the heart and mind of this fanciful, temperamental creature whose on-stage oozings evoke a sort of speculative folk dance filled with demented flutes, liquified beats and impenetrable incantations in uncharted tongues. Like an alien iteration of Areski & Fontaine, these sybils from a distorted future orate their goblin homilies to the pounding of a drum pad, for bodies to melt and sway in their present-day caverns.
No stranger to the KRAAK scene, Aya Suzuki is one of those rare talents whose virtuosity is palpable through the sparseness of her actions, as marimbas, vibraphones, pots and the ground itself present manifold opportunities for resonance and rumination. A real connoisseur of the composerly canon - having routinely performed pieces by the likes of John Cage and Tom Johnson - as well as a tried and true natural-born improviser, Aya infuses her pieces with a disarming sense of poetry, allowing for tones and silences to express themselves to full and honest potentials. She’ll be joining the KRAAK roster with a debut release in the very near future!
Romain Simon is one of the key figures of the Amiens underground scene, running multiple musical hustles and acting as one of the hyperactive keepers of the unmissable Accueil Froid Nuke venue. As a former/present member iconic art-noise outfit Headwar, raging doom screamers La Race and post-apocalyptic party duo Me Donner, Romain’s solo Bâton XXL is a total embodiment of his unfettered energy, expressed through a modified drum kit, fizzled vocals, electronic triggers and mean ass sticks. A percussive flux to drunkenly drown in, where deranged dance rituals may follow.
Projects that purport to “explore the borders of masculinity and sensuality” are not exactly the jam du jour, but a non-Talking Head David Byrne whose provenance is as enigmatic as his facial hair opens that exploration for the indisputably better. A tried & true troubadour with the style chops to boot, Byrne’s Charmaine’s Names is a full one-man band where sultry vocals, sensuous bass and unchained sax create a sense of drama and existentialism redolent of Morrisey but chiller, or Scott Walker but shroomier. Come unprepared and let this wandering crooner sway and swoon you, hopefully while donning a studded belt and matching boots.
Ukrainian trio Chillera present us with the holy trinity of wah-wah, delay and a floating yet decisive rhythm section vacationing in dub, kraut and psychedelic rock. Resisting the temptation of filling the void with strumming guitars or thick slabs of organ, each riff stands alone, either taking us incrementally higher, guiding us deeper into the dream, or leaving us feeling empty and adrift for a moment. Chillera’s jams are an ode to brittle perfection, to the beaches of Odessa ~ like a hot, salty breeze reminiscent of what’s beyond the horizon, whispering hope into beating hearts.
Currently based in Austria, Greek multidisciplinary artist and sound performer Daphne Xanthopoulou - X for short - is a channeler of the micro and the nether cosmoses, sketching the impalpable for earthly beings. Her musical practice takes the term “electronic experiments” to the task, with frequencies caught like specimens that are studied at a near-atomic level and harmonies dissected and looped to disorienting effect. Her latest efforts, The Plumb Sutra on Bezirk Tapes and Transactions in Time on czaszka (rec.) are illustrative of this approach, with cyclical, mind-bending comps presenting plausible hypotheses of the sonic multiverses that lurk all around us.
Sometimes you hear bands which - especially after two years of pandemic insolence - you just really want to see in a live setting. Food People are one of those bands: longtime friends Lila Matsumoto, Matthew Hamblin and Greg Thomas have been quietly putting out albums of their improvisations with guitar, violin, tape, stray sounds and sparse vocals. The resulting jams oscillate between eloquence and chaos with shades of Vibracathedral Orchestra, where fuzzed out drones enfold the disparate components in a warm, unpredictable embrace. Releases on Chocolate Monk, Beartown Records and Cosmovision Registros Andinos and - very soon! - Feeding Tube seal the Food People cult in the making. Don’t look them up on YouTube just yet though :(
Decade spanning research finds Justice Yeldham stripping down turntablism to its absolute core, where diamond tip becomes roadside glass and pedalboards replace carefully engineered noiseless transformers. Operating on the bleeding edge where J. G. Ballard conceived Crash, Ria Pacquée traumatized Flanders and John Coltrane played the Olatunji Center of African Culture, Yeldham takes the shattered windowpane for a wind instrument, breathing life into a system that puts his physical integrity at risk. Empathy, disgust and free improvisation plunge artist and spectator in a meditative state of group-psychosis, a rushed anxiety subduing both h(a)unter and h(a)unted equally.
Morthen Kiang (DJ Set)
After multiple refusals to play host at KRAAK Festival, Maldegem’s very own Morthen Kiang finally accepted to be part of the line up in the best way he can: bringing acid to the mix, dropped by needle only. Banker by day and Technics terrorist by night, Kiang displayed his DJ dexterity during a standout set at last year’s Meakusma where his greatness was literally obscured by awkward stage planning. Now the Kiang gets a proper chance to shine and break out all the technos and all the houses for these KRAAKheads: he’s got acid and booty, Chicago and New York, and whatever breaches can be found in between. No way to not bounce to this man’s skills ~ an actual album with his own comps is also in the works, betta watch it!
Some 25 years ago, after a night walk through the French woods, Tenebras set out to create through Nuit Noire a unique blend of black metal, lo-fi and indie rock tropes which would eventually become known as “Faerie Punk”, a musical language associated with destruction and depression which is repurposed for hope and acceptance. Melancholic melodies and haunting vocals set the scene for a concrete yet transcendent experience of reaching out, for a badly defined utopia beyond pain and humiliation, a safe space set free from the burden of existence, where N stands for the night, the Nuit Noire night.
Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah Walker
With a massively fruitful collaborative venture that has spanned nearly 20 years, Silvia Tarozzi and Deborah Walker’s artistic partnership has included stints with the Dedalus Ensemble, Offlaga Disco Pax, and collaborations with the likes of Éliane Radigue, Philip Corner and many more. Their latest creative pursuit leads them to the re-interpretation of female folksong from their home in Emilia-Romagna: Canti di guerra, di lavoro et d’amore reprises the traditional choir music of the female rice field workers known as the Mondine, whose polyphonic chants are possessed by the kind of unearthly energy of say Mystères des Voix Bulgares. Accompanied by violin and cello, Tarozzi and Walker carry those ancestral voices into modern visions, like conveyances into timeless worlds.
Turner Williams Jr
A dusty-faced wanderer from the Deep South makes his way to France, wielding little else but his peculiarly amplified stringed instruments, and wanders the land playing his jagged psalms ~ at least that’s how we like to picture the current stage in Turner Williams Jr’s life movie. Having previously performed under the Ramble Tamble moniker and frequently collaborated with New York guitar duo Elkhorn, this Alabama man finds rebirth in his God-given name, armed with an electric shahi baaja and effects board which steer the bluesy folksy tradition into trebling psychedelic turfs. A true and welcome addition to the straddlers of Eastern/Western mastery, that pantheon of ageless freaks who never cease to stun and amaze.
Born in Kiev and now based in Tallin, Valentina Goncharova began her musical journey at age 16 and trained classically in the Leningrad school of music. Yearning to depart from the framework of conservatory thinking, she began branching out into different musical territories, briefly playing in the industrial group Pop-Mechanika and eventually paving her own path once she began recording her avant-garde inspired jams on tape. In her sonic journey, Valentina hits that sweet and rarified spot where electro-acoustics collide with New Age sensibilties, inviting frequencies like whale song to tap into something ancestral and primordial ~ her recently released volumes of recordings and the supremely gorgeous Ocean symphony are unmissable additions to the living composer canon!
Antwerp native Younes Zarhoni has been consistently performing and making music for just about a decade now. With his Sufi-infused electronic project YZ, he’s toured stages all around (including the 2016 edition of Eastern Daze!), showing folks that techno can for sure be a valid form of trance. His latest foray into transfixion-by-music is a study in quadraphonic vocals that is sculptural in scope and monastic in vibe. Austere incantations in Arabic are layered polyphonically, punctuated by silences that lean into the roaming rumination of these canticles. The result is blissful mindmelt, sonic immersions of a most contemplative order for closed eyes and wide open ears.
Erasmus & Clem
Your hosts for the day ~ a confusing and endlessly entertaining duo from Brussels by way of Manchester & Bordeaux. BLAZIN.