This year’s Unsound Kraków is the 17th edition of the festival, with the theme Solidarity. The festival will take place in various Kraków venues between 6th and 13th October, including concerts, eclectic late night parties, discussions, workshops and film screenings.
Tickets to all the events will go on sale in late August. Sunn O))) tickets and Forum Passes - giving admission to all three nights at Hotel Forum - are already on sale, and you can still buy them via Going. There are not many 3-day Forum passes left - so be quick. Some events, including the entire discussion program and morning shows, are completely free of charge.
The music program is joined by:
33EMYBW presents Arthropods - live (CN, world premiere) ○ 8ULENTINA (US) - dj ○ Anthony Pateras presents This Ain’t My First Rodeo (AU) ○ Bastarda (PL) ○ CCL - dj (UK/US) ○ Deena Abdelwahed - dj (TN) ○ Dreamcrusher (US) ○ Eli Keszler & Nate Boyce present Pedagogy (US, European premiere) ○ Félicia Atkinson (FR) ○ FOOZOOL - dj (US) ○ Goat (JP) ○ HYPH11E b2b Slikback - dj (CN/KE) ○ Jasmine Infiniti - dj (US) ○ Ka Baird (US) ○ Lingua Ignota (US) ○ LOFT (UK) ○ LSDXOXO - dj (US/DE) ○ Luz - dj (BE/DE) ○ Matias Aguayo presents Support Alien Invasion (CI/DE, world premiere) ○ Matmos presents Plastic Anniversary (US) ○ MC Yallah & Debmaster (UG/KE/FR) ○ Monster - dj (PL) ○ MSYLMA feat. ZULI, Karim el Ghazoly & Omar El Sadek (SA/EG/CZ, world premiere) ○ Osheyack & Adam Dupré present Memory Hierarchy (US/CN, world premiere) ○ Teki Latex b2b Betty - dj (FR) ○ Teto Preto (BR) ○ Upsammy - dj (NL) ○ Vladislav Delay feat. AGF presents Rakka (FI) ○ Yen Tech presents Hypercanto (KR/US/CN, world premiere) ○ Zimpel/Shackleton (UK/DE/PL, world premiere)
Jan Sowa (PL) ○ Jaśmina Wójcik (PL) ○ Mat Dryhurst (US/DE) join the discussion program.
Film program additions include:
Black to Techno (UK/NG) ○ Hail Satan (US) ○ Hi, AI - Love Stories From the Future (DE) ○ Solidarity According to Women (PL) ○ Symphony for the Ursus Factory (PL)
One aspect of the Unsound Solidarity theme is to emphasise notions of community that have been built - and continue to form - around the festival. This includes the audience, but also artists.
At a time when traditional forms of music media and distribution are rapidly transforming - even breaking down - the ways that Unsound makes use of the festival model as a platform become increasingly relevant. This includes fostering relationships with artists over time, to presenting or commissioning new works and collaborations, as well as continually supporting new artists, scenes and collectives. You don’t come to Unsound to affirm what you know, but instead to rethink and discover.
SHACKLETON will join forces with acclaimed Polish clarinetist WACŁAW ZIMPEL in the world premiere of a new show, described by the artists as “a brand new long-form, slowly evolving composition”. VLADISLAV DELAY will also present Raaka, a new show made up entirely of unreleased material and a chance to hear his new radical sound, with visuals prepared and performed live by AGF.
MSYLMA’s Dhil-un Taht Shajarat Al-Zaqum is one of the most unusual debuts in recent memory. The Saudi Arabian artist sings about coming of age, inspired by pre-Islamic and quranic poetry, while drawing from the contemporary sounds of r&b, club music and experimental electronic music. In another world premiere, he will be joined by Egyptians ZULI and KARIM EL GHAZOLY, while Czech-based Egyptian artist OMAR EL SADEK will perform visuals.
ELI KESZLER and NATE BOYCE - both crucial to Oneohtrix Point Never’s recent live shows - will present the European premiere of Pedagogy, their new audiovisual project for synthetically augmented percussion and guitar. Pedagogy explores different aspects of instrumentality, including the performance of an instrument and the instrumentalisation of things or people, and the musical effect of being trained to respond to music emotionally.
Earlier this year MATMOS released a new album, Plastic Anniversary, recorded using only plastic objects to explore the tension between plastic being useful for humans and harmful to the environment. Some of the tracks from this record were presented for the first time at their Unsound Adelaide show last year - now the full spectacle will be brought to Kraków.
LINGUA IGNOTA combines neoclassical music, black metal and noise to tell a personal story of abuse, rage and survival. Her Unsound show will follow the release of her powerful new album Caligula. Also from the U.S., the prolific DREAMCRUSHER describe their work as “NIHILIST QUEER REVOLT MUSIK”, colliding noise, industrial, punk and protest.
KA BAIRD is an American multi-instrumentalist, searching for inspiration in sacred rituals, but following Joan La Barbara’s maxim that “voice is the original instrument”, the possibilities of the human body are always at the heart of her work. Ka will present new material, to be released after the festival. Japanese band GOAT will also bring new material to Kraków, ahead of a new album on Morphine Records. They specialize in radical minimalism, blurring the line between the avant-garde and rock music through repetition.
French electroacoustic artist FÉLICIA ATKINSON will perform in the wake of The Flower and The Vessel, an album that was crafted while pregnant on tour, exploring ways of connecting to the world through music and sound. Focusing on the conclusion rather than the beginning of life, Polish ensemble BASTARDA perform modern reinterpretations of medieval music rituals for the dead, where Last Rites over the grave, chants and polyphony were woven together in deeply symbolic ways. Australian ANTHONY PATERAS - who appears on the new Sunn O))) album - will present his solo electronic show This Ain’t My First Rodeo, exploring the psycho-acoustic interactions between two synthesizers in quadraphonic settings to deeply immersive, time-transporting effect.
More than ever, music scenes - particularly in the context of club music - gain energy from collectives. SVBKVLT is at the heart of one of the most exciting electronic music scenes in the world, in Shanghai. Unsound will present a series of world premieres by artists on their roster, including YEN TECH, a Shanghai-based Korean-American rapper, singer and producer whose Hypercanto explores a vision of accelerated (post-)humanism. OSHEYACK and ADAM DUPRÉ’s Memory Hierarchy is a response to the idea of memory manipulation through social media, employing deepfakes, face filters and livestreaming while musically expanding on a hardcore vocabulary. Further boundary-pushing club music comes from 33EMYBW, whose Anthropods will be released in parallel with the world premiere of the live show. After working on music together, HYPH11E will play a b2b dj set with Kenya’s SLIKBACK. This set connects Shanghai and Kampala through another previously announced co-curatorial collaboration with the festival/label NYEGE NYEGE. The previously announced Indonesian band GABBER MODUS OPERANDI is also part of the SVBKVLT curatorial thread - their next EP comes out on the label this year.
Added to the Nyege Nyege showcase is the European premiere of MC YALLAH, the veteran Ugandan rapper about to launch onto the world stage. A local hero, she launched her career in 1999 spreading a message of integrity and motivation among youth, and will perform at Unsound with French producer DEBMASTER, who produced her upcoming album.
Oakland’s CLUB CHAI and Berlin’s ROOM 4 RESISTANCE are both collectives focused on queer femme / non-binary producers and djs, built around an ethos of community-building. Together they will throw a special mid-week party at Szpitalna 1. featuring the Club Chai founders FOOZOOL and 8ULENTINA, who will explore diasporic narratives and non-Western sounds. They will dj alongside Tunisian artist DEENA ABDELWAHED - who also inhabits a space between tradition and futurism - and LUZ, both from Room 4 Resistance. Club Chai will also be represented by JASMINE INFINITI, who will perform at Hotel Forum. Note: the Szpitalna 1 party requires an additional ticket on top of the festival pass.
Hotel Forum will also feature TETO PRETO, a Brazilian group who made their debut during the Brazilian coup d’etat in 2016, criticising the political situation and living conditions of black and queer communities. Connected to São Paulo's MAMBA NEGRA parties and the associated label Mambarec, their shows combine performance art and music, blending African, Brazilian and electronic inspirations. Chilean/German MATIAS AGUAYO will also present the world premiere of a live show built around his Support Alien Invasion record. Incorporating non-Eurocentric, non-4/4 rhythm programming, this record represents “a plea to welcome human aliens (the different, the foreign, the immigrant), a hope that letting them 'invade' us might set us free, free from isolation, alienation, exclusion”.
Further club acts include TEKI LATEX and BETTY who will play a b2b set. Both are French djs are known for their eclectic sets, combining seemingly disparate sounds. UPSAMMY has quickly become one of the most sought after djs thanks to her trippy selections pushing techno into more abstract areas. Seattle’s CCL also blends a caleidoscope of rhythms, playing a mixture of deep and immersive sounds. LSDXOXO rose to fame as a NY’s GHE20G0TH1K affiliate, and is now one of the hottest names pushing the sound of rave music forward. Also on the bill is Poland’s MONSTER, one of the best techno DJs in the country and an active member of Oramics collective. LOFT will perform live, deconstructing techno and drum & bass, as heard on her recent EP for Tri Angle.
Additional artist names will be announced around the end of July.
The Unsound daytime discourse and screening program is of key importance to the theme this year. As such, as we are rolling parts of it out in advance with the music program.
Artist and writer MAT DRYHURST will return to Krakow to give a talk on Interdependent Music, dissecting the ideological underpinnings of “independence” as a concept that he believes has run its course, and propose how a new holistic protocol of interdependence might provide the necessary break for a new aesthetic and infrastructural path for music and the greater economy.
Warsaw-based writer and theorist JAN SOWA will present his research project Solidarity 2.0, investigating what is left of democracy today, describing how the few have recaptured what is supposed to belong to the many. At Unsound, he will invoke the practises of radical democracy to envision new forms of collective empowerment.
Polish director JAŚMINA WÓJCIK will give a Q&A after the screening of her film SYMPHONY FOR THE URSUS FACTORY, which records the choreographed movements of ex-workers of the Ursus Factory as they reenact their work in a plant that no longer exists, recalling memorised actions and sounds.
Other films in the Unsound program include SOLIDARITY ACCORDING TO WOMEN, directed by Marta Dzido and Piotr Śliwowski, showing the key role that women played in Poland’s Solidarity movement in the 1980s, largely working behind the scenes. BLACK TO TECHNO, directed by British-Nigerian Jenn Nkiru, reclaims the black origins of techno in Detroit in a nonlinear short film. Penny Lane’s HAIL SATAN tells the story of the controversial Satanic Temple, whose members are committed to social and political justice in unexpected, often playful ways. HI, AI - LOVE STORIES FROM THE FUTURE by German director Isabella Willinger explores the relationship between robots and humans.
Betty is supported by the SHAPE Platform.